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Jessie May Peters

First Published: September 24: 2015
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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Flagship Green Cities Programme Doubles in Size




|| Thursday: November 19: 2020 || ά. Finance for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:EBRD’s pioneering urban sustainability programme, EBRD Green Cities, is doubling in size with a further €950 million allocated to extend work over the next three years. Set up in 2016 with €250 million and expanded in 2018 by a further €700 million of EBRD funds, EBRD Green Cities has mobilised significant co-finance, including, €87 million from the Green Climate Fund:GCF for concessional funding, as well as, technical co-operation from the GCF and several bilateral donors.

With the new funding, more than €02 billion will be dedicated to supporting EBRD Green Cities. The successful programme has already grown to include 43 cities and aims to expand to 100 by 2024. Addressing climate change and environmental degradation is urgent. Cities worldwide are the source of, at least, three-quarters of emissions, making them a vital starting-point in tackling climate change. This is, particularly, true of cities in the EBRD regions, central and eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, where obsolete urban infrastructure is, often, degrading the quality of life of citizens, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing communities from adapting to climate change.

EBRD Green Cities offers tangible support to help cities address their environmental issues and improve the quality of life of their residents. All participating cities embark on a trigger project to improve their local environment with EBRD help, work on a Green City Action Plan:GCAP to create a tailor-made list of further environmental investments and policy actions, most suitable to address their environmental challenges.

The programme, also, makes a major contribution to tackling climate change: Achieving the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rises below 02C and, preferably, below the more ambitious target of 01.5C, could be achieved, if, the world can have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

To achieve this, we must significantly reduce emission from buildings, increase the efficiency of transport and shift our electricity supply to be predominantly from renewable sources. Investment in urban infrastructure is the key to making this possible.

The November 2020 funding extension of EBRD Green Cities, which is available to all eligible cities across the EBRD regions, will continue to focus on improvements to the core urban sectors of urban transport, water and waste water, solid waste management, district energy, street lighting and low-carbon and climate-resilient buildings.

It will, also, focus more on nature-based solutions, more effective integration of climate resilience and adaptation criteria, renewables, gender and inclusion work, advanced technology solutions and urban regeneration, through an updated GCAP methodology.

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Qatar Must Not Drop the Ball on Workers’ Rights: The Country Must Remember Were the Contributions Made by Migrant Workers in the Country to Be Taken Down There Would Remain Very Little of Today’s Qatar: That’s How Much It Owes to the Migrant Workers


|| Wednesday: November 18: 2020 || ά. Qatar must strengthen enforcement of its labour reforms and end impunity for abusive employers, if, it is to, fully, deliver on its promises to protect workers’ rights, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing. Since being awarded the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar has faced increased scrutiny over its record on migrant workers’ rights. With two years to go until the start of the Cup, Amnesty International has released a new analysis of Qatar’s progress on reforming its labour system.

The Organisation welcomed recent reforms but, warned that the reality for many migrant workers will remain harsh unless further action is taken to guarantee wages, ensure access to justice and protect domestic workers from exploitation. “In recent years Qatar has introduced a series of major reforms, including, amending laws to give workers freedom of movement and allow them greater job mobility. It has, also, promised better pay and access to justice in cases of abuse. But many migrant workers have not yet benefited from these changes. Until these reforms are fully enforced, many will remain trapped in a cycle of exploitation.” said Mr Steve Cockburn, the Head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International.

“Positive reforms have too often been undermined by weak implementation and an unwillingness to hold abusive employers to account. Inspection systems are inadequate to detect abuse and it remains challenging for workers to lodge complaints without risking their income and legal status. Qatar needs to do much more to ensure legislation has a tangible impact on people’s lives.” Since 2017, Qatar’s government has introduced a number of reforms, aimed at benefiting migrant workers. These include a law, regulating working hours for live-in domestic workers, labour tribunals to facilitate access to justice, a fund to support payment of unpaid wages and a minimum wage.

Qatar has, also, abolished laws, requiring migrant workers to seek their employers’ permission to change jobs or leave the country and ratified two key international human rights treaties, albeit, without recognising the right to join a trade union. If, properly and fully implemented, these reforms could help end the most problematic aspects of the kafala sponsorship system and enable migrant workers to flee abusive working conditions and seek redress. However, thousands of workers continue to be subjected to labour abuses.

For example, a recent report by Amnesty International documented how domestic workers in Qatar continue to work around 16 hours a day with no day off, despite the introduction of a law, stipulating a ten-hour limit and a weekly rest day. Women, interviewed for the report, described horrendous verbal and physical abuse and none had seen their employers held to account.

In another investigation, Amnesty International documented how, around, 100 migrant workers employed on a construction project for a World Cup stadium, worked for up to seven months without pay, despite the authorities being aware of the issues for nearly a year. Although, most workers have now been paid most of what they were owed, following publication, the case highlighted continuing failures by both the Qatar authorities and FIFA to provide timely remedy to workers.

To address the persistent power imbalance between employers and migrant workers and move closer to delivering on its commitments, Qatar needs to better implement current reforms and introduce further ones, strengthen inspection mechanisms to, quickly, detect and stop abuses, improve workers’ ability to access justice and remedy, end the culture of impunity for abusive employers and respect the right of migrant workers to form trade unions. It should ensure a particular focus on strengthening protections for domestic workers, who have so far been left behind by many of the reforms.

“Holding perpetrators to account is paramount to end the cycle of abuse. Qatar must show abusive employers that their actions have consequences, by monitoring their adherence to laws and penalising employers, who break them. It’s time for Qatar to send a clear signal that labour abuses will not be tolerated.” Said Mr Steve Cockburn.

As the World Cup organiser, FIFA, also, has a responsibility to ensure human rights are respected in the context of preparing for and carrying out the tournament. This includes an obligation to hold its World Cup partners to account and use its clout to push Qatar to fully reform its labour system.

With this in mind, Amnesty International offices in more than 20 countries are writing to their national football associations, urging them to play an active role in ensuring the rights of migrant workers. Football associations should call on FIFA to use its voice, privately and publicly, to urge the Qatar government to fulfil its programme of labour reforms before the World Cup starts off.

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ASEAN: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: China Is the Biggest Winner While India Remains Outside in Self-Isolation of Protectionism


|| Sunday: November 15: 2020 || ά. The Leaders of ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand witnessed the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership:RCEP Agreement. The RCEP marks ASEAN’s biggest free trade pact to date, covering a market of 02.2 billion people with a combined size of US$26.2 trillion or 30% of the world’s GDP. However, India’s walking away from it means that China is the biggest winner in RCEP in its expansion of ‘soft powers’ in the region and, whereby, here, India has acted without foresight and vision. Protectionism is no means when all others are seeking to widen their reach to as wide a market as possible, such as, one with 02.2 billion consumers.

“The signing of the RCEP Agreement is a historic event as it underpins ASEAN’s role in leading a multilateral trade agreement of this magnitude, despite global and regional challenges and eight years of negotiations.” said Mr Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN. “RCEP will give a much-needed boost for a swift and robust recovery for businesses and peoples in our region, particularly, during the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis.” The Deal will improve market access with tariffs and quotas eliminated in over 65% of goods traded and make business predictable with common rules of origin and transparent regulations, upon entry into force.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is an agreement  to broaden and deepen ASEAN’s engagement with Australia,  China, Japan,  Korea  and  New Zealand. Together, these RCEP participating countries account for about 30% of the global GDP and 30% of the world population.

The objective of the RCEP Agreement is to establish a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership, that will facilitate the expansion of regional trade and investment and contribute to global economic growth   and   development.   Accordingly, it   will bring   about   market   and   employment opportunities to businesses and people in the region. RCEP Agreement will work alongside and support an open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system.

This will encourage firms to invest more in the region, including, building supply chains and services and to generate jobs. The Agreement has 20 Chapters, 17 Annexes and 54 schedules of commitments, covering market access, rules and disciplines and economic and technical co-operation.

Negotiations of RCEP, which started in 2013, were led by Mr Iman Pambagyo, the Director-General of Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade and with support provided by the ASEAN Secretariat.

The virtual signing by ministers took place, following the conclusion of the 4th RCEP Summit on November 15.

Summary of RCEP

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EBRD: Strong Institutions and Good Governance Key to Successful Future: Assuming That They Work to Create a Clean Green Circular and Sustainable Economics and Not Wasting Resources to Support the Fossil Fuel Dinosaur Economics

Time For the World's Workers to Fight For the Building-Block Foundational Human Rights

A: Absolute Right to Live in Clean, Healthy, Safe and Natural Environment
B: Absolute Right to Breathe Natural, Fresh, Clean and Safe Air
C: Absolute Right to Necessary Nutritional Balanced Food and Drink
D: Absolute Right to Free Medical Care at the Point of Need
E: Absolute Right to an Absolute Home
F: Absolute Right to Free Degree-Level Education and Life Long Learning
G: Absolute Right to Guaranteed Social Care
H: Absolute Right to a Universal Income
I: Absolute Right to a Job
J: Absolute Right to Dignified Civic and Human Funeral Paid Through by Universal Income

This is part of Munayem Mayenin's Works on Humanics and Humanical Society: Humanics: The Foundation: Published: The Second Volume of This Work, Humanics: The Humanicsonomics: Pseudonomics and Its Laws and Lawlessness, Soon to Be Published: No State, Government, Public Bodies of Any and All Kinds and Types Nor Any Person, Persons or Agency Can Pursue a Course Nor Can They Justify Any of It, That Leaves the Vast Majority of Humanity Suffering and Perishing Away in Miserable Agony of a Live-In-Life-Sentence in This Horrendous State of a Waste of Human Existence Across the Earth Because They Do Not Have These


|| Wednesday: November 11: 2020 || ά. As the corona virus pandemic sparks calls for more state intervention, emerging economies face tough choices to determine whether an increased role for government will have positive or negative long-term consequences. The latest Transition Report from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:EBRD says that 45% of people in the EBRD’s post-communist economies now favour higher levels of state ownership.

Citizens. Also, increasingly expect the state to be able to reduce the health and economic risks they face. Past epidemics have been shown to leave a large dent in people’s trust in the economic and political institutions, that underpin democracy and the market economy. The new Report shows that individuals, reaching adulthood during major recessions tend to have more positive views of public ownership and income redistribution. In her foreword to the publication, ‘The State Strikes Back’, EBRD’s Chief Economist Ms Beata Javorcik says that the ability of emerging economies to deliver successful policies against a backdrop of increasing state influence depends crucially on the quality of institutions and public governance.

“The economies of the EBRD regions stand at a crossroads, with decisions on policies and institutions, that are taken now potentially determining their paths for decades to come. The current period of crisis and upheaval, triggered by the global pandemic, represents a valuable opportunity to lay the foundations for a wealthier, fairer and greener future.” says Ms Javorcik.

Weak institutions would allow the ‘grabbing’ hand of the state to siphon off resources meant for people in need, give jobs to friends and family and let state banks be used for political gain. Firms, that could not operate profitably in a low-carbon economy may be kept alive as ‘zombie companies’ and firms, that are nationalised during the pandemic may never be privatised.

On the other hand, good governance would allow the ‘caring’ hand of the state to guide economies through the transition to a green economy, transparently, providing essential support and adopting forward-looking policies. Ms Javorcik notes that privatisation, deregulation and measures to reduce state interference in the economy were the dominant trend following the collapse of communism in the late 1980s.

EBRD was created at this time, precisely, to promote a smooth transition to private-sector-driven market economies. Since then, however, the 2008-09 global financial crisis and subsequent recession have demonstrated that market forces alone will not always provide socially optimal outcomes and government intervention is needed to combat climate change and to deal with the increasing challenge of economic inequality.

EBRD combines its investments across 38 emerging economies with support for policy reform, that fosters good governance, economic inclusion and sustainable development. The new Report notes that state-owned enterprises continue to play an important role in the EBRD regions, providing, almost, half of all public-sector employment. It says that they can be a stabilising force for economies, providing employment during downturns and in disadvantaged regions.

However, governments are not particularly effective in the management of state enterprises, which are likely to be less innovative than their private-sector counterparts.

State-owned banks have grown in importance across the EBRD regions since the mid-2000s and become major competitors to the private sector, because many have less stringent lending standards, lower net interest rate margins and a higher tolerance of non-performing loans.

A willingness of state banks to assume risks can help soften the impact of economic shocks. On the downside, however, firms, that borrow from the state financial sector tend to be less innovative and show weaker productivity growth.

This is, partly, a reflection of the fact that state-owned banks may be more susceptible to political interference in their lending decisions and so channel finance away from more productive firms. The Report, also, says that EBRD economies are falling behind in the enforcement of policies, that help reduce carbon emissions, in the wake of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

In the short term, the EBRD regions have to build transition to a green economy into post-COVID-19 recovery plans. In the medium term, the state must address the market and policy failures, that are impeding the transition to a green economy, with an emphasis on effective carbon-pricing strategies.

In the longer term, the state will have to facilitate the ‘creative destruction’, that the low-carbon transition will inevitably unleash. This will involve supporting workers and communities, that will suffer from the economic transformation.

Read the Report

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As Biden-Harris Transition Team Prepares to Assume Office They Should Take Note of the Desperations of the 140 Million Poor and Low-Income Americans: There Is Always the Political in Economics and Where There Are the Political and Economics There Must Always Be Morality: Poverty-Waged and Disenfranchised Workers Are a Sign That the Political and Economics Have Failed Miserably to Uphold Moral Values: Hunger Malnutrition Poverty of All Kinds Allocated to Workers Are Signs of a Jingoistic Political Economics That Is Grotesquely Immoral Insupportable Unsustainable and Bankrupt

:::  As social distancing measures were enacted to slow the spread of the coronavirus, economic activity collapsed. A burst of new activity has accompanied some re-openings but, now, because the government has failed to curb the pandemic and failed to enact a just response, the economy is plunging deeper into crisis. This all is taking place in a society, that was, already, deeply unequal. Before the pandemic, 140 million people were poor or one emergency away from being poor, including, approximately, 60% of Black, Non-hispanic people, 26 million; 64% of Hispanic people, 38 million; 60% of indigenous people, 02.15 million; 40% of Asian people, 08 million; and 33% of white people, 66 million. :::

:::  There are real costs to maintaining a vastly unequal economy: Every year, we lose $01 trillion to child poverty costs and $02.6 trillion in lost earnings from gender and racial wage gaps; we have lost $01.3 trillion in government revenue by lowering the corporate tax rate in 2017 and $06.4 trillion in endless wars; inaction on climate change may cost close to $03.3 trillion annually; and 250,000 people die from poverty and inequality every year. The cumulative financial costs of the pandemic are estimated to be $16 trillion.  :::


|| Wednesday: November 11: 2020 || ά. Seven months into a global pandemic, US families are suffering: 225,000 lives have been lost, 30 million workers have lost either jobs or significant hours of work, nearly, every state is facing sharp drops in revenue, that will threaten, even, more cuts to essential social programmes and jobs and the US economy remains deeply depressed and a re-entry into outright recession in coming months is highly possible. There is no mystery about what has brought us to this point. The immediate cause of the economic crisis we face is the fallout of the pandemic and the Trump administration’s failed response.

