From the suburbs of London to global conflagration: a brief history of emissions

By Aurélien Saussay

A new interactive map of global CO2 emissions from 1750 to 2010 is helpful in understanding the historical responsibilities of the world’s different regions for the climate crisis.

The 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) ended on 12 December 2015 with a historic agreement. As 195 countries come to an accord on the need to limit global warming to 2 degrees by the end of the century, it is a good time to review the history of CO2 emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Right to the end of the negotiations, the question of the historical responsibility of the different countries has remained one of the main obstacles blocking the path to a global climate agreement. The recently industrialized emerging countries and the developing countries that are just beginning their economic take-off rightly refuse to provide efforts comparable to those of the developed countries. Lire la suite de « From the suburbs of London to global conflagration: a brief history of emissions »

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After the Paris Agreement – Putting an end to climate inconsistency

By Eloi Laurent

If the contents of the 32-page Paris Agreement (and the related decisions) adopted on 12 December 2015 by COP 21 had to be summarized in a single phrase, we could say that never have the ambitions been so high but the constraints so low. This is the basic trade-off in the text, and this was undoubtedly the condition for its adoption by all the world’s countries. The expectation had been that the aim in Paris was to extend to the emerging markets, starting with China and India, the binding commitments agreed in Kyoto eighteen years ago by the developed countries. What took place was exactly the opposite: under the leadership of the US government, which dominated this round of negotiations from start to finish right to the last minute (and where the EU was sorely absent), every country is now effectively out of Annex 1 of the Kyoto Protocol. They are released from any legal constraints on the nature of their commitments in the fight against climate change, which now amount to voluntary contributions that countries determine on their own and without reference to a common goal. Lire la suite de « After the Paris Agreement – Putting an end to climate inconsistency »

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Our house is on fire and we are only watching Paris

By Paul Malliet

As the 21st Conference of the Parties, COP21, began last week, all eyes were on Paris in the expectation of an ambitious global agreement that would limit the increase in global average temperature to 2°C and lead countries to begin swiftly to decarbonize their economies. But there is another battle taking place right now that is being ignored, even though it could have catastrophic consequences.

The primary forests and peatlands of Indonesia, located mainly on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan (and considered one of the Earth’s three green lungs), have been ravaged by fire for months as a result of an unexpectedly long dry season, which was in turn fueled by an extremely large-scale El Niño phenomenon[1], but also and above all by the continuation of slash and burn practices, which, though illegal, are intended to deforest the land needed to expand the cultivation of palm oil. Lire la suite de « Our house is on fire and we are only watching Paris »

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The end of oil and coal

By Xavier Timbeau

The idea that we must put an end to the use of oil and coal is not new. It has been pushed for a long time by NGOs like 350.org and its gofossilfree campaign. What is more striking is that the Democratic primary candidate Senator Bernie Sanders has put the proposal at the heart of the US presidential election debate. Institutional investors and large fund holders have also announced their intention to limit or terminate their investments in coal (for example, Allianz and ING) and oil (the Dutch pension fund ABP). The urban development policies of some large cities are also leaning in that direction. Asked about this option, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Gina McCarthy, noted (cautiously) that this option was not irrational. Lire la suite de « The end of oil and coal »

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European Semester: assessing the aggregate fiscal stance is good, discussing about its economic impact is better

by Raul Sampognaro

On November the 26th, the ECFIN launched the European Semester and published the 2016 Annual Growth Survey and the Euro Area policy recommendation. The ECFIN states that the large spillovers from fiscal policy decisions and the current constraints on the single monetary policy call for strengthened attention to the aggregate fiscal stance at the euro area level. The recommended aggregate fiscal stance should take into account the cyclical position of the euro area. Moreover, a broadly neutral aggregate fiscal stance for the next years in the euro area appears appropriate to ECFIN in light of downside risks to growth and the persistent economic slack. Lire la suite de « European Semester: assessing the aggregate fiscal stance is good, discussing about its economic impact is better »

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What would be the risks of extending QE?

