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Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

A tale of two nations

July 17th, 2012

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By: Jeremy Twitchell

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, there’s really no better way of contrasting how wind energy has fared this month in Dickens’ homeland, the United Kingdom, with how it has fared in the U.S.

Last week, the British government authorized two new wind farms that together will provide more than 1 gigwatt (GW) of power, part of a decade-long initiative to increase the country’s overall offshore wind capacity to 18 GW by 2020. It is also another step toward the nation’s goal of drawing 15% of its energy load from renewable sources by the same year.

And when the British government recently proposed to reduce the tax credit that it provides to wind farms by 10% because of declining technology costs, the industry agreed. Even when more conservative politicians called for cuts of 25%, the two sides recognized the importance of maintaining predictability for the industry and quickly moved to work out their differences. An agreement is expected later this week. Read the rest of this entry »

The wages of austerity for Nicolas Sarkozy

May 7th, 2012

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This piece was originally posted on Politico.

The wages of austerity is death. Political death.

That’s the lesson of Europe — conveyed most recently by the defeat of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He’s the first French president defeated for reelection in more than 30 years.

In Greece, which also held elections Sunday, the old regime just collapsed. The two governing parties that negotiated Greece’s painful bailout deal saw their support fall by more than half. Who gained? Protest parties of the far left and the far right — including a neo-Nazi party.

What the extremes had in common was opposition to the Greek bailout deal, which imposes tax hikes and wage cuts on a country where unemployment is more than 20 percent.

In 2011 and 2012, governments have been thrown out of power in Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and now France and Greece. Britain’s coalition government also experienced disastrous losses in local elections last week.

Eleven European countries are now in recession — including Britain, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands. The unemployment rate in the 17-nation Euro zone is now 10.9 percent. In Spain and Greece, a majority of young workers are jobless. Read the rest of this entry »

Year of the Dragon Present Choices for China on Trade

February 15th, 2012

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This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

According to Chinese tradition, the coming “Year of the Dragon” will bring success and happiness. But, for modern China, 2012 will also be a year of decision. The choices China makes will have important implications for its future and America’s, and for the health of global trade.

Last year marked China’s 10th anniversary as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). When it joined the WTO, China made a deal. In exchange for expanded market access to the WTO’s now 150+ members, China agreed to adopt free market reforms and significantly open its economy to foreign trade. And because China had much market-opening work to do, the WTO gave China a significant part of the past decade to phase in reforms.

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Politics trumps economics on deficit

July 7th, 2010

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This piece was originally published in Politico.

The recovery has hit a wall. In June, the U.S. economy lost jobs for the first time this year. Existing home sales plunged 30 percent in May. Time to pump money into the economy!

But wait. The national debt is projected to jump to 62 percent of the economy by the end of this year. That’s the highest level since just after World War II. Time to cut back!

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