As social distancing measures were enacted to slow the spread of the coronavirus, economic activity collapsed. A burst of new activity has accompanied some re-openings but, now, because the government has failed to curb the pandemic and failed to enact a just response, the economy is plunging deeper into crisis. This all is taking place in a society, that was, already, deeply unequal. Before the pandemic, 140 million people were poor or one emergency away from being poor, including, approximately, 60% of Black, Non-hispanic people, 26 million; 64% of Hispanic people, 38 million; 60% of indigenous people, 02.15 million; 40% of Asian people, 08 million; and 33% of white people, 66 million.

The pandemic spread and deepened along the fissures of that inequality and the inadequate public policies, that existed prior to the pandemic. It is no surprise that eight million people were pushed below the poverty line in the past five months as COVID-19 economic disruptions continued. So, what needs to be done?

This blog post from the Economic Policy Institute:EPI and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival shows that, if, America does not address what’s happening with visionary social and economic policy, the health and well-being of the nation is at stake. If, poor and low-income people don’t vote and determine who is in office and, if, policy-makers don’t change course from one-shot policy activism, we will face even greater economic peril. What we need is long-term economic policy, that establishes justice, promotes the general welfare, rejects decades of austerity and builds strong social programmes, that lift society from below.

In this post, we provide several illustrative policy recommendations, which are by no means exhaustive but, aim to give a sense of how bold change must be. It’s important to understand where we are today and how we got here. Because COVID-19 spreads so efficiently in face-to-face situations, economic sectors, that relied on face-to-face interactions, including, food service, retail, hospitality, education and health sectors, among others, were, essentially, closed when social distancing measures came into force. These widespread closures resulted in a stunning collapse of economic activity and employment. In March and April of 2020, 21.5 million workers lost their jobs and 12.7 million lost their health insurance when they became unemployed. While some jobs have been returning as sectors reliant on face-to-face interactions slowly open back up, the economic shock of COVID-19 remains historically large and damaging, far beyond the 2008-09 Great Recession and even the Great Depression.

Many of these workers were facing extreme economic distress and insecurity before the COVID-19 shock, that made them more vulnerable to the pandemic’s economic fallout:

:::  they were not paid enough to build up savings to tide them over in an emergency, let alone a long pandemic;

:::   they lacked paid sick, medical leave and health insurance benefits;

:::  many lacked access to unemployment insurance or affordable options for high-quality child care;

:::   they often lived in expensive but crowded accommodations;

:::   and they lacked, and continue to lack, power and a voice at work to demand safe working conditions.

The disempowerment of huge swaths of the US workforce is, perhaps,sbest summarized by the figure presented. The wedge between what workers are being paid and the ability we have to pay workers higher wages or the amount of income, generated in an average hour of work, also, known as productivity, has grown enormously since the 1970s. Instead of going to workers, the benefits of our increasingly productive economy have gone to corporate and business executives and holders of wealth.

This wedge is not a sad accident of apolitical market forces. It is the predictable outcome of intentional policy choices, that aimed to redistribute economic leverage and bargaining power upward and away from typical workers. There was no one single piece of legislation, that did this; instead, it was the accumulation of dozens, if not, hundreds, of policy choices made in the form of legislation, regulatory changes and administrative decisions, that consistently put a thumb on the scale of the conflict over who would see benefits from economic growth.

The recovery from this point forward will be a long and slow slog, unless policy-makers radically change their course. Most of what is needed in the COVID-19-driven recession is the same thing, that is needed in every recession: safety net programmes and additional federal resources, that flow robustly and generously to state and local governments in a time of increased need.

This includes policies, that can address the precarious economic status of low-wage, essential workers, who have been on the front lines of the hardest-hit sectors of the pandemic recession. While all recessions are hard on lower-wage workers, most recessions do not start in low-wage sectors. Traditionally, they have begun in manufacturing or construction and then radiated outward, harming low-wage workers in their wake. However, the economic sectors requiring face-to-face interactions in the US economy are disproportionately staffed by low-wage workers and these sectors have been the epicentre of the COVID-19 shock.

This is in part why the CARES Act was not enough, not for the crises at hand nor the longer, festering policy choices and overall direction this country has shifted to over the past decades. It will take more than one-shot policy activism to bring us out of these depths but, this is, essentially, what the CARES Act offered.

The best parts of the CARES Act included substantial federal aid for control and treatment of the virus and a reimagining of how protective and expansive the nation’s unemployment insurance:UI system could be. But because we have disinvested for decades in the state systems, that administer UI, these huge changes led to much disruption, including, often-delayed benefits for those in need. And while those, who received benefits through the CARES Act were thrown a lifeline, that kept them above water, the extra $600 in UI benefits ran out at the end of July and the PUA programme, that made normal benefits available, even, to non-traditional workers, runs out at the end of this year.

Also, millions of people were excluded from these benefits, including, the 11 million undocumented workers, who are working on the front lines of this pandemic. Neither they nor their citizen children received the one-time stimulus check, Economic Impact Payment or EIP. Meanwhile, unbanked people, who include a large number of the nation’s indigenous people, received the EIP weeks late. This withdrawal and delay of critical economic aid, even, as the economy remains profoundly damaged isn’t just cruel to families struggling to get by. It is, also, bad economics.

This aid, largely, going to families with workers, who were in sectors, shut down by the pandemic, essentially, kept the COVID-19 shock contained in those sectors and kept it from spilling over into the rest of the economy. As of September, the direct economic shock from COVID-19 has been getting smaller, at least, for the moment but, the negative effects are starting to spill over again, as the measures to contain the economic hardship of the pandemic, the EIP and enhanced UI, have been stripped away.

Another glaring weakness of the CARES Act was its insufficient aid to state and local governments. In the federalised US system, state and local governments provide many of the most important on-the-ground tasks people expect of the public sector generally. Health and education spending dominate state and local budgets. The COVID-19 shock caused incomes and spending to plummet and, in turn, will lead tax collections of state and local governments to plummet. Because these governments have balanced-budget rules, this puts intense pressure on these governments to reduce spending in the face of much lower tax collections.

We have seen this before. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, recovery was throttled by a Republican-led Congress. Public spending grew more slowly in the recovery, following the Great Recession, than during any other recovery since World War II. Federal aid to state and local governments was stopped too soon and Republican governors embraced austerity as an economic strategy. By our estimate, these measures delayed a full recovery back to pre-recession 2007 unemployment levels by four full years. This drag on growth stemming from state and local budget distress always comes with a lag: Employment losses in state and local governments, for example, persisted for four full years after the official end of the Great Recession of 2008–2009. This was, in short, a policy disaster.

We do not need to repeat these mistakes. Indeed, there are discrete, ambitious policy changes, that could happen quickly and would be transformative, especially, for the 140 million poor and low-income people, who were facing multiple pandemics even before COVID-19.

Policy-makers must commit to ending recessions and restoring full employment as quickly as possible. They need to refrain from cutting recoveries short in the name of safeguarding against potential inflation. Instead, they should aggressively push unemployment down as far as possible, only stopping expansionary measures when actual inflation begins. Tight labour markets with low unemployment fundamentally change the bargaining dynamic between workers and employers, forcing employers to go begging for workers rather than workers begging for jobs.

In 1963, the March for Jobs and Freedom demanded a federal minimum wage of $02 per hour. Adjusted for inflation, this would be roughly $15 today. Adopting the March’s demand and boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would give a raise to 33 million workers, with Black workers and women seeing disproportionate gains. A labour market is only as strong as its floor and the federal minimum wage needs to be significantly strengthened to bolster this floor.

We should follow the lead of other rich countries and greatly expand the share of the unemployed, who receive UI benefits in normal times and normal UI benefits should be made significantly more generous. A transformed UI system can be a revolutionary change for US workers, significantly, blunting the anxiety and deprivation inflicted by, even, short spells of joblessness.

The COVID-19 shock has just been the latest crisis, highlighting the perversity of tying access to health insurance coverage to specific jobs. Nearly, every other rich industrialised nation has delinked health insurance and the labour market and has, instead, made access to insurance coverage a universal right. The US should join this community and provide coverage to all and, more importantly, this coverage should not become degraded or ruinously expensive whenever one loses a job. The steps forward in health security made by the Affordable Care Act:ACA have laid bare an important truth about these efforts: Their bedrock needs to be substantial increases in publicly provided insurance, beginning with the expansion of Medicaid.

In the 30 years, following World War II, the fruits of economic growth were far more evenly distributed than since and tax rates faced by the rich and corporations were substantially higher. These higher tax rates provided revenue for needed public spending and reduced the incentive for privileged economic actors to rig the rules of the market to tilt more gains their way. We should raise taxes progressively to help finance needed public investments and safety net spending and because progressive taxes reduce the pay-off to exercising market power. Yes, this market power should, also, be confronted directly with legislation and regulation but, we can, also, tax away the pay-off to exercises of market power as a backstop.

Health care, high-quality child and elder care and education are all examples of vital goods and services, that are out of reach for too many families. These should be provided by public investments, that provide them universally. While the upfront costs of providing these are considerable, the pay-off over time to society is huge. Some studies find that investments in early childhood education, for example, are more than 100% self-financing, even, in narrow public budgeting terms, i.e, the higher taxes paid by more productive and hence higher-income adults resulting from early childhood investments will fully pay for these. High-quality elder care can allow a large expansion in the labour force of adult women, greatly bolstering growth. And health care in countries, that rely more on public provision is more affordable and sees slower cost growth than others.

Recent years have seen a growing recognition that the brute force model of policing and incarceration has failed as a mechanism for guaranteeing public safety. A new model needs to be developed, one, that rests on investments in health, education and opportunity for poor neighbourhoods. These investments should include pilot programmes, that invest in community-based organisations, that are given primary responsibility for ensuring public order and safety. In many communities around the US, community-based organisations already do much of this work, building safe public spaces and trying to intervene to stop violence or crime before it happens. These organisations are forced to do this work on the cheap but, their work is effective and, if, financed publicly, can build trust rather than antagonism between communities and those, tasked with providing public safety.

For any of the policies outlined above to be advanced, policies must, also, be passed, that protect and expand voting rights, especially, for poor people and poor people of colour. Since 2010, there has been a wave of new voter suppression laws in, at least, 25 states in the country, targeting poor people of colour. Pushing back against this voter suppression begins with reinstating the pre-clearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act, that were lifted by the 2013 Supreme Court case Shelby County v Holder; including, judicial oversight of those jurisdictions, that have passed voter suppression laws since 2010; ensuring automatic registration at the age of 18, same day registration and early voting in every state; ending felony disenfranchisement; and making Election Day a national holiday.

There are real costs to maintaining a vastly unequal economy: Every year, we lose $01 trillion to child poverty costs and $02.6 trillion in lost earnings from gender and racial wage gaps; we have lost $01.3 trillion in government revenue by lowering the corporate tax rate in 2017 and $06.4 trillion in endless wars; inaction on climate change may cost close to $03.3 trillion annually; and 250,000 people die from poverty and inequality every year. The cumulative financial costs of the pandemic are estimated to be $16 trillion.

Absent a radical policy change, there is a very good chance that these unnecessary losses will continue, inequality and inequity will worsen and the US economy will find itself in a recession again before the end of this year. There is no reason this needs to happen, especially, if, we ensure that those people, who are most impacted by this economic crisis and by those, who brought us to this point, are engaged in the political process of electing our policy-makers.

According to research by the Poor People’s Campaign with economist Robert Paul Hartley, there are 34 million poor and low-income people, who did not vote in 2016. In key battleground states, a small percentage of those voters can meet and, even, exceed the margins of victory from 2016. By organising against the policies, that have pushed millions of people out of the political narrative and, increasingly, out of any economic power, we can begin a path to recovery, that will benefit us all. When we lift from the bottom, everybody rises.

::: This Paper is Written by Josh Bivens, Rev Dr William J Barber II, Rev Dr Liz Theoharis and Shailly Gupta Barnes of Economic Policy Institute, USA :::

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Renewable Power Is Defying COVID Crisis With Record Growth This Year and Next


|| Tuesday: November 10: 2020 || ά. In May 2020, the International Energy Agency:IEA market update on renewable energy provided an analysis, that looked at the impact of Covid-19 on renewable energy deployment in 2020 and 2021. This early assessment showed that the Covid-19 crisis is hurting but not halting global renewable energy growth. Half a year later, the pandemic continues to affect the global economy and daily life. However, renewable markets, especially, electricity-generating technologies, have already shown their resilience to the crisis. Renewables 2020 provides detailed analysis and forecasts through 2025 of the impact of Covid-19 on renewables in the electricity heat and transport sectors.

In sharp contrast to all other fuels, renewables used for generating electricity will grow by, almost, 07% in 2020. Global energy demand is set to decline 05% but long-term contracts, priority access to the grid and continuous installation of new plants are all underpinning strong growth in renewable electricity. This more than compensates for declines in bio-energy for industry and bio-fuels for transport, mostly, the result of lower economic activity. The net result is an overall increase of 01% in renewable energy demand in 2020.

Despite looming economic uncertainties, investor appetite for renewables remains strong. From January to October 2020, auctioned renewable capacity was 15% higher than for the same period last year, a new record. At the same time, the shares of publicly listed renewable equipment manufacturers and project developers have been out-performing most major stock market indices and the overall energy sector. This is due to expectations of healthy business growth and finances over the medium term. In October 2020, shares of solar companies worldwide had more than doubled in value from December 2019.

Driven by China and the United States, net installed renewable capacity will grow by, nearly, 04% globally in 2020, reaching, almost, 200GW. Higher additions of wind and hydropower are taking global renewable capacity additions to a new record this year, accounting for almost 90% of the increase in total power capacity worldwide. Solar PV growth is expected to remain stable as a faster expansion of utility-scale projects compensates for the decline in rooftop additions resulting from individuals and companies reprioritising investments. Wind and solar PV additions are set to jump by 30% in both the People’s Republic of China and the United States as developers rush to complete projects before changes in policy take effect.

