Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.
Stay current with what’s happening around the world with a quick scan of top news.

Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.
Stay current with what’s happening around the world with a quick scan of top news.

Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.
Stay current with what’s happening around the world with a quick scan of top news.

Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.
Stay current with what’s happening around the world with a quick scan of top news.

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Half of world’s democracies in decline: report… “We’re seeing extraordinarily severe headwinds for democracy now, intensified by the political fallout from the economic crisis that started with the pandemic and the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine”, International IDEA secretary-general Kevin Casas-Zamora told AFP…

“Casas-Zamora singled out the US as particularly worrying. “I’m very concerned by what we’re seeing in the United States”, he said.

“The country faces political polarisation, institutional dysfunction and threats to civil liberties, according to the report.”

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20221130-half-of-world-s-democracies-in-decline-report


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What’s causing the global food price crisis? No, it’s not just the pandemic or the Ukraine war. Financial speculation is making the crisis worse…

“While soaring food prices threaten food security globally, large food trading firms are profiting. These companies bet on the direction of food prices by storing or trading substantial amounts of goods – making big financial gains as a result.”

https://scroll.in/article/1038717/whats-causing-the-global-food-price-crisis-no-its-not-just-the-pandemic-or-the-ukraine-war


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The head of the world’s largest fertilizer firm [Nutria] is warning of global shortages ahead with supplies from Russia and Belarus becoming more limited than even he anticipated.

““Russia and Belarus are just enormous producers of fertilizer,” Nutrien Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Ken Seitz said Thursday… “There are export challenges in the region. That’s certainly going to have a material impact on the markets.””

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-01/top-fertilizer-firm-nutrien-sees-shortfall-on-russia-and-belarus-woes


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Factories in Europe and Asia struggled in November due to weakening global demand, with the pressure unlikely to let up in the months ahead…

The global economy is cooling as a result of soaring prices and uncertainty stoked by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Central banks, meanwhile, are continuing to move aggressively to stamp out inflation, weighing on purchasing power.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-01/cooling-demand-squeezes-factory-activity-in-europe-and-asia


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Here’s Why Stagflation Will be the Dominant Theme of the Decade…

“Consider where we are now. In every major economic bloc with a currency system that is used as reserves (most notably the US, UK, EU, and Japan) we have reached levels where growth has stalled. This growth stall was prior to the 2020 lockdowns, by the way. Debt had already begun to be unsustainable…

https://internationalman.com/articles/heres-why-stagflation-will-be-the-dominant-theme-of-the-decade/


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High debts and stagflation have set the stage for the mother of all financial crises…

“Unlike in the 2008 financial crisis and the early months of COVID-19, simply bailing out private and public agents with loose macro policies would pour more gasoline on the inflationary fire. That means there will be a hard landing—a deep, protracted recession—on top of a severe financial crisis.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/high-debts-and-stagflation-have-set-the-stage-for-the-mother-of-all-financial-crises-11670004647


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Blackstone limits withdrawals at $125bn property fund as investors rush to exit.

“Blackstone has limited withdrawals from its $125bn real estate investment fund following a surge in redemption requests, as investors clamour to get their hands on cash and concerns grow about the long-term health of the commercial property market.”

https://www.ft.com/content/e1ddc6f0-eb0a-4d52-8971-b1d9c2cb5c02


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US home buyers in high-cost areas could soon get $1m mortgages with just a 3 percent deposit after caps for federally-backed loans raised…

“The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced this week that the cap for home loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the federally-backed home mortgage companies – has increased to just over $1 million for the first time in history.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11493915/US-home-buyers-soon-1m-mortgages-just-3-deposit.html


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Mortgage costs now eat 67% of income in Canada: National Bank.

“A new report from National Bank Financial Markets said the cost to own a representative home in Canada required 67.3 per cent of income to service the debt, the most since 1981. A representative home is essentially a benchmark property price determined for each market using Teranet-National Bank Home Price Index data.”

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/mortgage-costs-now-eat-67-of-income-in-canada-national-bank-215306530.html


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No presents, avoiding relatives and visiting food banks: Christmas in a cost-of-living crisis [UK].

