Category Archives: Asia

Map of the day: Uncle Sam, man in the middle

From Mare liberum: enhancing trade across two oceans with TPP and TTIP, a report on the impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by the Economic Research arm of Rabobank, the number bank in the finance-heavy Netherlands — and a major financial player in California with, alongside a chain of banks and some other investments, holds naming rights to three Golden State venues, the Rabobank Arena and the Rabobank Theater and Convention Center in Bakersfield and Rabobank Stadium in Salinas.

Note that nation emblazoned with the colors of both agreements and draw appropriate conclusions:

BLOG Mare Liberum

Climate change good for the far north only

Russia, Canada, Mongolia, Scandanavia, Greenland, and the Baltic would benefit from global warming, while everyone else would be left out in the cold heat.

From Nature, via Stanford University [PDF], and click on the image to enlarge:


More from the UC Berkeley news service:

Unmitigated climate change is likely to reduce the income of an average person on Earth by roughly 23 percent in 2100, according to estimates contained in research published today in the journal Nature that is co-authored by two University of California, Berkeley professors.

The findings indicate climate change will widen global inequality, perhaps dramatically, because warming is good for cold countries, which tend to be richer, and more harmful for hot countries, which tend to be poorer. In the researchers’ benchmark estimate, climate change will reduce average income in the poorest 40 percent of countries by 75 percent in 2100, while the richest 20 percent may experience slight gains.

The Nature paper focuses on effects of climate change via temperature, and does not include impacts via other consequences of climate change such as hurricanes or sea level rise. Detailed results and figures for each country are available for download online.

UC Berkeley’s Solomon Hsiang, Chancellor’s Associate Professor of Public Policy, was a co-leader of the study with Marshall Burke, a 2014 Ph.D. graduate from Berkeley and an assistant professor in earth system science at Stanford University. Berkeley’s Edward Miguel, Oxfam Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, co-authored the results.

Co-author Michael Burke of Stanford explains:

Our paper, published online Oct 21st 2015 in the journal Nature, seeks to answer two main questions:

  1. In recent years, how has economic output around the world been affected by changes in temperature and precipitation?
  2. What do these historical responses imply about the potential future impacts of climate change?

To answer question 1, we analyzed changes in temperature and changes in economic output (as measured by per capita gross domestic product) for 166 countries for the years 1960-2010. To answer question 2, we combined these historical estimates with projections of future climate change from global climate models, and projections of how countries’ economies might develop absent climate change

Our findings demonstrate that changes in temperature have substantially shaped economic growth in both rich and poor countries over the last half century, and that future warming is likely to reduce global economic output, relative to a world without climate change.

Chart of the day: And one with some bite to it

From BBC News:

BLOG Sharks

Quote of the day: A big FU to Europeans [and us]

John Hilary Executive Director of War on Want, a global anti-poverty organization, of his encounter with a key Eurocrat on the  Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] corporate-friendly international trade agreement, counterpart to insidious and national sovereignty-stripping Transpacific Partnership [TPP], writing in The Independent [emphasis in the original]:

As Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström occupies a powerful position in the apparatus of the EU. She heads up the trade directorate of the European Commission, the post previously given to Peter Mandelson when he was forced to quit front line politics in the UK. This puts her in charge of trade and investment policy for all 28 EU member states, and it is her officials that are currently trying to finalise the TTIP deal with the USA.

In our meeting, I challenged Malmström over the huge opposition to TTIP across Europe. In the last year, a record three and a quarter million European citizens have signed the petition against it. Thousands of meetings and protests have been held across all 28 EU member states, including a spectacular 250,000-strong demonstration in Berlin this weekend.

When put to her, Malmström acknowledged that a trade deal has never inspired such passionate and widespread opposition. Yet when I asked the trade commissioner how she could continue her persistent promotion of the deal in the face of such massive public opposition, her response came back icy cold: “I do not take my mandate from the European people.”