The renewables industry has adapted quickly to the challenges of the COVID crisis. IEA revised its forecast for global renewable capacity additions in 2020 upwards by 18% from its previous update in May. Supply chain disruptions and construction delays slowed the progress of renewable energy projects in the first six months of 2020. However, construction of plants and manufacturing activity ramped up again quickly and logistical challenges have been, mostly, resolved with the easing of cross-border restrictions since mid-May. The IEA database for monthly capacity additions shows that they have exceeded previous expectations through September, pointing to a faster recovery in Europe, the United States and China.

Renewable capacity additions are on track for a record expansion of nearly 10% in 2021. Two factors should drive the acceleration, leading to the fastest growth since 2015. First, the commissioning of delayed projects in markets where construction and supply chains were disrupted. Prompt government measures in key markets, the United States, India and some European countries, have authorised developers to complete projects several months after policy or auction deadlines, that originally fell at the end of 2020. Second, growth is set to continue in 2021 in some markets, such as, the United States, the Middle East and Latin America, where the pre-COVID project pipeline was robust due to continued cost declines and uninterrupted policy support.

India is expected to be the largest contributor to the renewables upswing in 2021, with the country’s annual additions, almost, doubling from 2020. A large number of auctioned wind and solar PV projects are expected to become operational, following delays due not only to COVID-19 but, also, to contract negotiations and land acquisition challenges.

In the European Union, capacity additions are forecast to jump in 2021. This is, mainly, the result of previously auctioned utility-scale solar PV and wind projects in France and Germany coming online. Growth is supported by member states’ policies to meet the bloc’s 2030 renewable energy target and by the EU recovery fund, providing low-cost financing and grants. In the Middle East and North Africa region and Latin America, renewable energy additions recover in 2021, led by the commissioning of projects awarded previously in competitive auctions.

Renewables are resilient to the COVID-19 crisis but not to policy uncertainties. The expiry of incentives in key markets and the resulting policy uncertainties lead to a small decline in renewables capacity additions in 2022 in the main forecast. In China, on-shore wind and solar PV subsidies expire this year, while off-shore wind support ends in 2021. The policy framework for 2021-25 will be announced at the end of next year, leaving uncertainty over the pace of renewables expansion in China in 2022 and beyond. Renewable additions are, also, set to be held back in 2022 by the expiry of production tax credits for on-shore wind in the United States, the on-going financial struggles of distribution companies in India and delayed auctions in Latin America. In particular, on-shore wind additions are expected to decline by 15% globally, while off-shore wind expansion continues to accelerate around the world.

If, countries address policy uncertainties, as in the Accelerated Case, global solar PV and wind additions could each increase by a further 25% in 2022. This would push renewable capacity additions to a record 271GW. China alone would account for 30% of the increase. The solar PV annual market could reach about 150GW, an increase of, almost, 40% in just three years. In the United States, if, additional policies for clean electricity are implemented, solar PV and wind may see much more rapid deployment, contributing to a faster decarbonisation of the US power sector.

Cost reductions and sustained policy support are expected to drive strong renewables growth beyond 2022. Despite the challenges emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, the fundamentals of renewable energy expansion have not changed. Solar PV and on-shore wind are already the cheapest ways of adding new electricity-generating plants in most countries today. In countries where good resources and cheap financing are available, wind and solar PV plants will challenge existing fossil fuel plants. Solar projects now offer some of the lowest-cost electricity in history. Overall, renewables are set to account for 95% of the net increase in global power capacity through 2025.

Total installed wind and solar PV capacity is on course to surpass natural gas in 2023 and coal in 2024. Solar PV alone accounts for 60% of all renewable capacity additions through 2025 and wind provides another 30%. Driven by further cost declines, annual offshore wind additions are set to surge, accounting for one-fifth of the total wind annual market in 2025. Off-shore’s growth moves beyond Europe to new markets such as China and the United States where ample potential remains. The rapid growth of variable renewables around the world calls for increased policy attention to ensure they are securely and cost-effectively integrated into electricity systems.

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To Assume That Paris Climate Change Agreement Will Fail Means That the Earth Was Approaching Towards Becoming Unliveable and Thus It Is Not An Option Open to World Humanity: The World of Economics Must Wake Up to That Or They Shall Join the Dinosaurs Because World Humanity Shall Not Just Walk to Their Deaths Led by Dinosaur Economics: Financial Retreat From Oil and Gas Shows Signs of the Tide Turning


|| Thursday: October 22: 2020 || ά. To date, 50 significant global financial institutions have announced exits from their investments in oil and gas, with 23 major players beating a path to the exit this year alone. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:IEEFA has been tracking this retreat and early trends show a similar pattern to global finance’s on-going retreat from coal. Last week three of Asia’s five largest power companies announced plans to sell off stakes in coal-fired power stations completely.

Australian ABC Journalist M Fran Kelly interviewed IEEFA’s Director of Energy Finance Studies, Mr Tim Buckley. In this interview Mr Buckley has touched upon many vital issues but what he points out about this so-called Paris failing assumption, that needs to be taken on and ‘boomerang’ back to those in the business world, who assume that it was an option, that Paris can fail! It was never an option and it is not an option. Unless the economics changes it is nothing but dinosaur economics and it is leading humanity, the web and ecology of life on earth towards extinction because Paris Agreement is the last point, the Point of No Return. And, let us pose this question to these people, who still blind themselves with this dangerous idea that the world has the option to let Paris fail, do they think that world humanity shall follow them blind-folded to their deaths for towards extinction we are all moving onwards? It is absolutely against nature, against reason, against the history of human development and progression to assume that all humanity shall just keep on being blindly led to their deaths silently. Dream on: Or get out of dinosaur economics as fast as you can because the days of dinosaur economics are numbered and people shall bury it into history soon, if, it dictates and demands that it brings humanity, the web and ecology of life on earth to an end!

Tim Buckley: We are seeing major global financial institutions announcing commitments aligning with Paris. Last week we saw HSBC join Barclays, Morgan Stanley and J P Morgan, all setting net zero lending targets by 2050. So that is highlighting how the momentum is really building with every week of 2020 to align with Paris and to move to zero emissions lending-focused targets.

Fran Kelly: In the short term, when you talk about pulling out of oil and gas, is that overstating it? Investors, big players, are now excluding investments in high-risk oil sands development and drilling in the Arctic. But these are the dirtiest kind of energy production; this is all the low hanging fruit, isn’t it? It’s not really a pulling out of oil and gas, is it?

Tim Buckley: In the short term, your statement’s 100% correct. What we’re identifying is that they’re pulling out of the highest risk, lowest likely rates of return projects around the world in oil and gas and they’re building on the momentum we’ve have seen over the last two or three years, which has seen them formerly exit thermal coal and coal-fired power plants at an increasing momentum.

But I would go back to the comment that I made about HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and J P Morgan. What they’re doing is announcing exits of oil sands and:or arctic drilling in the near term but, they’re, also, committing to net zero by 2050. They’re committing to a long-term decarbonisation strategy, that effectively, unless you have carbon capture and storage effective, commercialised and working, you have to, actually, move 100% away from oil and gas, like coal and so that is the longer-term target, that aligns with Paris. What we’ve seen in 2020 is these major global institutions really starting to acknowledge the critical importance of Paris and the need to align with it.

Fran Kelly: It doesn’t necessarily mean that demand for oil and gas in the interim, in that period in the decades leading to 2050, is abating, does it? I mean APPEA:Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association points out that the recent international energy forecast is that more than half of all global energy consumption in 2040 will be oil and gas and it says, the International Energy Agency:IEA predicts demand for gas and for Australian LNG to grow very strongly by 30% or more by 2040. So, how do these two predictions marry up?

Tim Buckley: APPEA is the gas industry lobby group and you just quoted the single figure as though that is the IEA’s forecast. The IEA makes it absolutely, abundantly clear, they don’t make point estimates; they provide scenarios. So, what APPEA is quoting is based on an assumption that the Paris Agreement will fail. In the assumption that we’re going to live in a o3 degree Celsius world, on average then, gas demand will go up. What IEA, also, models is that, if, we align with Paris, if, we’re going to, actually, live in a liveable planet of 01½ to 02 degrees, gas consumption globally is going to decline in that same period. So, it really depends on whether or not you assume we can have a liveable planet. APPEA works on the assumption, we are going to have an unliveable planet. I’m working on the assumption that the financial markets are actually moving to align with Paris and that’s what we’ve seeing.

Exxon Mobil shares are down 50% this year and Origin Energy shares are down 68%, just this year alone. That says to me, the financial markets are pricing in risk, that they’ve never assessed before and they’re saying that oil and gas, like coal, has to see a sustained reduction in demand of serious magnitude. That’s why the biggest oil and gas company in the world’s share prices halved this year.

Fran Kelly: But is it seen as a sustained reduction in the demand for gas? Because as you would be well aware, our Prime Minister Scott Morrison is banking on a gas-fired recovery from the COVID recession. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of LNG and supporters of this area suggest that there is no decrease in demand for Australian LNG. I mean, can you measure that?

Tim Buckley: I don’t need to. The IEA has just announced that this year we’ve had the biggest decline in gas, oil and coal demand in world history.

Fran Kelly: Yes, but, that’s because of COVID, isn’t it? They’re saying that will rebound. COVID has meant decreased manufacturing, decreased transport, a decreased use generally of fossil fuels.

Tim Buckley: A gas lobbyist would claim that. I would say, there are massive structural changes compounding massive cyclical changes compounding COVID changes and that everything is changing in the oil and gas space in 2020. So, when the biggest oil and gas bankers in the world are committing to zero lending to those same firms within just 30 years, that’s pretty profound.

So APPEA can deny the facts, they can deny that gas demands declined at the biggest rate ever in world history this year. They can point to a forecast, that is predicated on the Paris Agreement failing and our Prime Minister can provide subsidies to a gas industry, that global finance is increasingly unwilling to finance. That’s why Scott Morrison’s had to announce a gas-lead recovery because the global capital markets are saying increasingly, they won’t.

Last week we saw Mitsui and Co plus JERA of Japan and KEPCO of South Korea, so, three of the biggest energy companies in Asia, all committing to exiting coal. They were previously the biggest investors in coal-fired power in Asia.

Fran Kelly: But coal’s not gas. It’s a separate scenario to gas, isn’t it?

Tim Buckley: And that is what we’re saying. What we’ve seen in coal over the last three years is now starting to hit the oil and gas companies. Momentum is building much faster than anyone thought possible.

::: Tim Buckley is the Australian South Asia Director of Energy Finance Studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:IEEFA  :::

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Pandemic Hits EBRD Regions Harder Than Advanced Economies of Europe: The Burden Is Disproportionately Born by Those With Lower Levels of Education and Income


|| Thursday: October 01: 2020 || ά. The regions, where the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:EBRD operates, have already seen more job losses and business closures in the first half-year of the corona virus pandemic than in the aftermath of the global financial crash of 2008-09, according to a Study, conducted by EBRD and the Munich-based independent research group, the Ifo Institute. The burden of the 2020 crisis, it adds, is, also, disproportionately borne by those with lower levels of education and income.

The results, based on a survey of almost 40,000 people carried out in August 2020, are published today within the EBRD’s Regional Economic Prospects Report. It compares the effects of the pandemic on eight economies from the EBRD regions: Belarus, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine, with its impact on six advanced European economies, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. The economic effects of the Covid-19 crisis have been significantly more acute in EBRD countries than in advanced economies of Europe, the Study shows.

The Report shows that 73% of respondents in the EBRD regions said that they were personally affected by the Covid-19 crisis, compared with only 41 per cent in advanced economies of Europe, where stimulus packages were typically larger. 15% of respondents in the EBRD regions report having lost their job, more than double the level in advanced economies. Family business closures were, also, much more common in the EBRD regions, affecting 15% of households compared with 02% in advanced economies of Europe, according to the Survey.

The burden of the Covid-19 crisis has been borne disproportionately by those with lower levels of education and of income, measured before the pandemic. The young and those working for smaller firms were, also, more likely to lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic. In the EBRD regions, those working in the public sector or state-owned enterprises before the crisis were less likely to lose their jobs than those working in the private sector.

These averages conceal significant differences within the EBRD regions: job losses ranged between 09% in Belarus and 23% in Egypt. Family business closures were less common in Hungary, Poland and Greece, affecting around 06% of households but, more widespread in Egypt, affecting a third of households, as well as, in Turkey.

The Survey, also, compares this year’s crisis with the economic impact of the global financial crash of 2008-09. The EBRD-Ifo Institute findings are compared with the findings of the special crisis module of the 2010 Life in Transition survey, a similar representative household survey conducted by the EBRD and the World Bank. It is important to note that the August 2020 survey only picks up the early impact of the current crisis, while the Life in Transition survey, conducted in late 2010, captured the overall impact of the global financial crisis over the subsequent two years.

Although, job losses and, in particular, business closures, appear to be more widespread than in the aftermath of the 2008-09 crash, policies, such as, government backed furlough schemes seem to have helped somewhat. Wage reductions and suspensions are, also, found to be less common now.

People in the region have so far relied more on supplementary work than in the aftermath of 2008. About a fifth of respondents in the EBRD regions said that they increased their hours in their existing job. A similar share is reporting starting a second job.

Reflecting a combination of government support and increased supplementary work, household consumption has so far fallen less in the first six months of this crisis than a decade ago. Around a fifth of households have reduced their consumption of staples and over 40% have reduced their consumption of luxury goods in the EBRD regions, more than double the shares in advanced economies but, below the levels seen a decade ago. :::ω:::

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EBRD and EU Join Forces to Boost Green Finance


|| Thursday: July 02: 2020 || ά. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:EBRD and the European Union:EU are stepping up their support for green investments and climate resilience in Egypt, Morocco and the countries of the Eastern Partnership, which are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. EU is providing a total of €61.3 million in grants to support three EBRD programmes, helping businesses invest in energy efficiency, cut their carbon footprint, introduce innovative green technologies, support the circular economy and improve legal frameworks for energy and resource efficiency investments.

Climate finance is a crucial instrument for green investments, to increase the use of renewable energy and to build a low-carbon future, especially, at a time when the corona virus pandemic and the drop in fossil fuel prices threaten climate action progress. EBRD and EU via Team Europe are committed to accelerating a green recovery in the countries where they work together. In Egypt, a €24.8 million grant from EU will support the EBRD’s Green Energy Financing Facility:GEFF, which focuses on supporting energy-efficient and renewable energy investments through local financial institutions for lending on to private companies.

