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Consign the euro to the dust of history

by afew Fri Mar 7th, 2014 at 05:44:34 AM EST

On Pieria, Frances Coppola posts a clear and cogent denunciation of the single currency and calls for its immediate demise.

After analysing money supply stats and concluding that the ECB is in no position to do anything useful to stave off the tendency to deflation and long-term depression, she lets rip on the euro.

The ECB is irrelevant and the Euro is a failure

The history of Europe is long and blood-spattered. It is nothing like the United States, which is a young country with a common language, clear boundaries and a single political structure. Yes, the USA fought a civil war to achieve its current degree of political unity, and there are no doubt still stresses and strains. But Europe - if you must regard it as one entity, which is problematic in itself - has fought HUNDREDS of civil wars. We do not have a single language, we still cannot agree where our boundaries should fall and national interests always trump "European" politics. You can't overturn tribal and cultural identities that go back thousands of years at the stroke of a few politicians' pens.

My objections to the single currency, therefore, are historical and cultural, rather than economic. I have read Mundell.  I understand the benefits of a single currency, where there is economic convergence. I know that the founders of the Euro project expected that the discipline of a single currency would force European countries to implement reforms that would over time create the necessary economic convergence. I know that this is STILL what politicians and Eurocrats are trying to achieve with measures such as the fiscal compact. But call me Cassandra if you like: I do not think any of this will work.

Read more... (42 comments, 602 words in story)

The Morality Of Taxation

by afew Sun Feb 2nd, 2014 at 09:28:34 AM EST

From Frances Coppola on Pieria:

Laffer and the Yeti

we need a serious discussion about the morality of taxation. While the rich believe they are morally entitled to low tax rates, they will continue to avoid higher rates by taking advantage of the global mobility of capital and the fact that tax arbitrage is a survival strategy for small countries. For higher tax rates to be economically effective, therefore, the moral case for them must be so clearly made that the rich themselves buy into it because they cannot in conscience do otherwise.

Can this be done? How?

Comments >> (70 comments)

Prominent French economist says Germany should leave the euro

by afew Thu Nov 28th, 2013 at 02:42:20 AM EST

In a memo that we saw here, French bank Natixis' chief economist Patrick Artus, a well-known pundit on French media, describes Germany as a misfit in the single currency area, and outlines the macroeconomic case for D-exit.

This is a quick rundown of his points. The memo, in French, pdf, is here.

With the disclaimer that other fields than macroeconomics may be involved, Artus offers the following reasons for Germany to leave the euro:

  • asymmetry of cycles between Germany and Rest of Euro Zone (ROEZ)
  • weakening economic links between Germany and ROEZ
  • structural asymmetries between Germany and ROEZ
  • different foreign exchange needs between Germany and ROEZ
  • impossibility for ROEZ countries to carry out internal devaluations

Cycles: absence of asymmetrical cycles is a condition for a shared currency. But GDP growth and the unemployment rate show strong asymmetry:


(Real GDP, annual change in %)


(Unemployment rate)

The asymmetry stems from structural differences (see further down), and differences in how credit supports demand:


(Credit to households and business, annual change in %)

The result of this asymmetry is that common monetary policy is not adapted to the whole of the Euro area. Between 2002 and 2007, it was too restrictive for Germany, too expansionist for ROEX; since then, it has been the reverse:


(Repo rate and nominal GDP)

Read more... (47 comments, 688 words in story)

Green Primary

by afew Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 05:06:11 AM EST

The European Green Party is organizing a primary for the two posts of leaders of the cross-Europe campaign for the European Parliament elections next year. (Twitter hashtag #GreenPrimary).

Greens select four candidates to run in primaries ahead of 2014 elections | EurActiv

Four Green MEPs [in fact 3 MEPs and one ex-MEP - note by afew] are entering the race for two top positions in the EU elections campaign ahead of the vote in May 2014. 

