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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Business Times, October 28, 2015
 
This is a somewhat flippant headline as a new climate deal is a serious matter. It is being pursued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that wassetupin1988 to “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (ie human-induced) interference with the climate system”.

Regular meetings known as COP (Conference of the Parties) discuss the reports, now in version 5 as of 2014. The most notable meeting was COP3 at Kyoto 1987, which led to a globally binding Protocol – its first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. The second commitment period began on Jan 1, 2013, to end in 2020.COP21 will take place in Paris in December 2015 and I venture that it will be a “done deal” – “Kyoto II” will be signed off.

I read an academic paper a while ago about the 1987 Montréal Protocol which led to a ban on the use of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). Discussions took several years but were aided by (a) being tightly focused on “ozone issues” using a composite weighting function that combined the effects of all pollutants into a single number; (b) having firms cease CFC use much earlier than the convention date as the US had already banned CFC use in aerosols; (c) the CFC sector in each country did not include the entire spectrum of their national economy, and (d) a well-informed public demanded the easily visualised “ozone hole” be filled in as soon as possible to protect their personal health. Heads of government came to Montreal ready to sign, and within 90 days the ban on CFCs’ use had become globally binding.

In contrast, the COP meetings concern the total economy of every nation and the simplifying aspect of Montreal now confuses the COP debates – in particular the widely-bandied term “carbon footprint” of a nation, which is derived from an agreed formula combining the effects of many atmospheric pollutants into a number called the CO2 (carbon dioxide) equivalent.

Sadly the public too strongly associates the overall footprint with burning carbon. It is true that burning fossil fuel produces CO2 as well as other pollutants, but cows create methane which is about 25 times worse than CO2: CFCs have a weighting of 10,000andSulphur Hexafluoride (used in dielectrics) is some 23,000 times worse than CO2. These all contribute to global warming in complex ways.

The forecasting of emissions by country is difficult and political. Yet the world’s two main polluters – China and the US – have agreed on a strategy of mitigation which will pull other nations into line. When President Obama met President Xi in November 2014 in China they agreed to cap their emissions: the US to reduce by 28 per cent by 2025, and China to reach a peak by 2030 or before. They reaffirmed their commitment when President Xi visited the US in September 2015. President Xi also reconfirmed his commitment to a national carbon trading scheme.

The Kyoto Protocol established rules for carbon trading. Essentially the trading scheme’s governing body sets a cap on allowable emissions. It then distributes or auctions off emissions allowances that total the cap. Member firms that do not have enough allowances to cover their emissions must either make output reductions (or change technologies) or buy another firm's spare credits. Members with extra allowances can sell them or bank them for future use.

Cap-and-trade schemes can be either mandatory or voluntary. But the market will choose the easiest means to save a given quantity of carbon in the short-term, which may be different from the pathway required to obtain sustained and sizable reductions over a longer period: a market-led approach is likely to reinforce technological lock-in. For instance, small cuts may often be achieved cheaply through investment in making a technology more efficient, whereas larger cuts would require scrapping the technology and using a different one. Furthermore caps increase costs which are passed on the consumers.

The 2006 Stern Review for the UK government said three policy actions needed to be taken worldwide – carbon pricing, technology policy enhancement and increasing energy efficiency. This could have been done at the time for about 1 per cent of global GDP – the increased costs of carbon-intensive goods – and delay would simply increase the costs to us all.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, recently told bankers to beware of the vast financial implications of investment swaps as traders exited “dirty” situations. He noted as well as physical and liability risks, UK insurers, which manage almost£2 trillion (S$4 trillion), also face threats from the re-pricing of investments in fossil fuels in the move toward a lower carbon economy.

Such large figures merit consideration in today’s weak growth scenario as costs are rising on many fronts. Notwithstanding the accord struck through the Trans-Pacific Partnership linking the US, Japan and10other Pacific Rim nations, it arrives as Asian, European and North American investment climates waver.

Further, the IMF has just forecast lower 2015 growth than last year. Overall costs for many rich nations will increase as we aim for the next global Sustainability Development Goals recently agreed at the UN (they have nuances included about climate change). And costs will increase if the new climate change protocol is agreed in Paris.

As the globe undertakes more robotisation, while ultimately good for humanity (getting rid of dangerous or repetitive jobs so freeing people to be creative), it will increase short-term costs associated with economic migration. However, I believe there is a worldwide crusade to save our planet; and so, as with the Montreal process, the Paris meeting ought to be “a done deal”.

 

The writer is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.


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