Similarly, in Morocco, GEFF will benefit from a €21.1 million EU grant, that will allow local businesses to invest in green technologies. Beneficiaries will reduce their costs by implementing climate adaptation measures, energy-efficient and renewable-energy technologies, thus, also, improving their overall competitiveness.

In the Eastern Partnership region, €15.4 million from  EU4Climate initiative will be channelled through the EBRD’s Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change:FINTECC programme to corporate sector clients via investment grants, technical assistance and the offer of climate innovation vouchers, which are expected to accelerate the adoption of innovative climate technologies and sustainable business practices.

Mr Pierre Heilbronn, EBRD Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, said, “Our strong co-operation with the EU will bring concrete benefits for the environment in the countries where we jointly provide climate finance and support. On top of our investments, we will, also, focus on improving the regulatory framework for such green investments to develop a sustainable market for climate technology in the region.”

Mr Olivér Várhelyi, the European Union Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, said, “Our longstanding co-operation with the EBRD is extremely valuable, including, in the domain of green finance where the bank has important experience. In Egypt and Morocco, as well as, in the Eastern Partnership countries, our joint support will help to step up energy-efficient and renewable-energy investments in the private sector, thus, helping to build sustainable economies.”

EBRD is a pioneer in financing projects, that promote renewable energy and combat climate change. To date, it has signed €34 billion in green investments, financed more than 1,900 green projects and reduced over 102 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

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Metso and Outotec Become Metso Outotec Corporation: The Company Aspires to Be a Partner of Positive Change for Tomorrow’s Aggregates Minerals Metals and Recycling Industries to Drive Sustainable Transformation


|| Thursday: July 02: 2020 || ά. The recently merged Finnish company Metso and Outotec as Metso Outotec Corporation has started operating under the new identity, aspiring to be a partner for positive change for tomorrow’s aggregates, minerals, metals and recycling industries. As sustainable processing of the world’s natural resources is becoming a norm within the industries, Metso Outotec is seeking to drive the transformation. 

Metso Outotec, a unique new company with leadership in sustainable minerals and metals processing and recycling technologies began its operations from July 01. Headquartered in Finland and listed in Nasdaq Helsinki, Metso Outotec employs over 15,000 professionals in more than 50 countries andits illustrative combined sales for 2019 were about €04.2billion. The Company offers its customers crushing and screening equipment for the production of aggregates, as well as, equipment and solutions for minerals processing, metals refining, chemical processing and metal and waste recycling.

Metso Outotec’s industry-leading service capabilities and global network are complemented with a comprehensive range of spare and wear parts, refurbishments and professional services. Metso Outotec brings together a long history of technological leadership, customer focus and excellence in services, leveraging the strengths of both companies. The benefits to customers and other stakeholders are unmatched in the industry: full offering, that ranges from ore body to metal, extensive global services network and significant investment in R&D, allowing the company to create sustainable technologies to the customers’ benefit. The combination offers potential for significant cross-selling and cost synergies and an even stronger platform for innovation, digital leadership and growth.

The growing interest towards the environment and the impacts of climate change, urbanisation, decreasing ore grades and electrification are forcing traditional industries like aggregates, minerals processing and metals refining to redefine their license to operate. Metso Outotec can drive these industries towards a responsible use of the world’s natural resources.

”It is our core expertise to help ourcustomers transform the industry. We offer sustainable technologies and services that reduce the consumption of energy and water by increasing process efficiency, recycling and reprocessing of tailings and waste. Our extensive offering and expertise help our customers improve their business and lower their risks. We are their partner for positive change.” says <r Pekka Vauramo, the President and CEO of Metso Outotec. ”We have the best talent in the industry, and I am very excited to start the journey together today,” he concludes.’’

About Metso Outotec: Metso Outotec is a frontrunner in sustainable technologies, end-to-end solutions andservices for the aggregates, minerals processing,metals refining and recyclingindustries globally.By improving our customers’ energy and water efficiency, increasing theirproductivity, and reducing environmental risks with our product and processexpertise,we are the partner for positive change. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Metso Outotec employs over 15,000 people in more than 50 countries and its illustrative combined sales for 2019 were about €04.2billion. The company is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.

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 TIACA Launches Its 2nd Air Cargo Sustainability Awards


|| Thursday: July 02: 2020 || ά. The International Air Cargo Association:TIACA announced that the second edition of the Air Cargo Sustainability Award is now open for applications. The Competition aims to recognise outstanding businesses and industry initiatives, leading the way to a more sustainable air cargo sector. TIACA is calling for applications, demonstrating solutions and practices, making positive change in the areas of TIACA’s sustainability vision for air cargo: supporting social welfare, economic development and environmental protection through innovation and partnerships.

This year, two categories of leadership in sustainability will be awarded: Corporate Prize will recognise an established corporation, an international organisation or a scholar with a long-standing presence in the cargo community with a one-year free membership in the TIACA Sustainability Strategic Partnership Programme, worth $10,000. The Start-Up Prize will recognise and encourage young growing businesses, building their presence in air cargo industry: winner: $10,000 and two runners-up: $2,500 each. CHAMP Cargosystems, one of the leading industry IT solutions providers, has committed to continue sponsoring these awards.

“CHAMP is pleased to continue supporting TIACA for the 2nd edition of the Air Cargo Sustainability Awards. The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry is putting more than ever sustainability at the forefront of our priorities. After seeing several aftershocks in every corner of the world, we should thrive to collaborate and ensure fast and sustainable recovery. This event is a unique opportunity to influence the ´new normal´ and strengthen the value of air cargo which plays such an important role today.” said Mr Arnaud Lambert, CEO of CHAMP Cargosystems.

All shortlisted candidates will be recognised with access to exclusive TIACA events and speaking opportunities, publicity in TIACA’s communication and networking opportunities. “The COVID-19 crisis has put our industry under an enormous pressure but, it has, also, given us a unique opportunity to rethink and optimise the air cargo business model and innovate faster than ever before.” said TIACA’s Chair, Mr Steven Polmans. “I am confident that by embracing this opportunity we will make air cargo more sustainable and more resilient. And by launching this year’s award we want to recognise and encourage the change makers, who are taking our industry forward.”

A panel of independent industry and sustainability experts will choose the three shortlisted submissions in each category. The award finalists will be invited to present their solutions at the Air Cargo Forum 2020 in Miami, the largest air cargo networking event this year.

Application is opened from June 29 and remain open for submissions until September 15.

About the International Air Cargo Association:TIACA: TIACA launched in the early 1990s, is the only organisation, that represents all segments of the air cargo supply chain. A not-for-profit association, TIACA supports, informs and connects companies and organisations of all sizes with the aim of developing an efficient, modern and united air cargo industry worldwide. TIACA aims to inform both the public and its members about the role and importance of air cargo, and latest industry and technical trends. TIACA is governed by its trustee members, who, in turn, elect the Board of Directors to manage the Organisation and establish policies and programmes for the good of its members and the air cargo community.

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As Jobs Crisis Deepens ILO Warns of Uncertain and Incomplete Labour Market Recovery


|| Wednesday: July 01: 2020 || ά. The number of working hours, lost across the world in the first half of 2020 was significantly worse than previously estimated, while the highly uncertain recovery in the second half of the year will not be enough to go back to pre-pandemic levels, even, in the best scenario and risks seeing continuing large scale job losses, warns the International Labour Organisation:ILO. According to ‘The ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the World of Work: 5th Edition’, there was a 14% drop in global working hours during the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to the loss of 400 million full-time jobs, based on a 48-hour working week.

This is a sharp increase on the previous Monitor’s estimate, issued on May 27, of a 10.7%, 305 million jobs. The new figures reflect the worsening situation in many regions over the past weeks, especially, in developing economies. Regionally, working time losses for the second quarter were: Americas, 18.3%, Europe and Central Asia, 13.9%, Asia and the Pacific, 13.5%, Arab States, 13.2% and Africa, 12.1%. The vast majority of the world’s workers, 93% continue to live in countries with some sort of workplace closures, with the Americas experiencing the greatest restrictions.

The new Monitor presents three scenarios for recovery in the second half of 2020: baseline, pessimistic and optimistic. It stresses that the long-term outcome will depend on the future trajectory of the pandemic and government policy choices. The baseline model, which assumes a rebound in economic activity in line with existing forecasts, the lifting of workplace restrictions and a recovery in consumption and investment, projects a decrease in working hours of 04.9%, equivalent to 140 million full-time jobs, compared to Q4 2019.

The pessimistic scenario assumes a second pandemic wave and the return of restrictions, that would significantly slow recovery. The consequence would be a fall in working hours of 11.9%, 340 million full-time jobs.

The optimistic scenario assumes that workers’ activities resume quickly, significantly boosting aggregate demand and job creation. With this exceptionally fast recovery, the global loss of working hours would fall to 01.2%, 34 million full-time jobs.

The Monitor, also, finds that women workers have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, creating a risk that some of the modest progress on gender equality made in recent decades will be lost and that work-related gender inequalities will be exacerbated. The severe impact of COVID-19 on women workers relates to their over-representation in some of the economic sectors worst affected by the crisis, such as, accommodation, food, sales and manufacturing. Globally, almost, 510 million or 40% of all employed women work in the four most affected sectors, compared to 36.6% of men.

Women, also, dominate in the domestic work and health and social care work sectors, where they are at greater risk of losing their income and of infection and transmission and are less likely to have social protection. The pre-pandemic unequal distribution of unpaid care work has worsened during the crisis, exacerbated by the closure of schools and care services.

While countries have adopted policy measures with unprecedented speed and scope, the Monitor highlights some key challenges ahead: Finding the right balance and sequencing of health, economic and social and policy interventions to produce optimal sustainable labour market outcomes; Implementing and sustaining policy interventions at the necessary scale when resources are likely to be increasingly constrained; Protecting and promoting the conditions of vulnerable, disadvantaged and hard-hit groups to make labour markets fairer and more equitable; Securing international solidarity and support, especially, for emerging and developing countries and Strengthening social dialogue and respect for rights.

“The decisions we adopt now will echo in the years to come and beyond 2030. Although, countries are at different stages of the pandemic and a lot has been done, we need to redouble our efforts, if, we want to come out of this crisis in a better shape than when it started.” said Mr Guy Ryder.

“Next week the ILO is convening a high-level, virtual, Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work. I hope that governments, workers and employers will use this opportunity to present and listen to innovative ideas, discuss lessons learned and come up with concrete plans to work together to implement a recovery that is job-rich, inclusive, equitable and sustainable. We must all step up to the challenge of building a better future of work.” Mr Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, said.

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The Head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Calls for Action Now on Sustainable Development Goals


|| Wednesday: July 01: 2020 || ά. ‘’The international community has done too little, too late in its delivery of ambitious global development goals and needs to act now to put them back on track.’’ the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:EBRD said. Sir Suma Chakrabarti was speaking at a conference, dedicated to the financing of the Sustainable Development Goals:SDGs, ‘Can the World Avoid Failure’.

He said that, even, before the outbreak of the corona virus crisis, the world was collectively falling short on the fulfilment of the SDGs, which are due by 2030 and the situation would worsen once the crisis was over. ‘’The tools for delivering on the development agenda were available.’’ EBRD President said. “We need decisive leadership to use them. And we need to act now. The clock is ticking. The future won’t wait.” The President said that the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda, a pledge to turn the finance for development from billions into trillions had provided the roadmap for the achievement of the SDGs.

A key requisite for the delivery was a recognition that this universal development agenda needed universal ownership. “The world needs vibrant multi-lateral co-operation and shared vision. This is not an optional extra. Achievement of the SDGs is existential.” he said.

He, also, said that policies had to be put in place in order to create conditions for self-sustaining growth by unlocking finance from multiple sources, including, and especially, from the private sector. A third key element in delivery was that multi-lateral development banks:MDBs, including, EBRD, had to form a system, that was more than the sum of its parts.

The MDBs had to complement each other, using their individual skills where they were most needed. “The world can not afford for scarce skills to be artificially confined to one part of the world or another.” he said. The development banks, also, had to be brave and accountable risk takers and to do what was needed to release their own capacity, including, the removal of artificial constraints on the use of capital.

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COVID-19 and the World of Work: The ILO World Summit Must Unite the World to Protect and to Rebuild a Better and Fairer World of Work: July 07-09


|| Tuesday: July 01: 2020 || ά. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world of work, causing massive human suffering and laying bare the extreme vulnerability of millions of workers and enterprises. The ILO Global Summit will provide an opportunity for governments, employers, workers’ representatives and other high-level actors to discuss how the world of work can build back better in the post-pandemic recovery. Building a better future of work is a must and the world must rise to get its priorities set and get to work: to rebuild a better and fairer world of work for that world of work is the oxygen to working humanity’s livelihoods, families and communities.

Five regional events are taking place during July 01-02 following which the global events take place during July 07-09. The largest ever online gathering of workers, employers and governments will discuss how to address the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. The ILO Global Summit will unfold over five days and consist of five regional events and three global events. In its Concept note the ILO has put the perspective over what has been done to the world of work by this unprecedented pandemic. In  2019  the  International  Labour  Organisation:ILO marked  its  centenary  with  the  adoption  by  the International Labour Conference of the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work.