On Thursday (7 November), the European Green Party (EGP) announced the four contenders who will take part in the primaries: French MEP and syndicalist José Bové; Italian MEP and co-chair of the European Green Party Monica Frassoni; German MEP and co-chair of the political group in the European Parliament Rebecca Harms; and German MEP Ska Keller.

Bové is arguably the most well-known among the contenders, but all contenders have a strong support in their home countries, party sources said. Ska Keller carries the nomination of the Federation of Young European Greens and has a profile that appeals to young participants in the online vote.

The candidates had to seek a nomination from a member organisation of the European Greens, as well as support of at least four member parties, to participate in the upcoming online vote. Frassoni got the support of five member parties, Harms and Keller from seven and José Bové secured the highest support with eight endorsements. [For lists of supporting parties, go here - afew].

The EGP requires the two candidates to come from different national member parties. This rules out having Rebecca Harms and Ska Keller runing as a tandem. Although the Greens traditionally have a man and a woman sharing lead positions, this is not a requirement, and the duo to lead the campaign could very well be two women.

Harms, Bové, Frassoni, Keller

What's this about? The Greens ran the first cross-EU campaign for the EP elections in 2009, and will do so again, with the added attraction of this primary open to all sympathisers. This is also a step towards designating their candidate for Commission President. On this point see:

EUobserver.com / Political Affairs / EU Greens launch US-style primary elections

European parties hope to reverse this trend with trans-national campaigns and lead candidates who run for the top post at the European Commission, a novelty introduced by the Lisbon treaty.

But EU leaders recently poured cold water on hopes that the top candidate of the most popular party will automatically land the commission job.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she "sees no automaticity" between the election results and the post.

For his part, EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy warned against parties raising "false expectations."

Don't forget, the only "automaticity" is that Germany decides.

Should that make you want to go crazy and vote in this primary, the place to go is GreenPrimary. There's a FAQ here. You'll need to give an e-mail address and a mobile phone number, and check a box that says you sympathise with the values of the Greens.

Read more... (33 comments, 998 words in story)

Merkel Does The Devil's Work

by afew Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 08:20:56 AM EST

Watching Arte news last night, I was stunned by a German person offering a reading of Goethe's Faust. The reading was that Goethe, before Marx, showed capitalism stuck at a dead end produced by its own contradictions. Mephistopheles came along with a solution, paper money, and of course everything collapsed.

Nothing stunning there, you will say. We have already discussed Goethe's paper-money phobia on ET. But there was more. The person claimed that the "German government and the ECB" were currently practising the Devil's policy by "overheating the banknote printing press". "Creating money without creating value leads to a crash".

The notion that the German government was not sufficiently hawkish on monetary policy and was printing banknotes as if Hell did not exist came to me all the same as a surprise.

But here's why I was really knocked back: the German person was vice-chair of Die Linke and "close friend" of Oskar Lafontaine, Sahra Wagenknecht, a highly intelligent and highly-educated woman. Was she flying a kite to see if Merkel could be tarred with the lax monetary policy brush? It didn't seem like that to me: Wagenknecht appeared enthusiastic about Faust and the lessons we should draw from it, and she also looked appallingly sincere. And that kind of kite would call for Bild support rather than Arte news.

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OECD Estimates Future Flood Costs In Coastal Cities

by afew Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 10:41:22 AM EST

From OECD:

Climate change combined with rapid population increases, economic growth and land subsidence could lead to a more than 9-fold increase in the global risk of floods in large port cities between now and 2050.

Future Flood Losses in Major Coastal Cities, (full paper attached above) published in Nature Climate Change, is part of an ongoing OECD project to explore the policy implications of flood risks due to climate change and economic development. This study builds on past OECD work which ranked global port cities on the basis of current and future exposure, where exposure is the maximum number of people or assets that could be affected by a flood.

The authors estimate present and future flood losses - or the global cost of flooding - in 136 of the world's largest coastal cities, taking into account existing coastal protections. Average global flood losses in 2005, estimated at about US$6 billion per year, could increase to US$52 billion by 2050 with projected socio-economic change alone.

