Monthly Archives: November 2008

The world is not flat

click for larger image

The World Development Report 2009 is a wonderful excursion through economic geography: with some interesting background papers too (like this from Marius Brulhart on trends in intra-industry trade since 1960)

The WTO’s objectives

On 11-12 December, the Institute for International Trade will host a conference that Andrew Stoler (its Director) and I have arranged as part of our year-long research project to find a better way to negotiate WTO agriculture agreements.

In a paper he has prepared for the conference on ‘Variable Geometries’, Professor Peter LLoyd of Melbourne University poses a question about WTO’s objectives. The paper will be available to participants at the conference, (and I’ll post links afterwards), but in the meantime here’s what Pascal Lamy (Director General of WTO) thinks are the objectives of the Doha Round, or possibly the objectives of the WTO:

Transition to a non-carbon economy

The objectives of climate-change mitigation programs such as those in the Garnaut Report or in the Australian Government’s absurdly-named ‘carbon pollution reduction scheme‘ cannot be achieved by 2020 or 2050 without a massive, and rapid, transition away from carbon-intensive energy sources of primary energy for base-load power generation, transport etc.

But forcing rapid change in the way we power production and consumption across the economy —for example, by means of carbon-quota (or tax) penalties— will cut growth and will redistribute resources to less productive sectors such as government and (probably) some households. Certainly, the emission controls will affect business and consumer plans, but the wealth impacts also risk undermining our capacity to invest in the infrastructure necessary for an eventual energy transition.

Prof. Vaclav Smil argues that the inertia of energy systems is much greater than these ‘transformational‘ programs acknowledge. Unlike information systems that the micro-processor revolutionized within the span of half a working-life, a transition in energy systems takes generations because it requires fundamental changes in large-scale ‘cooperative’ infrastructure such as transmission networks as well as in the organization of production and consumption.

Temperatures in Victoria

click for larger image

An update to the previous post on the temperature record in the state of Victoria. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says that 2007 was the hottest year on record, although satellite data show the Southern Hemisphere is not warming. The chart (above) shows their records for Victoria since 1950.

Share the love

According to the Reserve Bank’s deputy Governor:

“The prospective earnings yield on Australian shares now stands at 11 per cent, almost double the long-term average…When the yield has risen to these levels in the past, the return on shares over the subsequent 10 years has almost always been well above average”  David Uren in The Australian
Here’s the Governor’s speech.

How hot has it been in Victoria?

click for larger version

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology claims that 2007 was the hottest year on record for Victoria

“The year 2007 was Victoria’s warmest year on record with a mean annual temperature 1.18°C above the long term norm. This is 0.37°C above the previous record, set in 1988″  BOM
But, if so, Victoria must have had a dramatically different year from the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, whose land-temperatures show almost no trend over the past twenty years—except possibly a slight cooling since 2001 (click the thumbnail).

Why ‘Bretton Woods’ bis won’t happen

Although global regime management has become multipolar, multilateral collaboration has a woeful recent record.

“In fact, the emerging multilateral, multipolar world – long called for by those uncomfortable with American power – shows every sign of being highly dysfunctional.”  Gideon Rachman at the FT