The Declaration recognises that the world of work is undergoing transformative change, driven by technological innovation, demographic shifts, climate change and globalisation.  And  it  sets  out  a road  map  of  action  for  the  Organisation  and  its  tripartite  constituents  to  shape  and  direct  these changes through a human-centred approach to the future of work in the context of the persistent poverty,  inequalities,  injustices,  conflict  and  disasters, that  continue  to  threaten  shared  prosperity and decent work for all. The Declaration stresses the need to strengthen the capacities for all people to  enable  them  to  benefit  from  change  at  work,  to  strengthen  the  institutions  of  work  to  ensure adequate  protection  for  all  workers and  to  promote  sustained,  inclusive  and  sustainable  growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

It equally stresses the critical role of international labour standards and of social dialogue in advancing these goals. The Centenary Declaration  was  widely  welcomed  nationally  and  internationally,  including,  in  a resolution, adopted  by  the  UN  General  Assembly,  which  recognised  its  particular  relevance  to  the work of the United Nations system and requested all UN entities to consider integrating its contents into the UN Sustainable Cooperation Framework. In November  2019  the  ILO  Governing  Body  approved  a  Programme  for  2020-21, designed, specifically, to give effect to the Declaration. COVID-19 Nine months after the adoption of the Centenary Declaration, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

In the first half of 2020, the virus has taken over 400,000 lives and plunged the world into the most serious human, economic and social crisis of modern times. In line with the report, released by the UN Secretary General in March on ‘responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19’ absolute priority  has  been accorded to the  continuing health response, the  unfinished task of  suppressing transmission  and  saving  lives.  But the  Secretary-General  linked  this  closely  to  action , aimed  at mitigating the impact of the pandemic on people’s livelihoods and material well-being and to the need  to  build  back  better  in  the  aftermath  of  the  immediate  health  emergency.  It  is  not  to  be that COVID-19 hit just as the international community was embarking on the Decade of Action to deliver on the 17 Sustainable Development goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The pandemic has devastated the world of work, causing massive human suffering and laying bare the extreme vulnerability of many millions of workers and enterprises. The latest ILO estimates are that the large scale workplace closures around the world in response to  COVID-19  have  led  to  a  reduction  in  hours  worked  of  10.7% worldwide  in  the  second quarter of  this  year. That translates into the loss of 305 million jobs, calculated on the basis of a 48hour working week. The Asia and Pacific region was initially the worst affected but, now it is the Americas,   followed   by   Europe   and   Central   Asia,   reflecting  the   westward  movement   of   the pandemic’s epicentre across the globe.

Its future trajectory remains uncertain. In medical terms, the virus does not discriminate. But in its world of work impact it has hit the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in the hardest and cruellest way, so exposing the devastating consequences of inequalities.  The informal economy is where over six out of ten working people make their living from day to day. Of these two billion workers, 01.6 billion face an imminent threat to  their  livelihoods  as  average  income  in  the  informal  economy  shrunk  by  60  per  cent  in  the  first month of the pandemic.

That has brought a dramatic increase in poverty and the warning from the World Food Programme in April that the next pandemic could be a pandemic of hunger. The pandemic  has  affected  women  and  men  in  the  world  of  work  differently. Women are  over-represented in the more affected sectors, such as, services or in occupations, that are at the front line of dealing with the pandemic, notably health and care personnel where they make up 70% of the total. Women, also, have less access to social protection and bear a disproportionate burden in  the  provision  of  care,  which  has  been  exacerbated  by  the  closure  of  schools  or  care  facilities.

Additionally, women in the informal economy are, often, found in the most vulnerable situations, for instance, as domestic workers, who have too  frequently  found  themselves  in  circumstances  of extreme difficulty. Young people, many already in a situation of considerable difficulty in labour markets before COVID-19 have seen their prospects deteriorate sharply. Training and  education have been disrupted massively  with  50% of  learners  reporting  delays  in  finishing  their  courses  and  10% that they doubt they will be able to complete them at all.

Of those young people, who were in work before the pandemic, one in six no longer are, while the others have seen their working hours fall by 23%. And those leaving  education  now  face  bleak  prospects  in  labour  markets  reeling under the impact of the virus. The evident danger is of a ‘lockdown generation’ in the making. Enterprises, particularly, micro, small, and medium sized ones with few reserves to tide them over, even, short periods of inactivity face great uncertainty, if, not worse. In the four sectors hardest hit by the   pandemic   alone, wholesale and retail trade and vehicle repair; manufacturing;  accommodation and food services; and real estate and business and administrative activities, no less than 436 million enterprises are at high risk of serious disruption.

Forecasts  for the  global  economy  must  contend  with  the  great  uncertainties  inherent  in  the evolution of the pandemic and policy options, which have yet to be determined. With regard to economic growth in 2020, the IMF revised itspre-COVID-19 forecast of +03.3% to -03% in April, with subsequent warnings that the situation was continuing to deteriorate. Recent forecasts  from  the  World  Bank  and  OECD  point  to  a  contraction  of  between  05% and 08%, in the biggest global recession since World War II. The WTO’s best and worst case scenarios are for a fall in world trade volumes of 13% and 32% respectively. Meanwhile,  as  Governments  have  launched  unprecedented  fiscal  and  monetary  packages  to counter  the  economic  and  social  impact  of  COVID-19,  to  a  total  of  some  $09  trillion,  in  line  with commitments ‘to do whatever it takes’ to protect their people, public debt levels are rising strongly.

The IMF estimated in April that average public debt to GDP ratios would rise from 69.4% to 85.3% in the course of the year, with many countries at considerably higher levels. The bottom line of the human crisis is that, according to the World Bank, between 71 and 100 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty, reversing years of past development progress. The  integrated  policy  response  set  out in  the  report  of  the  Secretary-General  is  based  on  the mutually   reinforcing  complementarity   of   its   health,  humanitarian  and   social  and  economic dimensions, and the understanding that these must lead to a process of building back better in the recovery period.

The economic and social costs of the necessary efforts to halt the pandemic are undeniable. They have given rise to sometimes challenging debate about the interaction of health and world of work policy goals. But failure to act decisively against the pandemic now would inexorably lead to socio-economic costs of even greater magnitude later. This being so, the ILO has advocated, and many of its member States have implemented COVID-19 responses based on the four pillars set out below.

Pillar One: Stimulating the economy and employment: Active fiscal policy: Accommodative monetary policy: Lending and financial support to specific sectors, including, the health sector

Pillar Two: Supporting enterprises, jobs and incomes: Extend social protection to all: Implement employment retention measures: Provide financial:tax and other relief for enterprises

Pillar Three: Protecting workers in the workplace: Strengthen occupational safety and health measures: Adapt work arrangements, e.g, teleworking: Prevent discrimination and exclusion: Provide health access for all: Expand access to paid leave

Pillar Four: Relying on social dialogue for solutions: Strengthen the capacity and resilience of employers’ and workers’ organisations: Strengthen the capacity of governments: Strengthen social dialogue, collective bargaining and labour relations institutions and processes

The ILO has gathered and shared information on national policy responses and the evidence is that, where implemented, action in these areas has proven effective. But there are some obvious constraints. Most obviously,  even , if , they  are  properly  considered  as  investments  rather  than  costs,  fiscal  and monetary  stimulus  and  efforts  to  assist  enterprises  and  to  support  job  retention  and  incomes require  a  heavy  investment  in  resources.  Such  measures  can not  and  are  not  intended  to  be extended indefinitely; but they, may, also, be beyond the capacity of some countries to implement at all or for the period required, with their premature withdrawal liable to bring a second wave of great hardship.

In  addition,  the  growing  diversity  of  work  forms, which  have  grown  up  in  recent  years  have themselves been an obstacle to the prompt provision of support to all those in need of it. The self-employed, contract workers, temporary workers, platform workers and  others  with  uncertain employment  status  or  entitlements  have, often , experienced  difficulty  in  accessing  assistance.  To these must be added the many millions of informal workers suffering extremes of precarity. The  protection  of workers’ health has involved three possible options:  withdrawing them from workplaces  and  enabling  them  to  work  from  home;  requiring  them  to  continue  in  their  usual workplaces  but  with  appropriate  protective  equipment  and  protocols  including  social  distancing;  and simply interrupting their work for the duration of the emergency. Here too, constraints are evident.

The ILO has estimated that only about 18% of workers are doing jobs and are  in  locations  which  lend  themselves  to  teleworking.  This is far from being an option open for all. Regrettably, and sometimes, tragically, those, who  have  continued  to  work  as before, health  and  care  personnel,  transport  workers,  cleaners,  today  designated  as  essential personnel, have not always had the benefit of the right protective equipment and procedures.

And where migrants not only work but, also, live in unprotected conditions, the consequences for public, as well as, their own, health can be dramatic. The case of the world’s 01.6 million seafarers has revealed particular  shortcomings,  with  some  200,000  stranded  on  board  vessels  for  extended periods, unable to effect crew changes and to be repatriated. By contrast, there are no objective obstacles to  the  use  of  social  dialogue  to  find  solutions  to  the complex world of work problems thrown up byCOVID-19. Where it has been absent, it is generally the consequence of political choice, or a longer-term failure to put in place an enabling institutional framework or, to  be  supportive or, even , tolerant,  of  strong representative  and  independent organisations of employers and workers. Not unusually, there are encouraging examples of greater recourse being had to social dialogue in this period of crisis as there were in previous ones.

The benefits this has brought are demonstrable and provide good reason for a more permanent commitment to bipartite and tripartite action. Measures of  confinement decided  by  Governments  to  contain  the  COVID-19  virus  have  entailed sometimes severe restrictions on personal freedoms. Generally, they have been accepted by people who recognize them as appropriate, proportional, and limited in time and, therefore, legitimate in the fight against the pandemic.  But there is no legitimate reason why such restrictions should extend to labour conditions in any way that would infringe on the full respect of labour standards which themselves constitute important tools to address the crisis successfully. A final constraint has been evident in the level of international solidarity and cooperation brought to the task of responding to the COVID crisis.  Unprecedented volumes of resources have been mobilised. But, overwhelmingly, they have been used for purely national action. Important initiatives have been taken to alleviate debt burdens but  they  appear  insufficient  to  assure  debt  and development  sustainability.  We are yet to see  the  global  response  commensurate  to  the  global challenge the world faces.

What happens next? The health, humanitarian  and  socio-economic  challenges  of  the  COVID-19  crisis  still confront countries  across  the  world  and  the  international  community  as  a  whole.  While the pandemic continues, existing policy responses will need to be applied effectively as the necessary prelude to gradual and safe returns to work. But that does not imply a return to working as before, at least, for that period when we must continue to live and work with the virus and so long as there are no universally available vaccine or therapeutics. Much debate is taking place about what the world of work will look like as we exit the pandemic, with the idea of a “new normal” at work gaining considerable currency. Too often, little effort is made to distinguish between new practices which will be required in the period that the virus poses the threat that it does today and the longer-term perspectives for the future that can be addressed free from those constraints. 

The danger in this is that we lose sight of the idea that, whatever the limitations faced today, the future of work can and must be what we want it to be. Rather, recovery plans need, from the outset to lay the foundations for the ‘better normal’, that is sought. This is precisely why the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, with its human-centred-agenda is so important, as we address the task of building back better. It  has  to  be  recognised  that  the  point  of  departure  will  not  be  encouraging.  Whatever its future trajectory, the pandemic will leave the world of work with higher unemployment; higher inequality;  higher poverty;  higher levels of debt, and in all probability higher levels of popular frustration and even anger. But, equally, the pandemic has highlighted, with startling brutality, the absolute need to act without delay on the principles and objectives of the Centenary Declaration, and the human price of failing to do so. This being so, the process of building back better will need to respond to some pressing questions and challenges.

i: How  will  it  promote  sustained,  inclusive  and  sustainable  growth,  full  and  productive employment and decent work for all?  How can COVID-19 responses be designed to lift the global economy quickly out of recession and put it on a course to navigate the challenges of just digital, demographic and environmental transition? ii: What  needs  to  be  done  to  address the  massive  vulnerabilities  in  the  world  of  work  made evident by the pandemic? How do we scale up the task of formalising the informal economy and to move decisively towards universal social protection coverage? Iii: Do we want to accelerate the use of technologies to enable new ways of working in the light of the experience of pandemic? If, so, how should such work be regulated?

iv: What are the sectors of economic activity and categories of worker who require  particular support  and  attention?  Can  the  recovery  process  embody  a  transformative  agenda  for gender equality and a platform for the advancement of young people in the world of work? v: How can the reduction and elimination of poverty and imperatives of rights and social justice be placed as central objectives of the recovery process? vi: At  a  time  when  multilateral  cooperation  is  more  than  ever  indispensable,  but  facing unprecedented  challenges, how can the  international community come  together with real common purpose and rededicate itself to the delivery of the UN2030 Agenda?

The ILO in the year ahead The ILO Virtual Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work takes place in a year in which the International  Labour  Conference  and  the  Governing  Body  have  been  unable  to  meet.  But  it  is  a crucial year for the Organization and the world of work. This is the context in which the Summit can provide critically important guidance. The need is to identify how, on the basis of its Centenary Declaration, and the collective efforts and commitment of its global tripartite constituency, the ILO can best contribute to moving the world of work forward from the COVID-19 crisis to the better future it committed to build last year. In  the  period  leading  up  to  the  2021  International  Labour  Conference,  the  Organisation  must negotiate  and  adopt  its  Programme  and  Budget  for  2022-23.  Moreover, the Conference itself provides the unique occasion to concretise the Organisation’s role in processes of recovery, which will have lasting importance for those undergoing the impact of the pandemic, and those who come after.

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Recommendations of the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency


|| Monday: June 29: 2020 || ά. Convened by the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency:IEA in response to the global slowdown of energy efficiency progress, the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency was established in June 2019 at the IEA’s Fourth Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Dublin, Ireland. The Commission has 23 members and is composed of national leaders, current and former ministers, top business executives and global thought leaders.

With analytical support from the IEA, Global Commission members have examined how progress on energy efficiency can be rapidly accelerated through new and stronger policy action by governments across the globe. It has developed this series of actionable recommendations to support governments in achieving more ambitious action on energy efficiency. The Global Commission's work comes at a critical moment in clean energy transitions around the world. Despite energy efficiency's tremendous potential, the world is struggling to capture its full benefits.

Global energy efficiency is not improving quickly enough to offset strong energy demand and CO2 emissions growth. In light of these worrying trends, there is a growing recognition by governments and leaders across the globe that efficiency efforts need to be stepped up.

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the energy landscape and the priorities of governments around the world. The Global Commission's work has been sharply focused on this new reality. Energy efficiency represents a key tool that governments can use to respond to the severe economic, environmental and social development consequences of the crisis.

