Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

Europe and China Take the Climate Reins

Posted by hkarner - 18. November 2020

Date: 17‑11‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Laurence Tubiana

Laurence Tubiana, a former French ambassador to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a professor at Sciences Po, Paris. 

While it might be tempting to dismiss the recent commitments by China and the European Union to achieve net‑zero greenhouse‑gas emissions within the next few decades, doing so would be a mistake. Both powers recognize that the future belongs to those who move quickly and decisively toward decarbonization.

PARIS – In the space of just a week during this year’s United Nations General Assembly, representatives of the world’s largest single market and the world’s second‑largest economy each laid their climate cards on the table. One need not be a national‑intelligence analyst to parse the results: the European Union and China have both committed to achieving net‑zero carbon dioxide emissions, thus creating common ground for much deeper cooperation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Time Bomb at the Top of the World

Posted by hkarner - 18. Oktober 2020

Date: 17‑10‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate

Mario Molina, a 1995 Nobel laureate in chemistry, was a professor at the University of California, San Diego and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Durwood Zaelke is President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development and a co‑director of the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

People all over the world are already losing their homes and livelihoods to deadly fires, floods, storms, and other disasters. With scientists now expecting the Arctic Ocean to be almost ice‑free in late summer, far worse could be yet to come.

SAN DIEGO – It is hard to imagine more devastating effects of climate change than the fires that have been raging in California, Oregon, and Washington, or the procession of hurricanes that have approached – and, at times, ravaged – the Gulf Coast. There have also been deadly heat waves in India, Pakistan, and Europe, and devastating flooding in Southeast Asia. But there is far worse ahead, with one risk, in particular, so great that it alone threatens humanity itself: the rapid depletion of Arctic sea ice.

Recalling an Alfred Hitchcock movie, this climate “bomb” – which, at a certain point, could more than double the rate of global warming – has a timer that is being watched with growing anxiety. Each September, the extent of Arctic sea ice reaches its lowest level, before the lengthening darkness and falling temperatures cause it to begin to expand again. At this point, scientists compare its extent to previous years. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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European Union Moves Closer to Common Debt Issuance

Posted by hkarner - 9. Oktober 2020

Date: 08‑10‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Bloc’s executive arm is preparing to tap the bond market this month to fund coronavirus relief programs with common debt

The capital raised by the new bond says will be lent to member states to help pay for unemployment support programs and protect jobs.

The European Commission is advancing its plans to issue common debt and is poised to tap the bond market this month for the first time on a large scale to fund its coronavirus‑relief programs.

On Wednesday the European Union’s executive arm said a new program, known as the European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency, or SURE, will raise up to €100 billion, equivalent to $118 billion, from the sale of social bonds. They are a type of sustainable debt instrument that funds projects with the aim of having a positive societal impact. The capital raised will be lent to member states to help pay for unemployment support programs and protect jobs. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Core of the ECB’s New Strategy

Posted by hkarner - 9. Oktober 2020

Date: 08‑10‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Hélène Rey

Hélène Rey is Professor of Economics at the London Business School and a member of the Haut Conseil de Stabilité Financière. 

Now that the European Union has committed to achieving net‑zero carbon emissions by 2050, the European Central Bank must start preparing for the structural shifts that lie ahead. In a world where governments want the prices of certain forms of energy to rise, the concept of price stability becomes more complicated.

LONDON – Following in the footsteps of the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank has launched an in‑depth review of its monetary‑policy strategy. But as central banks contemplate fundamental changes in their approach, they should be mindful of possible disruptions in their operational environment.

Nowhere is this truer than in strategies to address climate change, one of the most important issues of our time. Since European countries have pledged to make their economies carbon‑neutral by 2050, the ECB now must reflect on how its monetary‑policy framework could help with that transition. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Internal Combustion Bust

Posted by hkarner - 1. Oktober 2020

Date: 30‑09‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Mónica Araya

Mónica Araya, an electric mobility expert from Costa Rica, advises several initiatives and is Transport Lead for Climate Champions, an international coordinating team under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

With or without a catastrophic pandemic and global recession, the trend in motorized transportation has long been shifting toward zero‑carbon technologies. But the strategies that governments and industries adopt in the next few years will be decisive for humanity’s long‑term success in managing climate change.

AMSTERDAM – It has been clear for years that tailpipes and exhaust fumes make people sick, and that climate change poses an existential threat. Now that the COVID‑19 pandemic has confronted society with the need to tackle multiple crises at once, it is time to consider how the economy can be built back healthier. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Transatlantic Tragedy

Posted by hkarner - 30. September 2020

Date: 29‑09‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Joschka Fischer

Joschka Fischer was German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor from 1998‑2005, a term marked by Germany’s strong support for NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999, followed by its opposition to the war in Iraq. Fischer entered electoral politics after participating in the anti‑establishment protests of the 1960s and 1970s, and played a key role in founding Germany’s Green Party, which he led for almost two decades. 

