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Archive for 26. April 2019

Falling Costs Make Wind, Solar More Affordable

Posted by hkarner - 26. April 2019

By Christian Bogmans

Harnessing wind and solar energy for low-carbon electric power generation was once considered uneconomical. Now, rapidly falling costs for these technologies are boosting global renewable energy capacity. Renewable energy sources can help reduce carbon emissions substantially and the effects of global warming.

As the Chart of the Week from the April World Economic Outlook shows, solar and onshore wind turbines saw the biggest price declines among low-carbon energy sources between 2009 and 2017. Prices dropped 76 percent for solar panels and 34 percent for turbines during that time, making them competitive alternatives to fossil fuels and more traditional low-carbon energy sources such as hydropower and nuclear. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Ifo-Index fällt: „Deutsche Wirtschaft verliert weiter an Kraft“

Posted by hkarner - 26. April 2019

Der deutschen Wirtschaft droht 2019 ein schwaches Jahr. Das zeigt auch das Barometer des Münchner Forschungsinstituts Ifo.

Rückschlag statt Trendwende: Für die deutsche Wirtschaft geht es nach dem Zwischenhoch im März wieder bergab – vor allem wegen der schwächelnden Industrie. Das Barometer für das Ifo-Geschäftsklima fiel im April überraschend um 0,5 auf 99,2 Punkte. Ökonomen hatten mit einem Anstieg auf 99,9 gerechnet, nachdem es im März das erste Plus nach sechs Rückgängen in Folge gegeben hatte.

„Die deutsche Wirtschaft verliert weiter an Kraft“, sagte Ifo-Präsident Clemens Fuest am Mittwoch zur Umfrage seines Instituts unter rund 9.000 Managern. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China’s maritime ambitions are becoming more evident.

Posted by hkarner - 26. April 2019

Date: 24-04-2019
Source: The Economist

The country throws a revealing party for the anniversary of its navy

AS MILITARY PAGEANTS go, multinational parades of warships deliver quite a complex message. Over a dozen countries—ranging from friends to overt rivals—sent naval vessels to the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao on April 23rd. There they steamed past a destroyer carrying China’s commander-in-chief, President Xi Jinping, in honour of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Paint gleaming and brass fittings buffed to a hospital shine, there were frigates from near-allies such as Russia, and destroyers from almost-foes like India. Their mission was friendship and diplomacy. But these were heavily armed peace envoys, warily visiting a China whose emergence as an ocean-going nation is shaking Asia, and may one day change the world. Visitors involved in territorial disputes with China, including Japan and Vietnam, sent ships bristling with advanced weaponry. America sent no ships at all.

China sent mixed messages, too. As celebrations began, the visitors were hailed by Mr Xi as a sort of floating United Nations. A peace-loving China yearned to work with foreign navies to secure international sea-lanes and safeguard the ocean’s riches, Mr Xi declared. On state television presenters noted that, as a mainstay of anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since 2008, the Chinese navy had escorted more than 6,600 ships, from China and other countries, through bandit-infested waters. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Psychology of Nations

Posted by hkarner - 26. April 2019

Date: 25-04-2019
Source: The Economist

Jared Diamond explores how countries respond to crises

“Upheaval” fails in its ambitious goals—but in an illuminating way

Upheaval. By Jared Diamond.Little, Brown and Company; 512 pages; $35. Allen Lane; £25.

By its own lights, this book fails. And yet, as a meditation about a world on edge, it is also well worth reading.

Jared Diamond sets out to construct a diagnostic framework for political systems in turmoil. What enables some societies to cope with a crisis but condemns others to mayhem? Do past crises reveal patterns that could guide today’s leaders as they gaze into the contemporary abyss? Mr Diamond readily acknowledges that his book is just a first stab at answering these questions. He hopes that “Upheaval” will encourage other scholars to take up his ideas and mould them into something more rigorous. It may instead convince them that the project is doomed.

Even so, the journey towards failure, via seven countries at turning-points in their pasts, is enjoyable and informative. Mr Diamond is the doyen of a class of scientifically literate, anthropologically aware and culturally astute thinkers. He is an enlightened guide and a sympathetic observer. Though “Upheaval” cannot achieve its implausible goals, this quixotic effort illuminates what it means to learn from history.

The idea at the heart of “Upheaval” is that the insights which help people cope with personal crises, such as crushing disappointment, divorce or bereavement, can also shed light on those that afflict states. Therapists seek to get their patients to acknowledge that they are in trouble and that they are empowered to do something about it. Individuals can learn from the behaviour of others. They can identify what it is about them that needs to change—and what should remain the same. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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