Recommendations of the Global Commission

::: 01: Prioritise cross-cutting energy efficiency action for its economic, social and environmental benefits

A stronger, all-of-government policy focus will enhance social and economic development, energy security and resilience, decarbonisation and rapid job creation and economic stimulus

::: 02: Act to unlock efficiency's job creation potential

Energy efficiency can quickly deliver job growth and can become a long-term, sustainable employment sector

::: 03: Create greater demand for energy efficiency solutions

Efficiency action will be most rapidly scaled up through a focus on increasing demand for efficient products and services and enabling greater levels of market activity

::: 04: Focus on finance in the wider context of scaling up action

Mobilising finance is an essential element of efficiency action and policies to do so will be most effective, if, they are part of a wide, coherent approach to driving market scale

::: 05: Leverage digital innovation to enhance system-wide efficiency

Policymakers can take advantage of digital innovation's potential to enable smart control, better energy management and wider energy system optimisation

::: 06: The public sector should lead by example

Governments should lead through investment in public sector efficiency and driving innovation and higher standards throughout its reach

::: 07: Engage all parts of society

Implementation of efficiency action can happen at all levels of society, with cities, businesses and local communities all playing a particularly important role in its success

::: 08: Leverage behavioural insights for more effective policy

People are at the centre of energy efficiency action and insights from behavioural science can help design smarter policies

::: 09: Strengthen international collaboration

International collaboration and exchange of best practice allow countries to learn from each other and to harmonise approaches and standards where appropriate

::: 10: Raise global energy efficiency ambition

Governments should be significantly more ambitious in both the short and long-term when setting their efficiency targets, policies and actions

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Is Green Hydrogen the Sustainable Fuel of the Future


|| Thursday: June 25: 2020 || ά. Imagine a clean alternative to fossil fuels, one, that leaves no greenhouse gas residues and, even, unlike solar and wind renewables, can be used at any moment of the day or night, whatever the weather conditions. Imagine that using it, instead of fossil fuels, sharply reins in the harmful emissions raising global temperatures, helping the world to solve the climate crisis.

This is not a fairy story. This gas exists. It’s called green hydrogen and is made by using clean electricity from renewable energy technologies to electrolyse water:H2O, separating the hydrogen atom within it from its molecular twin oxygen. The catch has always been this that the cost of making green hydrogen prices it out of competition with fossil fuels, because, even, if, it is carbon-free, it is energy-intensive. But that is changing, because, for the past two years, improvements in renewable energy technology have seen renewable electricity costs plummet.

Now, as the world plans economic recovery efforts after the corona virus pandemic and trillions of dollars and euro are readied to invest in build-back-better approaches, an increasing number of scientists and policymakers are saying that green hydrogen’s time has come to be brought fully into the energy mix of the future. They’re advocating investing in stimulating production, both to tackle the economic fallout of this year’s pandemic and to build a future without fear of climate cataclysm.

“Important emerging elements of clean energy progress, hydrogen electrolysers and lithium-ion batteries, are on the verge of becoming the decade’s breakout technologies. These technologies should play a key role in bolstering Europe’s transport and industry as the continent emerges from the crisis and looks to develop new advanced manufacturing for export.” the International Energy Agency’s Executive Director Mr Fatih Birol and Mr Frans Timmermans, the Executive Vice-president of the European Commission, wrote in May.

“If, the EU seizes this opportunity, it will give itself a cutting edge on global markets.” They wrote. Their editorial, as well as, reported comments by Mr Birol that green hydrogen technology was ‘ready for the big time’ and that governments should channel investments into the field, came as the European Union prepared to publish its own hydrogen strategy while implementing the European Green Deal plan to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050.

The pace of discussion on green hydrogen has picked up, especially, since the outbreak of corona virus. Governments, including, those of Germany, Britain, Australia and Japan are working on or have announced hydrogen strategies. Australia has set aside A$300 million or $191 million, to jumpstart hydrogen projects. Portugal plans a new solar-powered hydrogen plant, which will produce hydrogen by electrolysis by 2023. The Netherlands unveiled a hydrogen strategy in late March, outlining plans for 500 megawatts:MW of green electrolyser capacity by 2025.

“We could use these circumstances, where loads of public money are going to be needed into the energy system, to jump forward towards a hydrogen economy.” said Mr Diederik Samsom, who heads the European Commission’s climate cabinet. This could result in hydrogen use scaling up faster than was expected before the pandemic, he was quoted by Reuters as saying. Most of the hydrogen produced today is not green.

‘’The gas is colour-coded according to the way it is produced.’’ says EBRD’s Mr Christian Carraretto. “The hydrogen, that the world uses today is made from either coal or natural gas. This hydrogen is carbon-intensive, it’s not a green fuel. It’s called grey hydrogen, if, it comes from gas, while the hydrogen, produced from coal is called black. Then there is blue hydrogen, an upgrade of the grey, where the CO2 emitted is captured upstream, so the system doesn’t emit CO2 in the atmosphere.”

The European Commission has earmarked clean hydrogen, a loose term, which can include gas-based hydrogen, if, fitted with technology to capture the resulting emissions, as well as, green hydrogen, as a priority area for industry in its Green Deal. If, clean hydrogen does start to play a bigger part in the world’s energy mix, incorporating it will be technically relatively easy. Mr Carraretto said, as the infrastructure already built to carry natural gas can, also, carry hydrogen.

He said that a recent study had shown 70% of Italy’s gas network would be hydrogen-ready, if, there were enough hydrogen being produced to be carried down its pipes. It could be used in both homes and industry without radical change. “Clean hydrogen is what the EU think is the solution to deliver on decarbonised fuels. And the reason why it’s important is that not all economic activities can move to renewables only. There are some sectors, that are typically hard to decarbonise, sectors like steel or chemical industries or, to some extent, aviation, which will still use fuels in their systems.

“So, either they are stuck with the cleanest of the fossil fuels or they switch to decarbonised fuels like hydrogen or bio-gas. Bio-gas is a mainstream technology and it hasn’t really picked up a lot because there is an issue with availability of organic wastes. So, hydrogen is what we see as the most promising option at this moment.”

There remains the question of prices. Today, hydrogen made from fossil fuels costs between $01 and $01.8:kg. Green hydrogen can cost around $03-$06:kg, making it significantly more expensive than the fossil fuel alternatives. However, increased demand could reduce the cost of electrolysis. Coupled with falling renewable energy costs, green hydrogen could fall to $01.5:kg by 2050 and, possibly, sub-$01:kg, making it competitive with natural gas. Higher carbon prices would, also, encourage the shift.

Mr Carraretto said, “Here we are probably in the same situation as we were a decade or two ago with renewable energy, where this solution is still more expensive than the alternatives. But, even, today it’s only two or three times more expensive, it’s not 100 times more expensive, so, if, things keep going and, if, there is policy push going forward, our expectation that it will become really cost-competitive soon.

And that’s why we see a lot of big players looking at it, pilot projects happening everywhere. What is, also, exciting is that with the recent dramatic fall in renewable energy prices, particularly, in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries where we work and potentially with off-shore wind being developed in countries from Turkey to Poland and Greece, too, these countries could become sources of production of green hydrogen, with projects we could consider investing in, within a few years.” Mr Carraretto said. “This is really on the edge of becoming a game-changer”.

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The World Must Keep Focus and Concentrate Efforts to Develop the Green Momentum Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020


|| Thursday: June 25: 2020 || ά. The Global Electric Vehicles Outlook is an annual publication, that identifies and discusses recent developments in electric mobility across the globe. It is developed with the support of the members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative:EVI. Combining historical analysis with projections to 2030, the Report examines key areas of interest, such as, electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment, ownership cost, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions and battery material demand.

This Edition features case studies on transit bus electrification in Kolkata, India, Shenzhen, China, Santiago, Chile and Helsinki, Finland. The Report includes policy recommendations, that incorporate learning from frontrunner markets to inform policy makers and stakeholders, that consider policy frameworks and market systems for electric vehicle adoption. The Report features an update on the performance and costs of batteries. It further extends the life cycle analysis conducted in Global EV Outlook 2019, assessing the technologies and policies that will be needed to ensure that EV battery end-of-life treatment contributes to the fullest extent to sustainability and CO2 emissions reductions objectives.

Finally, it analyses how off-peak electricity demand charging, dynamic controlled charging:V1G and vehicle-to-grid:V2G could mitigate the impact of EVs on peak demand, facilitate the integration of variable renewables and reduce electricity generation capacity needs. The global electric vehicle fleet expanded significantly over the last decade, underpinned by supportive policies and technology advances. Sales of electric cars topped 02.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018, already a record year, to boost the stock to 07.2 million electric cars.

Electric cars, which accounted for 02.6% of global car sales and about 01% of global car stock in 2019, registered a 40% year-on-year increase. As technological progress in the electrification of two three-wheelers, buses and trucks advances and the market for them grows, electric vehicles are expanding significantly. Ambitious policy announcements have been critical in stimulating the electric-vehicle rollout in major vehicle markets in recent years.

In 2019, indications of a continuing shift from direct subsidies to policy approaches, that rely more on regulatory and other structural measures, including, zero-emission vehicles mandates and fuel economy standards, have set clear, long-term signals to the auto industry and consumers, that support the transition in an economically sustainable manner for governments.

After entering commercial markets in the first half of the decade, electric car sales have soared. Only about 17,000 electric cars were on the world’s roads in 2010. By 2019, that number had swelled to 07.2 million, 47% of which were in The People’s Republic of China. Nine countries had more than 100,000 electric cars on the road. At least, 20 countries reached market shares above 01%. The 02.1 million electric car sales in 2019 represent a 06% growth from the previous year, down from year-on-year sales growth, at least, above 30% since 2016. Three underlying reasons explain this trend:

Car markets contracted. Total passenger car sales volumes were depressed in 2019 in many key countries. In the 2010s, fast-growing markets, such as, China and India for all types of vehicles had lower sales in 2019 than in 2018. Against this backdrop of sluggish sales in 2019, the 02.6% market share of electric cars in worldwide car sales constitutes a record. In particular, China, at 04.9% and Europe, at 03.5%, achieved new records in electric vehicle market share in 2019.

Purchase subsidies were reduced in key markets. China cut electric car purchase subsidies by about half in 2019 as part of a gradual phase out of direct incentives set out in 2016. The US federal tax credit programme ran out for key electric vehicle automakers, such as, General Motors and Tesla, the tax credit is applicable up to a 200,000 sales cap per automaker. These actions contributed to a significant drop in electric car sales in China in the second half of 2019 and a 10% drop in the United States over the year. With 90% of global electric car sales concentrated in China, Europe and the United States, this affected global sales and overshadowed the notable 50% sales increase in Europe in 2019, thus, slowing the growth trend.

Today’s consumer profile in the electric car market is evolving from early adopters and technophile purchasers to mass adoption. Significant improvements in technology and a wider variety of electric car models on offer have stimulated consumer purchase decisions. The 2018-19 versions of some common electric car models display a battery energy density, that is 20-100% higher than were their counterparts in 2012. Further, battery costs have decreased by more than 85% since 2010.

The delivery of new mass-market models, such as, the Tesla Model three caused a spike in sales in 2018 in key markets, such as, the United States. Automakers have announced a diversified menu of electric cars, many of which are expected in 2020 or 2021. For the next five years, automakers have announced plans to release another 200 new electric car models, many of which are in the popular sport utility vehicle market segment. As improvements in technical performance and cost reductions continue, consumers are placed in the position of being attracted to a product but wondering, if, it would be wise to wait for the latest and greatest model.

The Covid-19 pandemic will affect global electric vehicle markets, although, to a lesser extent than it will the overall passenger car market. Based on car sales data during January to April 2020, our current estimate is that the passenger car market will contract by 15% over the year relative to 2019, while electric sales for passenger and commercial light-duty vehicles will remain broadly at 2019 levels.

Second waves of the pandemic and slower-than-expected economic recovery could lead to different outcomes, as well as, to strategies for automakers to cope with regulatory standards. Overall, we estimate that electric car sales will account for about 03% of global car sales in 2020. This outlook is underpinned by supporting policies, particularly, in China and Europe. Both markets have national and local subsidy schemes in place, China recently extended its subsidy scheme until 2022. China and Europe, also, recently strengthened and extended their New Energy Vehicle mandate and CO2 emissions standards, respectively. Finally, there are signals that recovery measures to tackle the Covid-19 crisis will continue to focus on vehicle efficiency in general and electrification in particular.

The infrastructure for electric-vehicle charging continues to expand. In 2019, there were about 07.3 million chargers worldwide, of which about 06.5 million were private, light-duty vehicle slow chargers in homes, multi-dwelling buildings and workplaces. Convenience, cost-effectiveness and a variety of support policies, such as, preferential rates, equipment purchase incentives and rebates, are the main drivers for the prevalence of private charging. Most charging is done at home and work, yet, deploying publicly accessible charging points is outpacing electric vehicle sales

Publicly accessible chargers accounted for 12% of global light-duty vehicle chargers in 2019, most of which are slow chargers. Globally, the number of publicly accessible chargers, slow and fast, increased by 60% in 2019 compared with the previous year, higher than the electric light-duty vehicle stock growth. China continues to lead in the rollout of publicly accessible chargers, particularly, fast chargers, which are suited to its dense urban areas with less opportunity for private charging at home.

Transport modes other than cars are, also, electrifying. Electric micro-mobility options have expanded rapidly since their emergence in 2017, with shared electric scooters, e-scooters, electric-assist bicycles, e-bikes and electric mopeds now available in over 600 cities across more than 50 countries worldwide. An estimated stock of 350 million electric two three-wheelers, the majority of which are in China, make up 25% of all two three-wheelers in circulation worldwide, driven by bans in many Chinese cities on two-wheelers with internal combustion engines. About 380,000 light commercial electric vehicles are in circulation, often, as part of a company or public authority vehicle fleet. 

With Covid-19, urban public transit, including, buses, will face challenges of providing high-capacity and affordable services while ensuring health security. There is a risk that commuters may opt temporarily or definitively for personal vehicle options. However, in dense cities of the developing and developed world alike, urban buses provide a key means of transport that is not easily substitutable by cars without exacerbating already severe congestion. Hence, the future of public transit in general and electric buses in particular will be balanced between the impacts of the pandemic, the overall capacity of the urban transport system, and continued government support.

Opportunities for electrification can be seized over the coming decade, even, in modes where emissions are hard to abate, such as, heavy-duty trucks, aviation and shipping. Global sales of electric trucks hit a record in 2019 with over 6,000 units, while the number of models continue to expand. High-power chargers are being developed and standardised globally. Research on dynamic charging concepts, as well as, demonstrations of catenary line solutions, may enable expansion of the range of operations for heavy-duty and long-distance operations for regional buses and long-haul trucking. Electrification of shipping operations at ports is increasingly common and is gradually being mandated by legislation in Europe, China and, in the United States, California. In aviation, electric taxiing, i.e, the electrification of ground operations in aircraft, offers immediate potential for pollutant and CO2 emissions reductions and operational cost savings for airlines.

Electric vehicles are a key technology to reduce air pollution in densely populated areas and a promising option to contribute to energy diversification and greenhouse gas emissions reduction objectives. Electric vehicle benefits include zero tailpipe emissions, better efficiency than internal combustion engine vehicles and large potential for greenhouse gas emissions reductions when coupled with a low-carbon electricity sector. These objectives are major drivers behind countries’ policy support in the development and deployment of electric powertrains for transport. To date, 17 countries have announced 100% zero-emission vehicle targets or the phase-out of internal combustion engine vehicles through 2050. France, in December 2019, was the first country to put this intention into law, with a 2040 timeframe.