While today’s mounting global disruptions have accelerated an ongoing shift in global power dynamics, neither China’s rise nor the emergence of COVID‑19 can be blamed for the West’s lost primacy. The United States and the United Kingdom took care of that on their own, with a complacent Europe watching it happen.

BERLIN – Between the intensifying Sino‑American drama and the persistent COVID‑19 crisis, the world is undeniably undergoing fundamental, historic change. Seemingly immutable structures built up over many decades are suddenly exhibiting a high degree of malleability, or simply disappearing altogether.

In the ancient past, today’s unprecedented developments would have put people on guard for signs of a coming apocalypse. In addition to the pandemic and geopolitical tensions, the world is also confronting the climate crisis, the balkanization of the global economy, and the far‑reaching technological disruptions brought on by digitization and artificial intelligence. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Climate Crunch Time

Posted by hkarner - 29. September 2020

Date: 29‑09‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate

Elmira Bayrasli is the co‑founder and CEO of Foreign Policy Interrupted and the author of From The Other Side of The World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places. 

Bill McKibben, a scholar in environmental sciences at Middlebury College and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a co‑founder of 350.org. 

In the 50 years since the first Earth Day, the environmental movement has matured and developed highly sophisticated methods for driving change. But, given the unprecedented scale of the climate crisis, the question is not whether activism is effective, but whether we still have time to save ourselves.

Since 1880, the average global surface temperature has risen by about 1°C, or 1.8°F. Much of that increase has happened in the last 50 years, and the consequences are already becoming apparent. Forest fires have become larger and more severe, the polar ice caps are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990s, and extreme weather events like hurricanes and droughts are occurring with greater frequency and intensity. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Climate scientists are terrified of a second Trump term

Posted by hkarner - 25. September 2020

Date: 24‑09‑2020

Source: Technology Review

And climate change is only one of the reasons.

Daniel Schrag has spent most of his life working on climate change. He studied the planet’s ancient warming periods early in his career, served as a climate advisor to President Barack Obama, and is now director of Harvard’s Center for the Environment.

But when he imagines the possibilities if President Donald Trump is reelected, climate change isn’t the issue he’s most concerned about.

“I immediately worry about democratic institutions,” he says. “I worry about profound and deep corruption at all levels, including the Justice Department.”

“The good news is that four years later, or whenever this ends, there are still a lot of things you can do for climate,” says Schrag. “But that’s not true if we have decimated the basic institutions of democracy.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China says it will cut its net carbon emissions to zero by 2060

Posted by hkarner - 25. September 2020

Date: 24‑09‑2020

Source: The Economist

Achieving this will not be easy

IN A RECORDED video message to the UN General Assembly on September 22nd, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, made a surprise announcement. He said that as well as aiming to halt the rise of its carbon emissions by 2030—a goal set five years ago—China would strive for “carbon neutrality” by 2060. In climate‑change jargon, this means achieving a balance between carbon emissions and carbon‑reduction both technological and natural, such as planting trees. For China to succeed, it must descend from its emissions peak far more rapidly than any other major economy has either succeeded in doing, or has pledged to do. It will be a huge challenge.

Under the Paris agreement on climate change, reached in 2015, signatories were required to submit fresh plans for reducing their emissions by the end of this year. Covid‑19 has put a spanner in the works. On September 2nd Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s chief climate‑change official, said she expected about 80 countries to meet the deadline. Before Mr Xi’s speech, many analysts had predicted that China would not show its hand until after America’s elections in November, when American climate‑change policy for the next four years will become clearer. Stung by international criticism of its early handling of the pandemic, it may be that China decided to reveal its hand earlier to boost its image. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Greatest Generation’s Squandered Legacy

Posted by hkarner - 18. September 2020

Date: 16‑09‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Daron Acemoglu

Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Economics at MIT, is co‑author (with James A. Robinson) of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty and The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty. 

As profound as the COVID‑19 crisis seems to us now, it pales in comparison to what previous generations faced. Unlike in the past, however, today’s biggest threats must be addressed at both the national and global levels, implying the need for political leadership of a kind that is utterly lacking in today’s world.

CAMBRIDGE – To the interwar generation of the first half of the twentieth century, today’s crises would have appeared rather ordinary. They had seen much worse: the two bloodiest wars in human history, mass unemployment and destitution created by the Great Depression (which still dwarfs this century’s recessions), and far more serious threats to democracy in the form of Soviet communism, fascism, and Hitler’s National Socialism.