The cities ranked most `at risk' today, as measured by annual average losses due to floods, span developed and developing countries: Guangzhou, Miami, New York, New Orleans, Mumbai, Nagoya, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Boston, Shenzen, Osaka-Kobe, and Vancouver. The countries at greatest risk from coastal city flooding include the United States and China. Due to their high wealth and low protection level, three American cities (Miami, New York City and New Orleans) are responsible for 31% of the losses across the 136 cities. Adding Guangzhou, the four top cities explain 43% of global losses as of 2005.

Total dollar cost is one way to assess risk. Another is to look at annual losses as a percentage of a city's wealth, a proxy for local vulnerability. Using this measure, Guangzhou, China; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam; Abidjan, Ivory Coast are among the most vulnerable. These cities are shown in map 1 of the paper.

To estimate the impact of future climate change the study assumes that mean sea level, including contributions from melting ice sheets, will rise 0.2-0.4 meters by 2050. In addition, about a quarter of the 136 cities are in deltas and exposed to local subsidence and local sea level change, especially where groundwater extraction accelerates natural processes.

An important finding of this study is that, because flood defences have been designed for past conditions, even a moderate rise in sea level would lead to soaring losses in the absence of adaptation. Inaction is not an option as it could lead to losses in excess of $US 1 trillion. Therefore, coastal cities will have to improve their flood management, including better defences, at a cost estimated around US$50 billion per year for the 136 cities.

Even with better protection, the magnitude of losses will increase, often by more than 50%, when a flood does occur. According to Dr. Stephane Hallegatte, lead author of the study, "There is a limit to what can be achieved with hard protection: populations and assets will remain vulnerable to defence failures or to exceptional events that exceed the protection design". To help cities deal with disasters when they do hit, policy makers should consider early warning systems, evacuation planning, more resilient infrastructure and financial support to rebuild economies.

The report also notes that large increases in port city flood risk may occur in locations that are not vulnerable today, catching citizens and governments off-guard. The five cities with the largest estimated increase in flood risk in 2050 are Alexandria, Egypt; Barranquilla, Colombia; Naples, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Map 2 shows the 20 cities where flood risks will increase most by 2050.

You can dl the paper here (pdf).

Comments >> (6 comments)

Summer Holiday Photo Blog

by afew Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 11:12:27 AM EST

I wander'd lonely as a cloud, That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host...


Well, just one. With an ant.


bumped to keep alive

Read more... (22 comments, 85 words in story)

Tories place barriers to Employment Tribunals

by afew Wed Jul 31st, 2013 at 09:25:39 AM EST

It was surely only a matter of time, in the wider context of reducing workers' rights bit by bit:

BBC News - Fees for employment tribunals begin

People bringing employment tribunals [claims] must now pay a fee for the first time since they were created in the 1960s.

Under the new UK rules, they will have to pay £160 or £250 to lodge a claim, with a further charge of either £230 or £950 if the case goes ahead.

The higher charges will cover cases like unfair dismissal, the lower ones issues such as unpaid invoices.

Read more... (33 comments, 546 words in story)

ET Meet-up, Paris, 11-12-13 October 2013

by afew Tue Jul 9th, 2013 at 05:43:07 AM EST

From this diary and poll came the choice, (however attractive the other options), of Paris for a meet-up in October, over the weekend 11-12-13.

This should give time for people to book cheaper travel arrangements, and also to look for accommodation.

The apartment we rented last year (WoB, HoB, Helen and I) was a good deal in terms of price, comfort, and conviviality. But, like travel, this calls for early booking, and booking can be complicated.

I suggest we make a start on that by listing candidates for this type of accommodation.

Provisional apartment-sharing list:

afew
Helen
Jake S
das monde

Comments >> (23 comments)

Chinese Bubble Go Pop?

by afew Thu Jun 20th, 2013 at 11:26:38 AM EST

There's quite a buzz around the state of Chinese banking at the moment. This is from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

FITCH: China's Credit Bubble Is A Record - Business Insider

China's shadow banking system is out of control and under mounting stress as borrowers struggle to roll over short-term debts, Fitch Ratings has warned.

