Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bloomberg View Article On Cliimate Change Adaptation in Florida

Florida's state and national politicians, including Governor Rick Scott and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, are free to question whether climate change exists. Local officials don’t have that luxury. When it floods, people call city hall.

The need for a practical response, requiring both pumping stations and political cooperation, makes South Florida ground zero (sea zero?) in the debate over climate change. Its public officials, elected and otherwise, are showing how adaptation is not only necessary but also possible.
Unfortunately, articles like this need to be published more often. It seems that the conversation about climate change has been moving away from prevention towards mitigation and adaptation. While it is unfortunate that it has come to that, I have believed for a few years that the fight to prevent climate change was lost and it is good to see the discourse start to acknowledge that so that it can move forward from there.

US Economy Contracts in the First Quarter

The initial release of the GDP figures earlier already showed growth close to zero. The revision has lowered even that unexpectedly negative news. The economy actually shrank last quarter.

The figures show that a good chunk of the decline was due to declines in inventory accumulation. This has lead some (here, for examples) to predict that the economy will correct in the second quarter and we will see growth above-trend growth in the coming quarter. I do not buy it. Consumer confidence and personal finance indicators are declining as well; why should firms accelerate inventory accumulation when demand is lacklustre at best? On top of that, the world economy is looking rickety, with political crises in Ukraine, Thailand, and Turkey plus a number of Eurozone countries still looking at recessions

I would even say there is some probability of the economy going into recession, but I definitely do not see growth getting much above the anemic rates that have become the new normal in recent years, and I anticipate it will be low even by those standards.