12 June 2019 FT — Articles to Read

Question: Nasa has recently opened the ISS to tourism.  What will Nasa charge/night, i.e. not transportation cost?

Extreme weather sparks fears over ‘vicious cycle’ of rising energy use – Pg. 1

  • Extreme weather drove the growth in energy demand last year to its highest level since 2019, triggering warnings of a “vicious cycle” fueled by reliance on heating and cooling systems that could worsen the carbon emissions crisis
  • The rise spurred a 2% increase in carbon emissions, the fastest since 2011 and equivalent to increasing the global passenger car fleet by a third, or just under 400m
  • The US had an unusually high number of very hot or cold days last year – the most since the 1950s
  • Power generation is the biggest source of energy-related carbon emissions, and as the world electrifies and demand for services such as air conditioning grows, the need to clean up the system will intensify

US and allies tackle metals shortage concerns – Pg. 4

  • The US and allied countries have launched an international effort to encourage responsible development of materials for new energy technologies, such as lithium, copper and cobalt, as they try to ensure supplies of key resources
  • The US state department and counterparts in Canada and Australia have said they will work to help countries discover and understand their mineral resources and will advise on management and governance that will attract international investment and support good environmental and social policies
  • A shift in the global energy system from fossil fuels – driven by cost reductions that are making new technologies increasingly competitive, and by government policies to fight global warming and local pollution – is expected to result in steep increases in demand for some metals and other materials
  • Chinese companies have been moving to secure supplies of these materials, buying up mines in countries from Australia to South America

Retail – Pg. 7

  • While booksellers were among the first retailers to feel the full force of the Amazon effect, with the Borders chain closing in 2011, the rest of the industry has begun to suffer.  In the past two years there have been a string of retail bankruptcies and mall closures as a result of ecommerce’s relentless rise
  • The traditional physical book itself has also proved resilient in the face of insurgent formats

Growth is starting to light the economy’s hidden corners – Pg. 9

  • US employment returned to its pre-crisis level in late 2016, but it took another year for U6 to recede.  The rate at which 25 to 54-year-olds participate in the labour market, another metric of distress, is only now beginning to return to pre-recession levels
  • Ex-convicts and discouraged workers who dropped out of the workforce are being sucked back in by desperate employers who would not have considered them a few years ago

US bank regulators are ill prepared for the next downturn – Pg. 9

  • Central bankers have been warning that rising levels of corporate debt pose risks to the financial system because they could amplify a downturn
  • The US faces an additional risk – unless we address a crucial mistake that was made in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, the next downturn could have a calamitous impact
  • The law [Dodd-Frank] created a process for quick and efficient liquidation of a falling largest financial institution – a significant improvement.  But as part of the horse-trading that went into gathering support for the law, the final version also limited what regulators can do when a financial institution starts to teeter.  Specifically, Dodd-Frank took away the ability of the FDIC to guarantee liabilities of banks and bank holding companies other than insured deposits.  It significantly curtailed the US Federal Reserve’s ability to use its emergency lending authority to provide the kinds of short-term wholesale funding that are critical to meeting the economy’s credit needs
  • There are clear historical reasons why Congress opted to limit policymakers’ authority.  Lawmakers were responding to public fury that the bankers and financiers who helped spark the 2008 crisis appeared to be getting off scot free
  • Much of the backlash was focused on the Troubled Asset Relief Programme (Tarp), which sought to shore banks up from the losses they incurred from subprime mortgage lending.  But there was also concern about the Fed’s emergency loans to non-banks, such as insurer AIG, and FDIC debt guarantee
  • First was that Tarp and other efforts to provide liquidity funding were a free ride for the banks that took the infusion
  • Second was that these measures primarily benefited bank executives and shareholders
  • Third, critical believed that Tarp and the other programmes would cost American taxpayers big money, adding to the deficit.  This proved to be wrong – in virtually every case…
  • Fourth, there continues to be a view that banks and bankers were not sufficiently punished for actions that precipitated the financial crisis

Answer: $35,000.00