Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
Let it be said at once: Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.
Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example. What sealed the deal, though, was the suspicion that the Democrats were too close to Wall Street - and the inability of the Democratic media elite to learn the lessons from the Sanders vote.
Strange, super-hot temperatures at the Arctic mean that sea ice is melting (Independent) Strange events in the Arctic appear to suggest that something very troubling is happening with the sea ice there, scientists have said. The North Pole is experiencing hugely unexpected hot sea temperatures, which are stopping the usual ice from forming and could be a mark that something global warming is having even more worrying effects than previously thought.
Jill Stein raises over $2m to request US election recounts in battleground states (The Guardian) Jill Stein, the Green party’s presidential candidate, is prepared to request recounts of the election result in several key battleground states, her campaign said on Wednesday. Stein launched an online fundraising page seeking donations toward a a multimillion-dollar fund she said was needed to request reviews of the results in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Before midnight EST on Wednesday, the drive had already raised more than the $2m necessary to file for a recount in Wisconsin, where the deadline to challenge is on Friday. Stein said she was acting due to “compelling evidence of voting anomalies" and that data analysis had indicated “significant discrepancies in vote totals" that were released by state authorities.
Sorry, Hillary Clinton Fans. There’s ‘Zero Evidence’ of Election Hacking. (The Daily Beast) Some computer security experts, who think voting results in key states could have been manipulated by hackers. The emphasis here is on “could." There’s no clear evidence that voting machines were rigged or that ballots were altered, but as reported Tuesday night in New York magazine, a group of computer scientists and election lawyers has urged Clinton to call for a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, three swing states that Donald Trump won--to the surprise of just about every pollster, pundit, and journalist in America. David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, told The Daily Beast. The simpler explanation for why the vote deviated from expectations and historical trends was that Barack Obama wasn’t at the top of the ticket. The results for Clinton:
“... only look off when you compare them to the Obama elections in 2008 and 2012. There is zero evidence of tampering right now. Zero."
Economics Trumps Policy: Even President Trump Cannot Stop the Renewable Energy Juggernaut (Renewable Energy World) Trump’s opposition to climate change policy no secret. Abolishing the EPA, revoking the Clean Power Plan and pulling American support from COP21 were all mentioned in his loose plan for America’s energy sector. However, there is a silver lining in this situation. The United Sates has an incredibly resilient checks and balance system, where in many cases, the president is powerless to overturn decisions without support from the judicial and legislative branches. Some excerpts:
While oil, coal and natural gas are finite supply sources, it’s also worth remembering that solar panels and wind turbines generate electricity from infinite resources (sunshine and wind) at zero cost.
Since solar is produced locally, there is no additional transmission cost. Since coal is produced away from the point of consumption, it costs an additional $0.06/kWh to transmit. Very few people add up total costs of electricity production and transmission. Very few people add up total costs of electricity production and transmission.+
...the renewable and energy efficiency industries have created over 2.5 million jobs in the United States. Solar now employs more Americans than than oil, natural gas and coal combined.
For This Permian Land Deal, No Drilling Permitted (The Wall Street Journal) Usually when wildcatters and their Wall Street backers purchase property in West Texas, drilling rigs soon follow. That won’t happen at Sawtooth Mountain, though. Four energy companies and investment firm Warburg Pincus LLC are paying $1.2 million to lock the craggy, 7,686-foot protrusion at the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert in a conservation pact that will forever prohibit human disturbance, be it drilling for oil or building driveways. The 2,576 acres that encompass Sawtooth, the most distinctive of the Davis Mountains, will remain owned by department store heiress Miranda Leonard, who bought the land and more nearby in 1989. But the property is to be perpetually protected with a conservation easement. Combined with the Nature Conservancy’s neighboring Davis Mountain Preserve and state land, the area will form a sprawling sanctuary about 50 miles from the Mexican border. See also next article.
In Permian land rush, oil companies knock, call and hope for divine intervention (Houston Chronicle) The nature preserve (preceding article) created in West Texas has happened in the midst of a land rush boom. As oil prices have recovered, drillers have flocked back to Midland and the surrounding Permian Basin, one of the most productive oil fields in North America and among the few places where companies can make money with crude hovering between $40 and $50 a barrel. Majors, independents and small private companies are scrambling to secure land and mineral rights in a competition some producers call a "knife fight." As a result, land costs have skyrocketed from $2,000 to as much as $60,000 an acre, which one company paid this summer, raising eyebrows even among peers.
Brexit will blow £59bn hole in public finances, admits Hammond (The Guardian) Philip Hammond conceded that Brexit will blow a £59 billion ($74 billion) black hole in the public finances over the next five years, as he outlined plans to boost investment in infrastructure and housing to equip the UK economy for life outside the EU. In his first fiscal statement, the chancellor, who had supported remain, sought to strike a cautiously upbeat tone about the country’s prospects, saying the economy had “confounded commentators at home and abroad with its strength and its resilience" since the referendum result last June. But the first official projections conducted after the vote of the likely impact of leaving the EU pointed to significantly weaker growth after Brexit.
US Syria policy: signs of shift as Trump son meets pro-Russia Damascus figure (The Guardian) A meeting in Paris between Donald Trump’s son and a Syrian politician with strong ties to Russia has strengthened expectations that the new US administration will side with Moscow in the conflict. The meeting Donald Trump Jr attended at the Paris Ritz on 11 October, reported in The Wall Street Journal, was co-hosted by Randa Kassis, who runs a Syrian group portrayed as the “patriotic opposition" by Moscow. Kassis is widely viewed as pro-regime by many dissidents, because she advocates political transition in cooperation with the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, and because of her strong support of Russian intervention.
China will defend trade rights in face of Trump tariff threats, official says (The Guardian) China will defend its rights under World Trade Organisation tariff rules if US president-elect Donald Trump moves toward executing his campaign threats to levy punitive duties on goods made in China, a senior trade official has said. Zhang Xiangchen, China’s deputy international trade representative, also told a news conference in Washington on Wednesday that a broad consensus of academics, business people and government officials have concluded that China is not manipulating its yuan currency to gain an unfair trade advantage, as Trump has charged.
What’s in the TPP that has been omitted from the China-led free trade option? (South China Morning Post) A China-backed treaty, the RCEP, has become a front runner for setting new trade standards in the Asia-Pacific region after US President-elect Donald Trump confirmed he would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The RCEP lacks some of the “lofty goals" set for the TPP, including worker protection, environmental safeguards, and targeting corruption.
How China’s latest economic stimulus plan undid Beijing’s efforts to clean its air (The Washington Post) China may have declared a “war on pollution" nearly three years ago, but when push comes to shove, it is still the economy that matters. Concerned about slowing growth, China’s government has propped up the economy this year with a massive stimulus spending package. That has caused a property and investment boom, turned the taps of heavy industry back on and undermined efforts to clean up air in the capital. In effect, it is a cease-fire in the war on air pollution. Picture below shows Beijing air pollution on 18 November, in sharp contrast to the CDB banner display.
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