By Christophe BlotPaul Hubert and Fabien Labondance

Following the last meeting of the ECB Governing Council on 22 October, Mario Draghi said that on Thursday, December 3rd, the Bank would review the orientation of its monetary policy in the light of economic and financial developments and the new Eurosystem staff forecasts, which will be disclosed at that time. The main issue facing the meeting is whether the ECB will take new steps to support activity. It could for instance announce further cuts in the deposit facility rate or an extension of quantitative easing (QE). Up to now the ECB has been careful to show its determination to meet its primary objective of price stability, even though in return it is encountering criticism that these waves of monetary expansion have had little effect on inflation but are fuelling asset price bubbles. Lire la suite de « What would be the risks of extending QE? »

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A standard contract for France: a potluck approach?

By Jacques Barthélémy and Gilbert Cette

The debate over a single standard contract [contrat unique] generally arises in relation to the duality of the labour market, with on the one hand employees who are highly protected, such as civil servants and permanent employees (“CDI” contracts), and on the other hand workers shifting between periods of unemployment and poorly protected precarious jobs (fixed-term “CDD” and temporary contracts). This contrast reflects gross inequalities, and has important social and economic consequences.

To deal with this dual labour market, proposals are often made for a « single contract » that would reduce the differences in status and rights between precarious and permanent contracts. But the concept of a « single contract » is often poorly defined. If we closely examine the major differences that exist in the content of the various proposals, it even begins to look like a potluck approach! Lire la suite de « A standard contract for France: a potluck approach? »

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Should we be worried about the slowdown in China?

By Eric Heyer

China’s growth is slowing. This does not really come as a surprise: the slowdown was announced by the Chinese authorities; it can be seen in the national accounts; and it was predicted in all the medium-term scenarios of the major international organizations. It corresponds to a new phase in China’s economic and social development, towards growth that the authorities want to be more « qualitative, inclusive and innovative ».

However, many analysts and experts believe that the Chinese economy has slowed down more than is reflected in the country’s national accounts. According to a survey conducted in 2015 by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 75% of investors are convinced that the real growth rate of the Chinese economy was less than 6% in the second quarter of 2015 on an annualized basis. For some, the overestimation of growth is due to an underestimation of inflation, particularly in the service sector. For others, China’s GDP growth rate needs to be correlated with the rate for electricity generation and be in line with freight by road, rail, sea or air. However, all these values have experienced ​​a significant decline since the start of 2014, and the stable relationship between GDP and these elements tends to indicate lower annual growth for the Chinese economy, of around 2% in early 2015 according to Artus, which is more in line with the observed fall in imports. This steeper slowdown would have a violent impact on the global economy, endangering the shoots of recovery in the developed economies. Lire la suite de « Should we be worried about the slowdown in China? »

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The potential headache of measuring economies in public expenditure

By Raul Sampognaro

Since 2009, the French budget deficit has been cut by 3.3 GDP points, from 7.2 percent of GDP in 2009 to 3.9 points in 2014, even though the economic situation has been weighing heavily on the public purse. This improvement was due to the implementation of a tighter budget policy. Between 2010 and 2013, most of the consolidation effort came from higher taxes, but since 2014 the effort has largely involved savings in public expenditure. In 2014, public expenditure excluding tax credits[1]  recorded its weakest growth since 1959, the year when INSEE began to publish the national accounts: in value, spending excluding tax credits increased by 0.9%, though only 0.3% in volume terms (deflated by the GDP deflator). Lire la suite de « The potential headache of measuring economies in public expenditure »

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The euro zone in crisis: challenges for monetary and fiscal policies

By Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak

The 9th EUROFRAME conference [1] was held on 8 June 2012 in Kiel on issues concerning the economic policy of the European Union. The topic was: « The euro zone in crisis: challenges for monetary and fiscal policies ». The conference was, of course, dominated by the issue of the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone. How did it come to this? Should the blame be put on mistakes in national economic policies? Must the way the euro zone is organized be changed?
Lire la suite de « The euro zone in crisis: challenges for monetary and fiscal policies »

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