“The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge.” - Tony Blair, 2005
Autumn is in full swing and nature is radiating with beautiful colours, a melancholic reminder that winter’s cold embrace is breathing on our neck. So far, 2016 has been quite in line with the previous years: instability is rampant throughout the world, the Great Financial Crisis’ legacy is weighting heavily on all countries one way or another, and global warming continues relentlessly to bring the world toward catastrophe.
We are still waiting for the American elections’ results. Next year brings more elections, including in France and Germany, while China will most probably validate Xi Jinping’s second term. This might bring additional short term uncertainties, although nothing too dramatic.
In fact, it feels like Business As Usual, except that the world is playing with very high stakes. The complacency and relative inaction to address bigger issues create a strange situation were our understanding of the threat is overshadowed by the perception that, until now, everything seems fine.
Science, General Knowledge & Environment
World wildlife ‘falls by 58% in 40 years’ – “The researchers conclude that vertebrate populations are declining by an average of 2% each year, and warn that if nothing is done, wildlife populations could fall by 67% (below 1970 levels) by the end of the decade.“
CO2 levels mark ‘new era’ in the world’s changing climate – “The WMO says that the rise through the 400ppm barrier has persisted and it’s likely that 2016 will be the first full year when the measurements show CO2 above that benchmark, and “hence for many generations”.“
IEA: Renewable energy revolution is now – “There are many factors behind this remarkable achievement: more competition, enhanced policy support in key markets, and technology improvements. While climate change mitigation is a powerful driver for renewables, it is not the only one. In many countries, cutting deadly air pollution and diversifying energy supplies to improve energy security play an equally strong role in growing low-carbon energy sources, especially in emerging Asia.“
The Future of Russian Agriculture – [Video] – “Stratfor Science and Technology Analyst Rebecca Keller examines the significance of Russia’s low-quality wheat harvest.”
History & Geopolitics
Conversation: What’s Next for the Islamic State – [Video] – “Stratfor’s Fred Burton and Scott Stewart discuss the challenges that the militant group will face after the battle for Mosul.“
Syria and the Cycle of American Intervention – “The myriad factions in the civil war, the rise of ISIS, and the internationalized nature of the conflict, make it difficult to identify exactly when and how U.S. intervention could have decisively—and positively—shaped the fighting.“
Why the Middle East knows not to trust the United States – (Hat tip Lao Ho) – “When the United States fights its wars in the Middle East, it has a nasty habit of recruiting local forces as proxies and then jettisoning them when the going gets tough or regional politics intervene.“
France, terrorisme et diplomatie en carton – [Video] – “Interview de Pierre Conesa, ancien haut fonctionnaire du Ministère de la Défense.” Pas de langue de bois et plein de bon sens pour Mr. Pierre Conesa.
Finance & Economics
How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer – “Markets are never just given. Neither God nor nature hands us a worked-out set of rules determining the way property relations are defined, contracts are enforced, or macroeconomic policy is implemented. These matters are determined by policy choices. The elites have written these rules to redistribute income upward.“
The Danger of Germany’s Current Account Surpluses – “Germany seems determined to test the Eurozone experiment to destruction. As we’ve long said, it insists on contradictory aims: running large trade surpluses, not being willing to finance them, and not permitting high levels of fiscal spending to serve as another mechanism to provide for transfers to “deficit” countries.“
China Gets Desperate About Debt – Finally some common sense about China’s debt crisis. The main take away are: China’s debt problem is huge, its GDP growth rate is now lower than credit growth rate, and the world growth is much slower. In other words: China cannot outgrow its debt and cannot rely on export surplus to pay for it.
The “North Atlantic Financial Crisis” Heads South… – Steve Keen on Australia’s housing bubble “Long before Australia reaches its maximum household debt level, housing demand from mortgage credit will be well below housing supply, driving house prices down.“
Picture of the day: Autumn brilliance
About Carlito Riego
"Great perfection may appear imperfect, but its usefulness is inexhaustible. Great abundance may appear empty, but its usefulness cannot be exhausted. Great correctness may appear twisted, great skills appear crude, great eloquence appear awkward. Activity conquers cold; inactivity conquers heat. Clear serenity governs the world." - Lao Zi