It was going to happen sooner or later. Maybe the meltdown in the world of finance hastened the trillion dollar deficit, though US governments have been trying hard to breach that milestone. Three months before the end of this financial year it’s happened.
Maybe it’s not such a frightening number in the context of the bailouts – already in the multi-trillions in the US and in Europe. But the symptoms remain a cause for concern – spending beyond the ability to repay. And passing the trillion dollar milestone has drawn attention to this issue. It has highlighted the concern of dollar borrowers that the global reserve currency may be losing its lustre. And rightly so. But as with other machinations in the world of money it is not in the players’ interest that the game unwinds too quickly. The dollar will remain a reserve currency for the time being, but it is prudent to diversify exposure, especially for long term holdings.
BBC: US budget deficit at $1 trillion
Economist: China and the dollar: Yuan small step – The dollar’s role as the world’s main reserve currency is being challenged
Fortune’s gauge: 7 metrics that indicate the trend in the US economy. Data in pretty pictures.
The latest annual survey of the largest companies by Fortune magazine confirms the dominance of oil companies, with 7 in the top 10, despite the steep drop in crude prices in the past year.
This isn’t surprising because we realise the unnatural dependence on oil that humanity has nurtured over the past century. It would not be so worrying if these companies were producing energy from alternative sources, that is low carbon sources. But they are not. The ranking reinforces the message that humanity is consuming buried sunlight in a suicidal way.
The company revenue ranking by Fortune also shows significant changes in US corporate strength because of the economic meltdown.
BBC: Shell beats Wal-Mart as top firm
Bundanoon, a rural town in New South Wales, Australia, has voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water over concerns about its environmental impact. It may be the first community in the world to have such a ban. 350 residents turned out to vote at the public meeting in the town hall. Only one resident voted against the ban, along with a representative from the bottled water industry. The ban has been supported by shopkeepers in the town, which has a population of about 2,500. Wouldn’t it be nice if the G8 could get it right like that too.
BBC: Australia town bans bottled water
So the G8 agreed to limit global warming to 2°C by 2050.
OK maybe a step in the right direction. But no agreement to cuts by 2020. And no agreed action. The G8 agreed its members would “work towards” 80% cuts in emissions by 2050, but again no commitment, no economic penalties for failing to meet the targets. It sounds good, but its a long way from the system change that is needed. If the economies of the world were not under such pressure it is unlikely that even these media friendly agreements would have been reached.
On a positive note there does seem to be willingness to talk. Now the rich and powerful need to give up feudalism and nurture nature.
BBC: World powers accept warming limit
BBC: Are G8 climate targets realistic?
The IMF’s World Economic Outlook Update is subtitled Contractionary Forces Receding But Weak Recovery Ahead.
Their Global Financial Stability Report Market Update is subtitled Policies Have Reduced Systemic Risks But Vulnerabilities Remain.
While capital injections have helped staunch the bloodletting, financial systems remain impaired and will remain a drag on economic recovery.
More than that, the uncertainties remaining in the finance industry combined with the failure to address moral hazard provide a breeding ground for opportunism. This raises the risk that medium to long term impairment of the financial system will recur and with that damage to the social fabric.
Also see IMF: Workd Economic Update – Recession Loosens Grip But Weak Recovery Ahead
An international group of academics is urging world leaders to abandon their current policies on climate change. The authors of How to Get Climate Policy Back on Course say the strategy based on overall emissions cuts has failed and will continue to fail. The current system of attempting to cap carbon emissions then allow trading in emissions permits had led to emissions continuing to rise. They want G8 nations and emerging economies to focus on an approach based on improving energy efficiency and decarbonising energy supply.
Their point is well made. It is necessary to simply cut carbon from the equation. In fact this will mean a cut in energy consumption, especially among the highest energy consumers. But at the moment even the current policy is a target as yet not being achieved and all moves in the direction of reducing energy consumption are needed.
BBC: ‘Time to ditch climate policies’
Although the graphics are not as dramatic as a movie like Independence Day or even An Inconvenient Truth, they show simply and clearly the imbalance between the carrying capacity of the earth and the human population. They also show that the imbalance is growing, rapidly.
The only real solution is to reduce the human population. This can occur naturally in one generation by choosing to reduce the birth rate. This occurs when individuals are educated by information and role models.
The benefit for everyone is more resources, more opportunity, more happiness. The cost is an ecological crisis of unimagined dimensions.
Click to view earth’s biocapacity in pictures.
Climate change: The evidence in pictures. A very quick overview of the evidence and consequences of human overconsumption of planetary resources.
By the way, there is still a choice.
The ancient Indian text the Kama Sutra makes an interesting read. It is not just a “sex manual” but also a guide or commentary on human behaviour and society. It allows for the differences in people and offers insight in to the intimate relationships that humans explore, including same gender sex.
Homosexuality has always been a part of human culture, as it is with other primates, and has not been as submerged by modern society in India as it has been in the West. Now the colonial prejudice which made homosexual relationship a criminal offence has finally been overturned. Not only will this remove some of the fear that ignorant laws like that engender, but it will facilitate the prevention and treatment of STDs like AIDS.
BBC: Gay sex ‘not criminal’ in India.