So far, progress towards the Copenhagen meeting in December to determine the successor to the Kyoto protocol has been mixed at best. China is holding out for concessions the developed world is highly unlikely to grant, the US climate bill has been heavily criticised, as has Japan’s recent commitments, while Australia’s emissions-trading proposals languish.
The G8 commitment yesterday to an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 sounds quite encouraging, until you get to the baseline vagueness.
But hold on a moment. Perhaps things aren’t so bad? Read more
With Ed Crooks
Ghana has long seen itself as a torchbearer for African aspirations, as it has been relatively stable and democratic in recent decades compared to some of its fellow West African states.
Will the country’s recently-discovered oil wealth change that?
The offshore Jubilee field is thought to house as much as 1.2bn barrels of oil, and some of the small oil companies with holdings there have sparked quite a bit of interest.
Yet Ghana’s newfound hydrocarbon riches inevitably prompt comparisons with Nigeria, another Anglophone country just a few hours drive away by bush taxi, and US President Barack Obama on his first state visit to Africa at the weekend will warn Ghana against falling prey to the curse plaguing almost every oil-rich country. Read more
How important is the revenue from oil-producing countries in the worldwide economy? They may not be as big a force in world investment flows as pension funds, but petrodollars are one of the four most influential sources of investment according to a new McKinsey Global Institute study. And they’re increasingly investing that money in foreign real estate and commodities – particularly in Africa and Asia.
The really big investment powers are still pension funds, mutual funds and insurance companies. But their combined assets fell by a fifth from 2007 to 2008, from $75,500bn to $60,000bn. Meanwhile the four groups identified by McKinsey – petrodollars, hedge funds, private equity and Asian governments – only fell slightly from $12,300bn to $12,100bn in that period. Read more
Commodity markets staged a partial recovery on Thursday with crude oil prices rebounding by more than $1 a barrel while base metals made modest gains, helped by weakness in the US dollar.
On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund revised its global economic growth forecast for 2010 higher, up from 1.9 per cent to 2.5 per cent, but warned that recovery was likely to be weak.
Noting that financial conditions had improved, the IMF also cautioned that vulnerabilities remained and said “more work” was needed to fix banks and markets. Read more
Shell has overtaken Wal-Mart to top Fortune’s Global 500 list. A look at the last five years of winners goes like this: Wal-Mart, Exxon, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart, Shell – but it’s basically a field dominated by energy.
The rankings are based on revenues, hence General Motors’ appearance at #18. Cutting the numbers any other way shows a different story: by market cap for example, Exxon jostles with PetroChina. And by proven reserves Exxon is the undisputed winner, at least among listed companies. Read more
Cuts of 80 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050: it sounds like a lot, and it is. This was the target agreed by the G8 on Wednesday.
They also resolved to try to hold global temperature rises to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, which scientists regard as the limit of safety – the first time such a target has been formally adopted in a leading international forum.
The 80 per cent cuts will only apply to developed countries but the G8 wants the rest of the world to rally round and provide the extra cuts needed to ensure that global emissions fall by half by 2050.
That, at least, was the plan. But the major emerging economies aren’t playing along.
G8 agrees cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
Gordon Brown hailed the deal as ‘historic’ (FT)
Editorial: G8 must galvanise talks on warming
A consensus is needed between the rich and poor for a new deal (FT) Read more