Policy actions for electric vehicles depend on the status of the electric vehicle market or technology. Setting vehicle and charger standards are prerequisites for wide electric vehicle adoption. In the early stages of deployment, public procurement schemes, e.g, for buses and municipal vehicles, have the double benefit of demonstrating the technology to the public and providing the opportunity for public authorities to lead by example. Importantly, they, also, allow the industry to produce and deliver bulk orders to foster economies of scale. Emerging economies can scale up their policy efforts for both new vehicles and second-hand imports.

Tax rates that reflect tailpipe CO2 emissions can be conducive to increased electric vehicle uptake. Fiscal incentives at the vehicle purchase, as well as complementary measures, e.g, road toll rebates and low-emission zones, are pivotal to attract consumers and businesses to choose the electric option. Local governments are key in proposing and implementing measures to enhance the value proposition of electric vehicles. The use of local low and zero-emission zones can steer car purchase decisions far beyond just those zones and may influence the relative resale value of internal combustion engines and electric powertrains.

The vast majority of car markets offer some form of subsidy or tax reduction for the purchase of an individual or company electric car, as well as, support schemes for deploying charging infrastructure. Provisions in building codes to encourage charging facilities and the EV-readiness of buildings are becoming more common. So too are mandates to build charging infrastructure along road corridors and fuel stations.

There is common understanding that government support for electric vehicle purchases can only be transitional, as sale volumes increase. In the near term, a point will be reached when technology learning and economies of scale will have driven down the purchase cost of electric vehicles and mass-market adoption is triggered. For the first time a decrease in government spending for electric car purchase incentives was observed in 2019, while both consumer spending and total expenditure on electric cars continued to increase. At the national level, both China and the United States witnessed substantial purchase subsidies reductions or partial phase out in 2019, but there are cases where these reductions were met by increases in local government support. In China the central government was planning in 2019 to culminate a phase-out that dates to 2016, though, in the face of bleak electric car sales in the second half of 2019, the subsidy scheme was extended through 2022. Yet some other countries extended or implemented new purchase incentives schemes in 2019 or early 2020, for example, Germany and Italy.

Shifts to a variety of regulatory and fiscal measures are likely to gradually become a main driver of electric vehicle deployment, setting clear goals and a long-term vision for the industry. Many of the regulatory policies impel vehicle makers to sell a greater number or share of electric or otherwise more efficient vehicles. For example, today 60% of global car sales are covered by China’s New Energy Vehicle mandate, the European Union CO2 emissions standard, which is applicable to all EU member states, or a zero-emission vehicle mandate, in selected US states and Canadian provinces.

The European Union approved a new fuel economy standard for cars and vans for 2021 30 and a CO2 emissions standard for heavy-duty vehicles (2020 30), with specific requirements or bonuses for electric vehicles. In the European Union, 2020 is the target year for compliance with the CO2 emissions standards for light- duty vehicles of 95 grammes of CO2 per kilometre, which has contributed to the successful uptake of electric light-duty vehicles in Europe in recent years. In 2019, China announced a tightening of its New Energy Vehicle mandate scheme with both setting new credit targets for 2021-23 and a more stringent calculation method for the credits beyond 2021.

These actions are in step with its planned gradual transition from direct to more indirect forms of subsidies and incentives (including increasing support for charging infrastructure and other support services). In the United States, regulatory developments were different from other markets; the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient:SAFE vehicles final rule, put in place in March 2020, replaced the 2012 rule, lowering the annual improvement in fuel economy standards from 04.7% in the 2012 rulemaking to 01.5% in SAFE for model years 2021 through 2026.

Other countries with increasing policy activity to support electric vehicles are Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, India and New Zealand. For example, Chile seeks to establish energy efficiency standards for new vehicles sold by car manufacturers or importers, including multipliers for electric and hybrid vehicles in the calculation of the sales average car efficiency.

In addition to new regulations, in order to transition from internal combustion engines to electrified vehicles in the transport sector governments need a long-term vision and a diversified and adaptive portfolio of policy measures, including new fiscal schemes. For instance, governments will need to anticipate and adapt taxation approaches early to replace lost fuel tax revenues, such as, taxation based on vehicle activity, e.g, distance or congestion-based pricing.

Many uncertainties characterise the Covid-19 crisis, from the capacity of governments and companies to double-down on transport electrification efforts to what behavioural changes could potentially be expected from the current crisis, including from low oil prices and confinement measures. As cities gradually emerge from lockdowns, some of them are placing temporary restrictions on the frequency and occupancy of public transport, raising the risk of a spike in car traffic. Many cities, particularly in Europe, are therefore rapidly putting together policies to rethink the use of urban space and to promote walking and cycling. As part of economic recovery efforts, a focus on promoting clean transport is being called for at national and local levels.

Auto manufacturing, a critical sector of economic activity in many of the world’s largest economies, employs millions of people across the entire supply chain. It has been severely affected during the Covid-19 crisis; practically all major car manufacturers halted production lines for some period. Governments need to carefully consider appropriate policy responses. It is reasonable to expect that stimulus packages will seek to bolster the economy in countries with important vehicle manufacturing capacity by including measures to support the automotive industry, not least given their relevance for the labour market. While such measures will inevitably help boost electric vehicle sales as well, targeted measures to support electric vehicle sales in particular will be required to ensure that the electrification of road transport remains on track towards the postulated goals.

In China, policy makers were quick to identify the auto market as a primary target for economic stimulus. Among other measures, the central government encouraged cities to relax car permit quotas, at least temporarily, complemented by strengthening targeted New Energy Vehicle measures. In the European Union, at the time of writing, existing policies and regulations were being maintained and countries like France and Germany announced increased support measures towards electric vehicles for the remainder of 2020.

Experience of automotive industry stimulus measures has been mixed. Cash-for- clunkers programmes can be an effective approach if they are designed to support the uptake of more efficient, e.g, hybride and electric cars. In past stimulus packages, however, such considerations were not always adequately addressed and sales of sport utility vehicles and diesel cars were boosted, which pushed up global oil demand and air pollution.

Support for the auto industry can, also, be tied to ambitious fuel economy regulations, which in the past triggered innovation and helped jump- start key parts of today’s electric car industry. Other targeted and direct support measures, such as for charging infrastructure, or via favourable loans with low interest rates and or public co-funding, towards corporate fleets for bulk procurement of electric cars, buses and trucks, could support continued growth in electric vehicle sales. In countries where fossil fuel subsidies prevail, the low oil price environment is an important opportunity to phase out price supports, which are detrimental for pursuing energy efficiency efforts in general and for creating a context that supports road vehicle electrification in particular.

As a result, simple solutions can be implemented via relatively straightforward forms of policy support to largely alleviate peak time charging, such as, the promotion of workplace charging or the use of off-peak tariffs. However, unlocking the full flexibility potential of electric vehicles through dynamic controlled charging:V1G and vehicle-to-grid services:V2G to reap synergies with variable renewable generation and reduce electricity generation capacity needs would require the adaptation of regulatory and market frameworks.

Currently, flexible electric vehicle integration is not on track for power systems to accommodate the distributed loads that electric vehicle batteries represent in a co-ordinated way and on a large scale. Specific stakeholders such as aggregators, along with business models that make use of new regulatory frameworks to reward electric vehicle owners for providing flexibility services are also needed for electric vehicle batteries to contribute to the power system stability on a significant scale.

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Re-opening From the Great Lockdown: Uneven and Uncertain Recovery
Humanicsxian Economics: Say: I Carry the Infinities of Making All Beings Happy



|| Wednesday: June 24: 2020: Gita Gopinath Writing || ά. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed economies into a Great Lockdown, which helped contain the virus and save lives, but also triggered the worst recession since the Great Depression. Over 75% of countries are now reopening at the same time as the pandemic is intensifying in many emerging market and developing economies. Several countries have started to recover. However, in the absence of a medical solution, the strength of the recovery is highly uncertain and the impact on sectors and countries uneven.

We are now projecting a deeper recession in 2020 and a slower recovery in 2021. Compared to our April World Economic Outlook forecast, we are now projecting a deeper recession in 2020 and a slower recovery in 2021. Global output is projected to decline by 4.9 percent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below our April forecast, followed by a partial recovery, with growth at 5.4 percent in 2021. These projections imply a cumulative loss to the global economy over two years: 2020–21 of over $12 trillion from this crisis.

The downgrade from April reflects worse than anticipated outcomes in the first half of this year, an expectation of more persistent social distancing into the second half of this year, and damage to supply potential.

A high degree of uncertainty surrounds this forecast, with both upside and downside risks to the outlook. On the upside, better news on vaccines and treatments, and additional policy support can lead to a quicker resumption of economic activity. On the downside, further waves of infections can reverse increased mobility and spending, and rapidly tighten financial conditions, triggering debt distress. Geopolitical and trade tensions could damage fragile global relationships at a time when trade is projected to collapse by around 12 percent.

This crisis like no other will have a recovery like no other. First, the unprecedented global sweep of this crisis hampers recovery prospects for export-dependent economies and jeopardizes the prospects for income convergence between developing and advanced economies. We are projecting a synchronized deep downturn in 2020 for both advanced economies, -8 percent, and emerging market and developing economies, -3 percent; -5 percent if excluding China, and over 95 percent of countries are projected to have negative per capita income growth in 2020. The cumulative hit to GDP growth over 2020–21 for emerging market and developing economies, excluding China, is expected to exceed that in advanced economies.

Second, as countries reopen, the pick-up in activity is uneven. On the one hand, pent-up demand is leading to a surge in spending in some sectors like retail, while, on the other hand, contact-intensive services sectors like hospitality, travel, and tourism remain depressed. Countries heavily reliant on such sectors will likely be deeply impacted for a prolonged period.

Third, the labour market has been severely hit and at record speed, and particularly so for lower-income and semi-skilled workers who do not have the option of teleworking. With activity in labour-intensive sectors like tourism and hospitality expected to remain subdued, a full recovery in the labour market may take a while, worsening income inequality and increasing poverty.

On the positive side, the recovery is benefitting from exceptional policy support, particularly in advanced economies, and to a lesser extent in emerging market and developing economies that are more constrained by fiscal space. Global fiscal support now stands at over $10 trillion and monetary policy has eased dramatically through interest rate cuts, liquidity injections, and asset purchases. In many countries, these measures have succeeded in supporting livelihoods and prevented large-scale bankruptcies, thus helping to reduce lasting scars and aiding a recovery.

This exceptional support, particularly by major central banks, has also driven a strong recovery in financial conditions despite grim real outcomes. Equity prices have rebounded, credit spreads have narrowed, portfolio flows to emerging market and developing economies have stabilized, and currencies that sharply depreciated have strengthened. By preventing a financial crisis, policy support has helped avert worse real outcomes. At the same time, the disconnect between real and financial markets raises concerns of excessive risk taking and is a significant vulnerability.

Given the tremendous uncertainty, policymakers should remain vigilant and policies will need to adapt as the situation evolves. Substantial joint support from fiscal and monetary policy must continue for now, especially in countries where inflation is projected to remain subdued. At the same time, countries should ensure proper fiscal accounting and transparency, and that monetary policy independence is not compromised.

A priority is to manage health risks even as countries reopen. This requires continuing to build health capacity, widespread testing, tracing, isolation, and practicing safe distancing and wearing masks. These measures help contain the spread of the virus, reassure the public that new outbreaks can be dealt with in an orderly fashion, and minimise economic disruptions. The international community must further expand financial assistance and expertise to countries with limited health care capacity. More needs to be done to ensure adequate and affordable production and distribution of vaccines and treatments when they become available.

In countries where activities are being severely constrained by the health crisis, people directly impacted should receive income support through unemployment insurance, wage subsidies, and cash transfers, and impacted firms should be supported via tax deferrals, loans, credit guarantees, and grants. To more effectively reach the unemployed in countries with large informal sectors, digital payments will need to be scaled up and complemented with in-kind support for food, medicine, and other household staples channelled through local governments and community organisations.

In countries that have begun reopening and the recovery is underway, policy support will need to gradually shift toward encouraging people to return to work, and to facilitating a reallocation of workers to sectors with growing demand and away from shrinking sectors. This could take the form of spending on worker training and hiring subsidies targeted at workers that face greater risk of long-term unemployment. Supporting a recovery will also involve actions to repair balance sheets and address debt overhangs. This will require strong insolvency frameworks and mechanisms for restructuring and disposing of distressed debt.

Policy support should also gradually shift from being targeted to being more broad-based. Where fiscal space permits, countries should undertake green public investment to accelerate the recovery and support longer-term climate goals. To protect the most vulnerable, expanded social safety net spending will be needed for some time.

The international community must ensure that developing economies can finance critical spending through provision of concessional financing, debt relief and grants; and that emerging market and developing economies have access to international liquidity, via ensuring financial market stability, central bank swap lines, and deployment of a global financial safety net.

This crisis will also generate medium-term challenges. Public debt is projected to reach this year the highest level in recorded history in relation to GDP, in both advanced and emerging market and developing economies. Countries will need sound fiscal frameworks for medium-term consolidation, through cutting back on wasteful spending, widening the tax base, minimising tax avoidance, and greater progressivity in taxation in some countries.

At the same time, this crisis also presents an opportunity to accelerate the shift to a more productive, sustainable, and equitable growth through investment in new green and digital technologies and wider social safety nets.

Global cooperation is ever so important to deal with a truly global crisis. All efforts should be made to resolve trade and technology tensions, while improving the multilateral rules-based trading system. The IMF will continue to do all it can to ensure adequate international liquidity, provide emergency financing, support the G20 debt service suspension initiative, and provide advice and support to countries during this unprecedented crisis.

::: Gita Gopinath is the Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund:IMF. She is on leave of public service from Harvard University’s Economics department where she is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and of Economics   :::

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Where Are the Progressive Forces of This World: They Have Not Yet Got Themselves Organised and Taken Their Place on the Streets: They Must Now Begin to Do: They Must Now Hurry Up: COVID-19 Causes Unprecedented Job Crisis: Almost All Workers and Businesses Are Affected by Lockdown Measures: But Workers Are Left Out Onto the Poverty-Wage and Expected to Keep Going to Serve Capitalism and the Rich


|| Tuesday: June 23: 2020 || ά. Almost, all of the world’s workers, some 94%, were living in countries with some type of workplace closure measures in place in May 2020, according to the UN Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on the World of Work and COVID-19. Massive losses in working hours, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs, are predicted for the second quarter of 2020, while 38% of the workforce, some 01.25 billion workers, is employed in high-risk sectors. “The world of work can not and should not look the same after this crisis. It is time for a co-ordinated global, regional and national effort to create decent work for all as the foundation of a green, inclusive and resilient recovery.” the Secretary-General said.