Trans-Pacific Partnership’s free speech danger

The TPP [previously], reached in secret with corporate collusion, has finally been agreed to by all the partners signing off, and with the backing of the Obama administration, seems headed for domestic approval.

And woes to the Fourth Estate and any concept of the public’s right to know about matters critical matters of health, policy, and governance impacting their daily lives.

And it took Wikileaks to bring out the threat.

The Guardian reports:

One chapter appears to give the signatory countries (referred to as “parties”) greater power to stop embarrassing information going public. The treaty would give signatories the ability to curtail legal proceedings if the theft of information is “detrimental to a party’s economic interests, international relations, or national defense or national security” – in other words, presumably, if a trial would cause the information to spread.

A drafter’s note says that every participating country’s individual laws about whistleblowing would still apply.

“The text of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter confirms advocates warnings that this deal poses a grave threat to global freedom of expression and basic access to things like medicine and information,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of internet activist group Fight for the Future. “But the sad part is that no one should be surprised by this. It should have been obvious to anyone observing the process, where appointed government bureaucrats and monopolistic companies were given more access to the text than elected officials and journalists, that this would be the result.”

Here’s the announcement from Wikileaks, with a link to the document:

Today, 9 October, 2015 WikiLeaks releases the final negotiated text for the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP encompasses 12 nations representing more than 40 per cent of global GDP. Despite a final agreement, the text is still being withheld from the public, notably until after the Canadian election on October 19.

The document is dated four days ago, October 5th, or last Monday, the same day it was announced in Atlanta, Georgia that the 12 member states to the treaty had reached an accord after five and a half years of negotiations.

The IP Chapter of the TPP has perhaps been the most controversial chapter due to its wide-ranging effects on internet services, medicines, publishers, civil liberties and biological patents. “If TPP is ratified, people in the Pacific-Rim countries would have to live by the rules in this leaked text,” said Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program Director. “The new monopoly rights for big pharmaceutical firms would compromise access to medicines in TPP countries. The TPP would cost lives.”

Hundreds of representatives from large corporations had direct access to the negotiations whereas elected officials had limited or no access. Political opposition to the TPP in the United States, the dominant member of the 12 negotiating nations, has increased over time as details have emerged through previous WikiLeaks disclosures. Notably, the Democratic front runner, Hillary Clinton, came out against the TPP on Wednesday saying: “Based on what I know so far, I can´t support this agreement.” This is a populist reversal by Hillary Clinton as earlier she has hailed the TPP as “the gold standard in trade agreements”.

In June the House of Representatives of the US Congress narrowly approved to “fast-track” the TPP, preventing the Congressmen from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty, only vote for or against it. 218 voted for the “fast-track” measure and 208 against. Only 28 House Democrats backed it. TPP is the first of a trinity of US backed economic treaties, the “Three Big T’s”, to be finalized. The other two being Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) which covers 52 countries and TTIP, the EU-US version of TPP.

Read the document.

Headline of the day: America’s illustrious ally

From RT [more here]:

Saudi employer reportedly chops off Indian maid’s hand after she asked for pay

Quote of the day: When Jane Goodall goes ape

As the world’s leading expert on chimpanzee behavior in the wild, Jane Goodall took a unique approach to a high government official to urge him to bring her community-based environmental education and action Roots & Shoots program into his country. She described the occasion in an interview with Der Spiegel:

I remember once meeting the Chinese environment minister. I wanted to convince him to allow our Roots and Shoots program into Chinese schools. However, he spoke no English, and so now here we were, just sitting, a translator between us, and I had only 10 minutes time. So I gathered my courage and started off saying, “If I was a female chimp and I was greeting a very high-ranking male, I would be very stupid if I didn’t do the proper submissive greeting,” and I made this submissive sound: “Ö-hö-hö-hö-hö-hö.” The male, I continued, would now have to pet the female, and with that I took his hand. He stiffened and we sort of had a little tug of war, but I didn’t give up and put his hand on my head. At first, there was dead silence. But then he began to laugh. In the end, we talked for an hour and a half, and since that time we now have Roots & Shoots at Chinese schools.