“Out of the shadow of the pandemic, Christmas 2022 should have been a celebration. But amid plummeting living standards, people are adapting, scaling back or cancelling festive plans altogether, finds Moya Crockett.”

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/reports/a42096351/christmas-cost-of-living-plans/


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Could Britain be facing a general strike this winter? Workers from the health, transport, education and postal sectors have voted for industrial action, but coordination is legally restricted…

“…some union leaders say they are coordinating action for maximum impact, and nearly 100 years after the last general strike, 1.5 million workers could again be on picket lines by Christmas.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/dec/02/could-britain-be-facing-a-general-strike-this-winter


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European funds suffer worst outflows since 2008 financial crisis…

“Bernard Delbecque, senior director for economics and research at Efama, said: “Ucits and AIFs suffered a level of net outflows not seen since Q4 2008. A combination of different factors, including high inflation, fears about the outlook for interest rates, and recession risks dampened investor confidence over the summer.””

https://www.funds-europe.com/news/european-funds-suffer-worst-outflows-since-2008-financial-crisis


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European Union countries have agreed to put a cap on Russian oil prices of $60 per barrel, bringing an end to days of arguments over how hard to hit Vladimir Putin’s fossil fuel revenues.

“According to EU diplomats, a deal was struck on Friday after Poland, which had been holding out for a harsher cap, came on board… The key question now is how Russia responds.

https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-agrees-russian-oil-price-cap-after-poland-backs-plan/


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The risk of short power outages has increased in Finland due to uncertainty in domestic production and foreign imports, the Finnish energy authority said on Thursday.

“National grid operator Fingrid has also warned of potential power blackouts this winter, due in part to the uncertainty surrounding the start-up date of the new Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power reactor.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/finlands-energy-authority-says-risks-power-outages-increased-2022-12-01/


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Estonian PM repeats potential electricity blackouts warning.

“Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) warned again on Thursday of potential power cuts due to low energy supplies. According to Kallas, the risk of blackouts can be reduced by reducing electricity consumption at peak times.”

https://news.err.ee/1608806533/estonian-pm-repeats-potential-electricity-blackouts-warning


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Switzerland could limit the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in cases of electricity supply shortages this winter under a new four-step plan to prevent power cuts and blackouts.

“To ensure energy security this winter, Switzerland could become the first country to limit the driving and use of EVs, German daily Der Spiegel reports, citing multiple media reports on the Swiss four-stage action plan to avoid blackouts.”

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Switzerland-Considers-Electric-Vehicle-Ban-To-Avoid-Blackouts.html


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French Grid Operator Warns Of Power Cuts This Winter.

“France could face the risk of power cuts this winter when electricity supply may not be enough to meet demand, Xavier Piechaczyk, the head of grid operator RTE, said on Thursday, citing the price to pay for slow renewables and a nuclear energy infrastructure working at half capacity.”

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/French-Grid-Operator-Warns-Of-Power-Cuts-This-Winter.html


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France accused of funding Putin’s war effort by buying his nuclear fuel. ‘Business as usual,’ says Greenpeace as drums of uranium filmed arriving at a French port…

“Imports of nuclear fuel from Russia remain legal in Europe as Brussels has not been able to ban them in eight rounds of sanctions packages.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/12/02/france-accused-aiding-putins-war-importing-russian-nuclear-fuel/


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Japan battles looming energy crunch with conservation.

“Japan is urging residents to bundle up and power down. The government expects a major strain on electricity this winter, as countries around the world fight an energy crunch. Clothing retailers are stocking up on hot commodities like fuzzy housecoats and cozy slippers.”

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20221201_33/


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China brings in ‘emergency’ level censorship over zero-Covid protests.