The agency said the scale of credit was so extreme that the country would find it very hard to grow its way out of the excesses as in past episodes, implying tougher times ahead.

"The credit-driven growth model is clearly falling apart. This could feed into a massive over-capacity problem, and potentially into a Japanese-style deflation," said Charlene Chu, the agency's senior director in Beijing.

"There is no transparency in the shadow banking system, and systemic risk is rising. We have no idea who the borrowers are, who the lenders are, and what the quality of assets is, and this undermines signaling," she told The Daily Telegraph.

Read more... (46 comments, 377 words in story)

Anglo Or Not, It's A Disease

by afew Fri May 3rd, 2013 at 05:48:37 AM EST

In a special issue (offline) of Alternatives Economiques, Christian Chavagneux argues that too great a size of the financial sector slows economic growth, and cites evidence from recent BIS and IMF working papers in support.

Though the development of financing circuits is indispensable to the functioning and growth of economies, the recurrent tendancy towards bubbles of credit and asset prices (stocks, real estate...) shows that beyond a certain threshold, finance has a very negative impact on the dynamics of activity.
(My translation)

An excessive financial sector reduces the rate of productivity increase, according to BIS working paper Reassessing the Impact of Finance on Growth (Cechetti and Kharroubi, pdf), which shows that a level of credit to the private sector at 75-100% of GDP (or greater) causes drag on average GDP-per-worker growth. To take into account differences between economies (developed, high-finance economies grow more slowly than less developed ones for a variety of reasons), the authors present this scatter plot based on deviation from the country mean (data from 1980-2009):

A falling-off in credit to the private sector/GDP (predictably, if one considers pro-finance common wisdom) correlates to a slowing of GDP-per-worker gains, but so does an increase. The effect, according to Cechetti and Kharroubi, is even more marked when only bank credit to the private sector is considered.

An IMF working paper, Too Much Finance? (Arcand, Berkes, Panizza) reaches similar conclusions: starting from 80-100% private-sector credit/GDP and beyond, economic growth is negatively impacted.

Chavagneux explains the negative impact by the mechanics of bubbles, see below the fold.

Read more... (41 comments, 487 words in story)

French minister calls for €300B ECB stimulus

by afew Sat Mar 16th, 2013 at 02:47:01 AM EST

This is eurogreen's diary that wouldn't post correctly... now front-paged - afew

Rigueur : "On se tire une balle dans le pied", estime Canfin - Le Nouvel Observateur Rigor: "We are shooting ourselves in the foot," says Canfin - Le Nouvel Observateur
Avant l'ouverture du sommet des chefs d'Etat européens, le ministre du Développement propose que la BCE mette 300 milliards d'euros au service de la croissance. Interview.Before the opening of the European summit, the Minister of Development proposes that the ECB puts up 300 billion euros to create growth. Interview.

Unfortunately, it's "only" Pascal Canfin; the proposal hasn't been covered widely. But it's nice to have a minister talking sense on this subject...

Read more... (29 comments, 1992 words in story)

