EU Slashes Growth Forecasts, Warns Of 'Deep, Prolonged Recession'
Nov. 10, 2011
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has warned that the 17-country eurozone could slip back into recession next year as the debt crisis shows alarming signs of spinning out of control.
The EU's economic watchdog, the European Commission, said Thursday its central forecast is that the eurozone will grow by only a paltry 0.5 percent in 2012. That's way down on the 1.8 percent prediction it made in the spring.
"This forecast is in fact the last wake-up call," the EU's Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn warned. "Growth has stalled in Europe, and there is a risk of a new recession."
The sharp cut in the forecast comes as the eurozone's debt crisis has spread alarmingly to Italy, the single currency bloc's third-largest economy. The interest rate on Italy's 10-year bonds has reached the same levels that forced Greece, Portugal and Ireland to request multibillion euro bailouts.
Speculation Premier Silvio Berlusconi will be replaced by leading economist and former Commissioner Mario Monti once he officially resigns has helped calm the market mood somewhat Thursday, but interest rates remain much higher than a week ago.
Greece, meanwhile, was stuck in political chaos as party leaders have failed for several days to appoint an interim governments, putting the country in serious danger of defaulting on its massive debts before the end of the year.
EU unemployment will be stuck at 9.5 percent for the foreseeable future, the Commission warned.
"While jobs are increasing in some member states, no real improvement is forecast in the unemployment situation in the EU as a whole," Rehn warned. moreAnd of course, listening to the "wisdom" of banksters just means that a whole lot of necessary work will go undone and the work that does get done will be cheap and nasty. But hey, we are only talking about the biosphere here. Why shouldn't we let a bunch of crooked fools tell us how to solve things!?
I have friends who are very worried about the environment effects of the proposed XL pipeline. Actually, the pipeline isn't the big problem—its the carbon disaster that comes from extracting oil from tar sands in Alberta. None other than James Hansen says that if we start digging around in the tars sands in a significant way, it is "essentially game over" for the climate. I hate to rain on the parade of one of the best climate scientists ever, but it looks like if it isn't tar sands, it will be something else.
World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns
If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change
Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 9 November 2011
Any fossil fuel infrastructure built in the next five years will cause irreversible climate change, according to the IEA.
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.
"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. "I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever."
If the world is to stay below 2C of warming, which scientists regard as the limit of safety, then emissions must be held to no more than 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the level is currently around 390ppm. But the world's existing infrastructure is already producing 80% of that "carbon budget", according to the IEA's analysis, published on Wednesday. This gives an ever-narrowing gap in which to reform the global economy on to a low-carbon footing.
If current trends continue, and we go on building high-carbon energy generation, then by 2015 at least 90% of the available "carbon budget" will be swallowed up by our energy and industrial infrastructure. By 2017, there will be no room for manoeuvre at all – the whole of the carbon budget will be spoken for, according to the IEA's calculations. moreHere an account of the same announcement from Deutsche Welle. Notice that an IEA economist talks about the unwillingness for governments to "sacrifice" (see boldface below.) In the Age of Austerity, even discussing investments must be cast as negative. (sheesh)
Time running out to curb global warming, watchdog warns
The IEA says the world's energy infrastructure must change
The International Energy Agency has warned that the world faces irreversible and dangerous climate change if governments fail to cut rising subsidies for fossil fuels and take steps to increase energy efficiency.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned world leaders this week that they could lose the chance to limit global warning if bold action isn't taken to lower emissions in the next five years.
Current clean energy technologies are insufficient to meet carbon reduction targets, so in the nearer term improving energy efficiency should be the top priority, the Paris-based agency said in a statement.
The agency's chief economist, Fatih Birol, said in London on Wednesday that governments must slash subsidies for fossil fuels and push harder to increase energy efficiency.
Presenting the agency's annual World Energy Outlook report, Birol pointed out that nations have been backsliding on their promises, with energy efficiency having worsened for the second year in a row.
If current trends continue, Birol said, international agreements to cap temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels will no longer be honored. That's the threshold beyond which some scientists have said serious climate disruption could be triggered.
"I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum (for safety). The door will be closed forever,“ Birol said.
The IEA report said that temperatures will rise by 3.5 degrees Celsius even if all countries follow through on the promises they have already made to curb emissions and invest in clean energy. But if the promises are violated, the report warned that in the long term global temperatures could soar to six degrees Celsius or more above preindustrial levels.
Despite the bleak picture, the IEA economist said he was skeptical that governments are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. Birol said there was a lack of political will among leaders to make drastic changes to their energy infrastructure. more