“Chinese authorities have initiated the highest “emergency response” level of censorship, according to leaked directives, including a crackdown on VPNs and other methods of bypassing online censorship after unprecedented protests demonstrated widespread public frustration with the zero-Covid policy.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/02/china-brings-in-emergency-level-censorship-over-zero-covid-protests


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China’s property woes fuel risks to its financial system – Moody’s…

“While Chinese banks’ direct exposure to risks from the property sector is limited, their indirect exposure, including lending to industries along the property sector supply chain and from collateral devaluation, is larger…”

https://www.reuters.com/world/china/chinas-property-woes-fuel-risks-its-financial-system-moodys-2022-12-02/


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South Africa’s cash-strapped power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has asked the National Treasury for 19.5 billion rand ($1.1 billion) to buy diesel to fuel auxiliary power plants, a request that’s unlikely to be heeded, said Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.

“We don’t have it,” Godongwana said in an interview at Bloomberg’s office in Johannesburg.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-02/eskom-has-asked-south-africa-for-1-1-billion-for-diesel-to-ease-power-cuts


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Zimbabwe power crisis cripples industry, CZI fears total collapse.

“Zimbabwe’s struggling manufacturing industry and other sectors within the country’s broader corporate world have been forced to cut heavily on production with some facing imminent collapse due to the current power crisis in the country, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said Thursday.”

https://www.zimlive.com/2022/12/zimbabwe-power-crisis-cripples-industry-czi-fears-total-collapse/


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Zambia plans power cuts due to low water levels in Lake Kariba.

“Zambia will start rationing electricity supply to domestic consumers from December 15 following a big drop in water levels in Lake Kariba, threatening hydropower generation, the energy minister has said… Water levels in the lake have dropped to 4.1 percent of usable storage for the Kariba North Bank Power Station in Zambia…”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/2/zambia-plans-power-cuts-dulow-levels


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Uganda Again Suffers Nationwide Power Blackout.

“”UETCL informs its stakeholders and the general public that we are experiencing a national blackout. We shall keep you updated as we work on restoration of power. All inconveniences caused are regretted,” Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited(UETCL) said in a statement.”

https://allafrica.com/stories/202212010085.html


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How Ghana’s economic crisis is reshaping its democracy. Ghana’s legislature could take the unusual move of censuring the finance minister…

“Ghana is experiencing economic turbulence on a level not seen since the 1980s. Its currency, the cedi, is the worst performing in the world and Ghana’s debt-to-GDP ratio has risen to over 80 percent. Consumer prices rose over 40 percent in October. Food prices in Ghana are now the highest in Africa…”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/01/how-ghanas-economic-crisis-is-reshaping-its-democracy/


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Ghana’s Debt Crisis Stirs Fears in Nigeria.

As the financial crisis in Ghana festers, there are fears that its contagion effect could spread to Nigeria, depending on the choice that whoever emerges president in the 2023 general elections takes to address Africa’s biggest economy’s debt challenges.”

https://dailytrust.com/ghanas-debt-crisis-stirs-fears-in-nigeria/


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Legal push to cut Puerto Rico power company debt delayed.

“Efforts to restructure some $9 billion in debt held by Puerto Rico’s power company hit a new snag Thursday following multiple failed attempts to end its bankruptcy… Many on the island fear that ongoing prickly negotiations might lead to yet another increase in already costly electric bills…”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/puerto-rico-ap-san-juan-b2237378.html


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Officials fear ‘complete doomsday scenario’ for drought-stricken Colorado River.

“The first sign of serious trouble for the drought-stricken American Southwest could be a whirlpool. It could happen if the surface of Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir along the Colorado River that’s already a quarter of its former size, drops another 38 feet down the concrete face of the 710-foot Glen Canyon Dam here. At that point, the surface would be approaching the tops of eight underwater openings that allow river water to pass through the hydroelectric dam.

“The normally placid Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir, could suddenly transform into something resembling a funnel, with water circling the openings, the dam’s operators say.

“If that happens, the massive turbines that generate electricity for 4.5 million people would have to shut down — after nearly 60 years of use — or risk destruction from air bubbles… Such an outcome — known as a “minimum power pool” — was once unfathomable here. Now, the federal government projects that day could come as soon as July.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/12/01/drought-colorado-river-lake-powell/


You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back on Monday with a “Climate” thread.

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