Stéphane Hessel, Outrageous

by afew Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 09:55:46 AM EST

Stéphane Hessel est mort Stéphane Hessel has died
Stéphane Hessel, auteur d'Indignez-vous !, est mort dans la nuit du mardi 26 au mercredi 27 février à l'âge de 95 ans, a-t-on appris mercredi. L'ancien diplomate et résistant "est mort dans la nuit", a confirmé son épouse, Christiane Hessel-Chabry.Stéphane Hessel, author of Indignez-vous! (Time for Outrage!), died on the night of Tuesday 26 to Wednesday 27 February at the age of 95, it was learned Wednesday. The former diplomat and resistance fighter "died in the night" , confirmed his wife, Christiane Hessel-Chabry .
Né le 20 octobre 1917 à Berlin, "l'année de la révolution soviétique", aimait-il à rappeler, dans une famille juive convertie au luthéranisme, il arrive en France en 1925. Sa mère, Helen Grund, sera le modèle de Catherine dans "Jules et Jim", l'histoire d'une femme aimée par deux amis que Truffaut portera à l'écran en s'inspirant du roman de Henri-Pierre Roché. Son père, lui, traduit Proust en allemand avec le philosophe Walter Benjamin.Born on October 20, 1917 in Berlin, "the year of the Soviet revolution" , he liked to remind people, in a Jewish family converted to Lutheranism , he arrived in France in 1925. His mother, Helen Grund was the model for Catherine in "Jules et Jim", the story of a woman loved by two friends that Truffaut brought to the screen based on the novel by Henri-Pierre Roche. His father translated Proust into German with the philosopher Walter Benjamin.
Naturalisé en 1937, reçu à Normale Sup en 1939, Stéphane Hessel, qui parle allemand, français et anglais, est l'incarnation de l'intellectuel européen. Il suit les cours de Merleau-Ponty, lit Sartre. Mobilisé en 1939, fait prisonnier, il s'évade et rejoint Charles de Gaulle à Londres. Envoyé en France en 1944, il est arrêté et déporté à Buchenwald, où il maquille son identité pour échapper à la mort. Il s'évade de nouveau, est rattrapé, saute d'un train, rallie les troupes américaines et arrive gare du Nord en mai 1945.Naturalized in 1937, joining Normale Sup in 1939, Stéphane Hessel, who spoke German, French and English, was the epitome of the European intellectual. He attended Merleau-Ponty's classes, read Sartre. Called up in 1939, taken prisoner, he escaped and joined Charles de Gaulle in London. Sent to France in 1944, he was arrested and deported to Buchenwald, where he disguised his identity to escape death. He escaped again, was caught, jumped from a train, rallied the American troops and arrived at Gare du Nord in May 1945.
A la Libération, il rejoint le secrétariat général de l'ONU, participe en tant que secrétaire à la rédaction de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme et devient diplomate. Elevé à la dignité d'ambassadeur de France par François Mitterrand en 1981, il milite pour les sans-papiers - il est médiateur lors de l'occupation à Paris de l'église Saint-Bernard - et pour les Palestiniens, ce qui lui vaut les foudres des associations juives.After the Liberation, he joined the General Secretariat of the UN, participating as a secretary in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and became a diplomat. Raised to the rank of ambassador of France by François Mitterrand in 1981, he campaigned for undocumented migrants -- he acted as mediator during the occupation of the Saint-Bernard church in Paris -- and for the Palestinians, which earned him the ire of Jewish groups.

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Eurozone subthread

by afew Mon Feb 18th, 2013 at 04:56:28 AM EST

In talos' diary Greece: Of paupers and taxes, LEP made this comment:

LEP:

Isn't it rather obvious that the bad investments of the rich countries that were made in Greece are going to remain bad and in fact are lost. What is the point of continuing these sadistic policies; there's nothing more to be bled from Greece.

How can this be stopped? Is it time for a leader of one of the large countries to declare that the euro is a failed experiment and call for an orderly breakup.

As someone who knows little of economics I do know that this crisis has brought out the worst in all parties.

There followed a long subthread that became unmanageable, squeezing up against the right margin. Read it in the original by going to LEP's comment, it would be difficult to summarize here.

Most of it, however, concerned France's historical role in the creation of the single currency. Major themes: fixed exchange rates; "sound money" and conservativism; the geographical origin of macroeconomic theories. Comment further here if you wish.
 

Comments >> (30 comments)

News From Our Favourite Lobbies

by afew Mon Dec 3rd, 2012 at 10:23:07 AM EST

Two items stand out in today's Salon. The first concerns the UN Climate Change negotiations in Doha, that are now halfway through.

IPS - Fossil Fuel Lobby in the Driver's Seat at Doha | Inter Press Service

Countries have come to Doha unprepared to make the necessary commitments to actually stay below two degrees.