Nonetheless, resolving today’s predicaments could be more difficult than in the past, because most will have to be addressed through global governance, which is in short supply. True, globalization also contributed to rising inequality and the destabilization of national economies in the early twentieth century, and the Great Depression was very much a systemic crisis, originating in the United States and afflicting most other countries by way of international markets. But, ultimately, the fundamental problems that the interwar generation needed to fix were at the level of the nation‑state.

Policymakers at the time recognized that macroeconomic instability, unregulated market economies, and mounting inequalities were the root causes of most of their problems. By experimenting with institutional remedies and formulating new ideas, they laid the foundation for the social‑democratic welfare state. Macroeconomic management, progressive taxation and redistribution, minimum‑wage laws, workplace safety regulations, government‑provided health insurance and retirement benefits, and a social safety net for the least fortunate became the norm.

The modern welfare state first took shape in Scandinavia – most notably in Sweden after the Workers Party’s first electoral victory in 1932 – and was further enshrined in the United Kingdom’s 1942 Beveridge Report, which offered a comprehensive institutional outline even as World War II was still raging. Over the course of the following decade, similar visions were articulated across continental Europe. In each case, the policies being proposed lay fully within the purview of national governments, and could be designed in such a way as to strengthen democracy and marginalize the political forces that had led to two world wars.

Of course, the imperative to maintain peace went beyond national borders; but that project started with ensuring macroeconomic stability and shared prosperity at the national level. As Immanuel Kant had prophesied in 1795, robust democracy at home would engender cooperation abroad.

But post‑war leaders pinned their hopes on more than Kant’s theory. In Europe, they forged new supranational institutions, starting with the European Coal and Steel Community, established by the 1951 Treaty of Paris. These arrangements worked exceptionally well, ushering in four decades of democratic flourishing, international peace, macroeconomic stability, and widespread prosperity. Never before have so many countries enjoyed such fast, broadly shared, and simultaneous economic growth.

The question for today is whether this glorious post‑war achievement can be repeated. Will the pandemic be the wake‑up call that prompts democratic governments to develop a new social contract for the twenty‑first century? Yes, but only if we come to grips with the global nature of today’s crises – not just COVID‑19, but also climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and other shared risks.

On the issue of climate change, national solutions are simply insufficient at this point. And the situation may be even worse with respect to the nuclear threat, considering that this category of existential risk is being intensified by the ongoing expansion and “modernization” of existing nuclear arsenals.

 Moreover, many other problems that appear national are ultimately global. Consider inequality, the three major causes of which are globalization, automation, and the growing power imbalance between capital and labor.

Globalization has contributed to the problem partly because its rules have been written to benefit business owners, financial capital, and high‑skilled workers over everyone else. For example, labor‑intensive products can be manufactured in countries where collective bargaining arrangements are weak or non‑existent, such that wages are systematically repressed. No single country wholly controls the rules that allow such outsourcing and offshoring, and most do not have the option of isolating themselves from globalization.

Similarly, while national governments can influence automation through tax and regulatory policies, their control is ultimately limited. If the Chinese or US government is pressuring multinational companies to develop more powerful surveillance technologies, and if Big Tech’s priorities lie in relentlessly substituting algorithms for human workers, these trends will determine the trajectory for the entire world. While the tendency toward labor‑replacing automation has already inflicted major costs on advanced‑economy workers, it threatens even greater pain for developing countries, where abundant labor is the chief production input.

Finally, there are very few ways for labor to regain its bargaining power when the constant threat of capital flight has tied national policymakers’ hands. Even if national governments were to raise taxes on capital above the current meager levels, much of the hoped‑for revenue would be funneled elsewhere through accounting tricks and offshore tax havens.

Dani Rodrik of Harvard University has argued that limiting economic globalization can create more room for national macroeconomic policies. But curtailing globalization would not reduce the scale of global problems. On climate change, the nuclear threat, and many other issues, there is no choice but to formulate global solutions through multilateral institutions.

The experience of post‑war Europe shows that to build effective institutions, there first must be a shared vision. Yet that is precisely what the international community currently lacks. Making matters worse, already weakened multilateral institutions are likely to suffer even more in the near future, as the allocation of COVID‑19 vaccines deepens existing fault lines between countries and regions.

We could have avoided the governance failures that brought us to this point. Despite ample warning, we have yet to take seriously, let alone prepare for, the global challenges that await us. The interwar generation might be underwhelmed by our current problems. But it would no doubt be impressed by the mess we’ve created for ourselves.

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