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Archive for 11. August 2018

What the far left and right have in common, in Germany and elsewhere

Posted by hkarner - 11. August 2018

Date: 09-08-2018
Source: The Economist

Parties that combine economic statism and cultural conservatism are growing

SITTING down with The Economist in her office in Berlin, Sahra Wagenknecht is restless: “Do we think that anyone can just migrate to Germany and have a claim to social welfare?” asks the doyenne of the Left (Die Linke), a socialist party. “Or do we say that labour migration is more of a problem?” The party’s leader in the Bundestag worries about its direction. “If you concentrate more on hip, urban sorts of voters—on identity and lifestyle debates—you don’t speak to the poorest in society. They no longer feel properly represented.” Her answer, launched on August 4th, is a new, non-party movement called “Rise Up” designed to reach those who have switched off from politics. It may point to a significant realignment in both German and European politics.

The Left was formed in 2005 when leftists who had quit the Social Democrats (SPD) merged with the successor party to the former East German communists. It has always been an uneasy alliance of provincial socialists and urban left-libertarians. At last year’s election it lost some 420,000 voters, principally older ones in the former communist east, to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, but offset that loss by gaining 700,000 from the SPD and 330,000 from the Greens, mainly in western cities and university towns. It now faces a choice: consolidate its new strength as a lefty alternative to the Greens (as Katja Kipping, the Left’s leader, wants to do) or prioritise winning back traditional working-class voters as a lefty alternative to the AfD? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why oil firms should worry more about climate change

Posted by hkarner - 11. August 2018

Date: 09-08-2018
Source: The Economist
Subject: Too much in the tank

Many are using an overly high oil price and possibly overvaluing assets

THE oil industry has much to fear from the Paris climate deal of 2015, which aims to limit temperature rises to less than 2°C above the pre-industrial era. To curb carbon emissions, demand for fossil fuels will have to drop in coming decades. That is likely to push down oil prices and the value of investments that firms have made based upon them.

A report published on August 6th by Sarasin & Partners, an asset manager in London, suggests that oil firms are assuming that decarbonisation will be limited and are thus overstating their assets. Sarasin notes that eight European oil giants all used long-term oil price assumptions of $70-80 a barrel, rising by 2% a year with inflation to $127-145 by 2050, to price their assets. But that does not appear to assume any drop in demand. The International Energy Agency predicts a price of just $60 by 2060; Oil Change International, an activist think-tank, estimates one as low as $35 (see chart). Oil firms could face a sticky mess of forced writedowns.

The picture is complicated by the fact that in Europe oil firms can choose their own long-term prices, whereas in America regulators compel firms based there to use the average price over the past year, which is nearing $70. Executives in both places have their reasons for thinking that prices will be higher than the worst forecasts, particularly as the world is set to miss the Paris goals. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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