"There have been a number of voices suggesting (that) keeping temperatures below two degrees C is not possible. That simply isn't true. It is perfectly feasible," said Schaeffer.

Yes, but:

countries are going in the wrong direction, spending 523 billion dollars in 2011 in public tax money to subsidise the burning of fossil fuels, said Michiel Schaeffer, a scientist with Climate Analytics that produces the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) with Dutch energy consulting organisation Ecofys and Germany's Pik Potsdam Institute.

"The 2011 subsidies for fossil fuels were a 30-percent increase over 2010, according to the IEA (International Energy Agency)," Schaeffer told IPS.

By contrast, the IEA said that solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy received only 88 billion dollars in subsidies, one-sixth of the amount given to the highly profitable fossil fuels sector.

Even though 194 states and the European Union are here at COP18 to ensure the heating of the planet stays below two degrees, they are not discussing how to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.

So subsidies to fossil fuels rose by a freaking 30% between 2010 and 2011. And renewables, that we incessantly hear are hopelessly expensive and subsidised, get one-sixth of the amount fossil fuels get. Are we getting round to understanding that the propaganda effort by incumbent energy industries is not only real but it is working?

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Hollande: Colours To The Mast

by afew Sun Nov 18th, 2012 at 05:31:26 AM EST

Laurent Delahousse, news anchor on public TV channel France 2, asks the Minister of Education if François Hollande can now be called a "reformist social-democrat". Le Monde's Elysée correspondent Arnaud Leparmentier congratulates Hollande on being "social-liberal" (liberal in the economic sense, not as used in the US) and says "No, it's not a dirty word". Pundit Françoise Fressoz, in the same newspaper, writes that at last Hollande is taking it on himself to be "Hollandist", which she seems to define as being a social-democrat who will do supply-side stimulus. Michel Rocard says a signal has been sent to private enterprise, and about time too.

Though many of us might call Hollande's party "social-democrat", it defines itself as socialist. "Social-democrat", in current French political jargon, means pretty much "Gerhard Schröder". So there seems to be consensus in the political microcosm that Hollande is going Schröder's Way (aka Third).

There was a mammoth presser the other day at the Elysée (two and a half hours, four hundred journalists present), in which Hollande laid out the three pillars of his policy: a new direction for Europe, a forced march towards deficit reduction, and competitiveness.

The new "orientation" for Europe means solidarity, not austerity, says Hollande. To a considerable extent it looks as though he thinks most of that was achieved at the June summit, the one Germany back-pedalled from afterwards. Otherwise, this rather incantatory new direction is likely, in my view, to be invoked to validate any palliative measures that make the hurt just a bit less painful.

Because accepting the double German demand -- deficit reduction (along with the so-called golden rule) and competitiveness -- has nothing to do with solidarity and everything with austerity. And Hollande more than accepts both, he claims them as guiding principles.

Read more... (72 comments, 2120 words in story)

Wind Costs More? Think Again

by afew Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 07:05:51 AM EST

The Imperial College, London, report that demolished fantasy forecasts for the UK of massive balancing needs supplied by use of Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT), led to some discussion concerning the importance to the system of Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGT). (See UK Wind Power "Debate" : Latest). Ernst & Young (commissioned by Spanish and Portuguese energy companies Acciona and EdP), have brought out a report throwing new light on the comparison between wind turbines and CCGTs, for the EU27 and for specific European countries.

Wind technology was selected as the reference renewable energy source in this study and is compared here to Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT). This is based on the idea that natural gas is progressively becoming a significant source of electricity generation due to lower CO2 emissions compared to other fossil fuels and to its price competitiveness. The analysis  presented in this report could be extended to other renewable or conventional energy sources.

The present study provides insight on a number of costs and benefits of renewable energy policy measures, which are currently not systematically taken into account in the decision-making process:

► Job creation (direct and indirect) of policy measures in the renewable energy sector

► Contribution to the GDP and additional tax revenues

► Energy security

► Integration of wind capacities on the network

► Environmental externalities (CO2 emissions)

► Impact of wind power on electricity pool prices

(...)

Several existing studies have analysed the respective Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of these two technologies but did not include a comprehensive analysis of their additional economic costs or benefits.

Value Creation of Renewable Energy Policies (pdf)

In other words, comparisons based on the levelized cost, expressed in € per MWh over the estimated lifetime of the capital investment, do not take into account positive and negative externalities that the report proposes to quantify.

(Added to the Wind Power series.)

Read more... (20 comments, 1359 words in story)

UK Wind Power "Debate" : Latest

by afew Tue Oct 23rd, 2012 at 03:53:23 AM EST

This diary is a joint effort by DoDo and afew

The UK Parliament's Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change held a hearing on the economics of wind energy last July (transcript here). Evidence was brought by, among others, Professor Gordon Hughes of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, and Dr Robert Gross of Imperial College, London. Hughes later contributed supplementary written evidence, to which Gross et al responded a couple of weeks ago with further supplementary evidence.

What's at issue is how much wind generation capacity should be brought into the energy mix in view of the UK's renewables targets for 2020, and what the economic effects of an increasing share for wind would be. Britain has the largest wind resource in Europe, yet policy has veered wildly from planning for a very considerable wind build-out to outright discouragement.

The deceptively-named Global Warming Policy Foundation (often mentioned on ET, try here and here) think-tanks on climate change (obfuscation), renewable energy (opposition), and conventional energy sources (support). In this case, the Imperial College team (from the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology plus the Business School, and help from the Department of Electrical Engineering) refute the main planks of the GWPF's testimony before the Committee, and in passing present some interesting arguments and new research data.

(Added to the Wind power series.)

Read more... (71 comments, 2594 words in story)

Going Down Next Floor Basement

by afew Thu Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:38:16 AM EST

Not that OECD releases are spectacular, but four in a row today are reading from the same music.

G20 GDP growth slows to 0.6% in the second quarter of 2012

    Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the G20 area slowed to 0.6% in the second quarter of 2012 compared with 0.7% in the first quarter. This marks the third consecutive quarter of slowing growth in the G20 area but masks diverging patterns across economies.
    Growth accelerated in the second quarter of 2012 in Brazil (to 0.4% compared with 0.1% in the previous quarter), China (from 1.6% to 1.8%), Indonesia (from 1.4% to 1.6%), South Africa (from 0.7% to 0.8%), and Turkey (from minus 0.1% to 1.8%).
    Growth slowed strongly in Australia (to 0.6% compared with 1.4%), in Japan (0.2% compared with 1.3%) and in Korea (to 0.3% compared with 0.9%).
      Growth decelerated more moderately in Germany, India, Mexico, and the United States while in Canada and France growth rates were unchanged from the previous quarter.
    GDP contracted for the third consecutive quarter in the United Kingdom and for the fourth consecutive quarter in Italy. GDP also contracted by 0.1% in the European Union as a whole, and by 0.2% in the euro area.

Quarterly GDP in volume terms for the G20
Percentage change on the previous quarter, seasonally adjusted data

Next:

Read more... (7 comments, 625 words in story)

Montgolfière Photoblog

by afew Sat Sep 8th, 2012 at 03:56:01 PM EST

OK, the flight wasn't arranged for me, and it was by chance that I happened by earlier this evening just as a friend dropped by with his new hot-air balloon. So there was no room for me in the nacelle, but it was impressive watching the set-up and lift-off.


Is this pancakes, my friends?

Read more... (3 comments, 135 words in story)
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News and Views

 19-21 April 2014

by DoDo - Apr 18, 31 comments

Your take on today's news media

 18 April 2014

by In Wales - Apr 17, 60 comments

Your take on today's news media

 Friday Open Thread

by afew - Apr 18, 7 comments

Let us remember...

 Thursday Open thread

by Helen - Apr 17, 21 comments

Disturb the strange tranquility

Occasional Series
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