And this brings to focus this fact that the Secretary-General of the United Nations is saying this obvious but devastating truth for the overwhelming majority of the world’s workers and the International Labour Organisation:ILO speaking about this most vital of all issues at these desperate times of this pandemic where the workers of all kinds face dangers from all directions and from the triple pandemics: rightless and poverty-sustaining or poverty-wage precarious works without protection, the ever-expanding inequality and overwhelming disempowerment and disenfranchisement and the third this virus of COVID-19. And we can not but wonder as to why on earth the so-called progressive political forces have no voice? Why have they not been speaking of protecting workers and their rights and why are not they working to bring about into the political agenda these desperate states of working humanity in this world?

Because these political forces, that are in power and that are not in power form the same ‘complicity mechanism’ to maintain the ‘status quo’; they are not interested about these issues. If, they were they should make this world and this world’s political scene active and workers would not have been left to fend for themselves! Think of what is happening in India and Brazil and in the least developed countries and what is happening in the countries of low and middle income and what is happening in the advanced economies. Everywhere workers are supposed to be ‘the silent accepters’. Like the way they were left to accept the carnage, left behind by the Financial Crash now they are left in the same place: they are to, silently, accept the carnage being left behind by this pandemic. It is time that workers of the world bring about into existence new political movement to demand that this ends now: that capitalism’s poverty-paradigm comes to an end. Workers are not going to keep on handed down all the high-cruelties, high-brutalities and high-cruelties on their plates.

That is why these new progressives would the forces, that do not subscribe to the killing mechanism of capitalism, its poverty-paradigm, its poverty-wage and punishment-benefit and where these do not exist, the reality is absolutely desperate and dire and, instead, they will have much to say as to what they would like the human existence for workers to be like. But these forces do not exist yet. But the world is waiting, the world’s working humanity is waiting for these new progressive forces to arise and get to the scene with their visionary, radical and revolutionary programmes of actions for foundational, monumental, seismic and visionary change. These progressive forces are not going to speak of ‘Paris Plaster’ or ‘Plasticine Porcupine’ or ‘Plastic Polemics’. They are going to speak of revolution of re-empowering and re-enfranchising all humanity and that means that they exist to work for bettering the human condition. They will work day in and day out to call upon, organise, educate, empower, equip and inspire all workers to rise to demand justice, demand fair play, demand living-wage and demand much more than this: demand liberty and equality for all.  

This new world movement of the new progressive forces should begin as a grid of a political world movement whereby each country and nation will create their own platform and base but all these bodies and forces are connected through and by this international grid and they all share the same goals:

To bring capitalism under the rule and power of the law so to change it, re-architecture, re-shape and recast it and transform it into Kapitalawnomics and using this, these forces create a new set of Humanical Building-Block Human Rights and through these new rights eradicate the entire range of capitalism’s high-cruelties, high-brutalities and high-barbarities overnight. These rights are:

A: Absolute Right to Live in Clean, Healthy, Safe and Natural Environment: B: Absolute Right to Breathe Natural, Fresh, Clean and Safe Air: C: Absolute Right to Necessary Nutritional Balanced Food and Drink: D: Absolute Right to Free Medical Care at the Point of Need: E: Absolute Right to an Absolute Home: F: Absolute Right to Free Degree-Level Education and Life Long Learning: G: Absolute Right to Guaranteed Social Care: H: Absolute Right to a Universal Income: I: Absolute Right to a Job: J: Absolute Right to Dignified Civic and Human Funeral Paid Through by Universal Income.

Only these will ensure workers are not going be robbed off and sentenced into a live-in-life-sentence of misery, agony, suffering, hardship and pain, serving quietly all of the high-cruelties, high-brutalities and high-barbarities, that capitalism now distributes and enforces and that is what has been amplified and expounded by this pandemic but the forces, that shall challenge this and rectify these are not hear yet; they are not here yet. But the time, the state of the world and the desperate conditions and states the working and non-working humanity face across the earth are screaming out for these new progressive forces and movements across the lands of this world.

Just imagine how the human condition would look and feel like and what a socio-cultural and socio-spiritual ecology this will create in societies where these rights are made into reality and how these will translate into a sudden unimaginable enfranchisement and empowerment among the people! But we are no where near there! But things can not keep on going like this: this must change, new progressive forces must rise and organise and get to work: the sooner, the better.

Back to this Brief, that says that small and medium-sized enterprises, the engine of the global economy, are suffering immensely and many may not recover. Those living in developing countries and fragile contexts face the most dramatic risks, in part because they have least resilience. The Policy Brief, which is based on data and analysis from the International Labour Organisation:ILO, warns that many of those people, who have lost their jobs and livelihoods in recent months will not be able to re-enter labour markets any time soon.

Women have been, particularly, hard hit. They are disproportionately represented in high-risk sectors and are, often, amongst the first to lose employment and the last to return. Persons with disabilities, already, facing exclusion in employment, are, also, more likely to experience greater difficulties returning to work during recovery.

According to the Policy Brief, the socio-economic impact of the pandemic is falling disproportionately on those, who were, already, in precarious circumstances and who can least absorb the additional blow. The approximately-two-billion people working in the informal economy, often, without rights at work and social protection, suffered a 60% decline in earnings in the first month of the crisis alone.

Young people account for more than four in ten of those, employed in hard-hit sectors, globally. Combined with disruption to education and training, this places them at risk of becoming a ‘lockdown generation’, that will carry the impact of this crisis for a long time. “The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world of work upside down. Every worker, every business and every corner of the globe has been affected.” said UN Secretary-General, <r António Guterres.

The Secretary-General called for action on three fronts: First, immediate support for at-risk workers, enterprises, jobs and incomes, to avoid closures, job losses and income decline. Second, a greater focus on both health and economic activity after lockdowns ease, with workplaces, that are safe and rights for all. Third, mobilisation now for a human-centred, green, sustainable and inclusive recovery, that harnesses the potential of new technologies to create decent jobs for all and takes advantage of the creative and positive ways companies and workers have adapted to these times.

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COVID-19: Call to Action Because These Millions Are Human Lives and They Must Expect Solidarity Support and Protection From Those Who Can Work Together to Do Exactly That: Action in the Global Garment Industry Is a Must



|| Thursday: June 18: 2020 || ά. Call to Action: COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry aims to catalyse action from across the global garment industry to support manufacturers to survive the economic disruption, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect garment workers’ income, health and employment. This global action, also, calls for work on sustainable systems of social protection for a more just and resilient garment industry.

The Call to Action  sets out urgent priorities and specific commitments for organisations across the industry to endorse as the first step to collective action to achieve these goals. This will require all actors: governments, banks and finance institutions, international organisations, brands and retailers and e-tailers, manufacturers, employers’ organisations and trade unions, other stakeholders and development partners, all working together urgently to develop concrete and specific measures and to make the contributions needed, consistent with organisational roles, to deliver on these priorities.

The International Labour Organisation:ILO will convene an International Working Group, co-ordinated by the International Organisation of Employers:IOE, the International Trade Union Confederation:ITUC, including, brands and manufacturers, workers and employer organisations and governments, to further elaborate the implementation steps, necessary to deliver on these commitments.

How to Endorsement Call to Action: Brands and manufacturers, who wish to endorse the Call to Action or have additional questions should contact espinosa @ioe-emp.com at the International Organisation of Employers. IOE provides a confidential space for business organisations to discuss and advise of any related matter.

Worker organisations should contact IndustriALL or their Global Union with any related questions. Other organisations, who wish to endorse the Call to Action or have technical or other questions may also be directed to the ILO at betterwork @ilo.org

What is the purpose of the Call to Action: The call to action aims to generate action from across the global garment industry to protect workers’ incomes, health and employment and support employers to survive during the COVID-19 crisis and to work together to establish sustainable systems of social protection for a more just and resilient garment industry.

This will require all actors: governments, banks and finance institutions, international organisations, brands and retailers and e-tailers, manufacturers, employers organisations and trade unions, other stakeholders and development partners, working together urgently to develop concrete and specific measures and to make the contributions needed, consistent with organizational roles, to deliver on these priorities.

Who developed the Call to Action: The COVID-19 Action Plan for the Garment Industry was developed following extensive consultation with global brands and manufacturers and relevant employers’ and workers’ organisations. The final text was negotiated by the International Organisation of Employers:IOE, the International Trade Union Confederation:ITUC and IndustriALL Global Union. International Labour Organisation:ILO has provided technical support to all parties during this process.

How does an organisation endorse the Call to Action: Brands and manufacturers, who wish to endorse the Call to Action or have additional questions should contact espinosa@ioe-emp.com at the International Organisation of Employers. IOE provides a confidential space for business organisations to discuss and advise of any related matter. Organisations, that confirm their endorsement do so on the understanding that they will be added to the public list of endorsees. Other organisations, who wish to endorse the Call to Action or have technical or other questions may also be directed to the ILO at betterwork @ilo.org .

What does it mean to endorse the Call to Action: All organisations, endorsing the Call to Action make a public statement to implement the commitments in the document and to advance the priorities through individual and collective actions. Organisations, endorsing the action plan will be called upon to take collective action to support the objectives of the call to action.

Who owns the Call to Action: The Call to Action is owned by the organisations, that chose to endorse it .

Is there a deadline to endorse the Action Plan: The crisis created by the pandemic and economic slowdown demands urgent action. Organisations, considering endorsement are urged to do so now.

What will be the role of the International Working Group mentioned in the Call to Action: An International Working Group, convened by the ILO and co-ordinated by IOE and ITUC, has been established. The group includes brands and manufacturers, workers and employer organisations, and governments. The Working Group is responsible for overseeing implementation to deliver on the commitments in the Call to Action. The Working Group will draw upon the strengths of all endorsing organisations

Which countries will be prioritised for action: Immediate attention will be on business continuity and protection for workers and employers in countries with weak health and social protection systems and those, whose work demands special measures to ensure their safety and health. Potential priority countries are those, that are highly dependent on GSC and will be identified through analysis of business needs, liquidity, etc and what social protection measures exist in practice, for example, bailouts and implementation of statutory or voluntary protections. Country prioritisation will be one of the areas of focus of the international working group.

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India: Working Towards a Single and Globally-Connected Electricity Grid



|| Wednesday: June 17: 2020: Tim Buckley Writing || ά. The Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi has announced a new ‘One Sun One World One Grid’:OSOWOG vision for India to replicate its global solar leadership by encouraging the phased development towards a single, globally connected, electricity grid to leverage the multiple benefits of ever-lower-cost renewable energy. Countries like India have huge natural renewable energy resources and accelerated investment in low-cost, zero-pollution sustainable energy, with increased scale driving faster electricity deflation is a win.

The national grid benefits from a greater capacity to integrate low-cost but intermittent renewable energy, while at the same time, exporting surplus low-cost renewable energy at times of peak generation and building grid capacity to import electricity, say from Bhutan, at times of peak evening demand, when the sun has set. India currently relies on some US$250 Billion of fossil fuel imports annually, oil, diesel, LNG, coking and thermal coal. OSOWOG would put the country on a path to leverage domestic energy resources and progressively develop world competitive sustainable renewable energy exports, improving the current account deficit and reducing imported inflation.

Using renewable energy means less water scarcity and reduced particulate and air pollution. Global investors have shown a clear, growing propensity to invest in India’s renewable energy ambitions, when backed by sound government contracts and to support the grid infrastructure those ambitions need. For an added benefit, India could move to centre stage globally, accelerating the energy system’s decarbonisation and helping to end a global climate crisis, that India did not create.

The idea of an internationally connected electricity grid is not new. Decades ago the elite Club of Rome and some associates launched Desertec to leverage the vast natural resources of Northern Africa as a supply of zero-emissions solar and wind energy to Europe, with futuristic plans of subsea cables from Morocco to Gibraltar and Tunisia to Sicily then Italy to leverage the unlimited solar wealth of the Sahara Desert. Only after ‘learning by doing’ at industrial scale from installing wind turbines in the North Sea has the growing commercial viability of subsea electricity cabling been proven, at ever increasing capacities, while unit costs have declined dramatically.

The technology of high-voltage direct current:HVDC cabling has advanced phenomenally over the last decade. The North Sea Network Link between Norway and the UK is a 1,400 megawatt:MW, 515kV, 730 kilometre connection due for completion in 2021, with cable manufactured by Prysmian of Italy, the world leader in cables. This builds on a number of shorter, lower capacity connections. Back in 1986 the second cross-channel England-France grid connection was commissioned, with 2000MW of 270kV cable covering 73km. In 2011 the BritNed 260km 1,000MW, 450kV grid link between England and the Netherlands was completed.

In 2016, an international consortium of SoftBank of Japan, State Grid Corp of China, KEPCO of Korea proposed a very ambitious Northeast Asia grid strategy to link the national Mongolia-China-South Korea-Japan grids. And in 2019 Thailand relaunched efforts to build a South East Asian grid connectivity system to better distribute the hydro-electricity of the greater Mekong River across Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Since 2018, Malaysia has imported 100MW from Laos via Thailand, rising to 300MW from 2020, known as, the Lao PDR, Thailand, Malaysia Power Integration Project.

In late 2019 Sun Cables received preliminary funding commitments for its exceptionally ambitious nation-building 3,800km Darwin-Singapore subsea cable proposal. For many years, India has pursued international electricity trade. Bhutan-India has an international grid connectivity with ambitious but long-delayed plans to develop some of the 30GW of Bhutan hydro capacity potential. India-Nepal grid capacity has progressively grown to some 450MW and India-Baangladesh is 1,160MW with a doubling of capacity being built currently by Adani to export electricity from its 1,496MW Godda import coal-fired power plant in Jharkhand to Baangladesh. However, trade is largely one-directional, importing hydroelectricity from Bhutan and exporting to Nepal and Baangladesh. 

On-going solar energy deflation makes these global visions of the past a potential reality now and more compelling as this new decade unfolds. Grid connectivity can leverage the time difference between countries to best utilise intermittent but low-cost solar and wind power generation. Coupled with connectivity with Bhutan’s and Nepal’s hydro-electricity capacity can maximise supply at times of more valuable peak power demand and best exploit the divergent natural resources of different countries.

Mr Gautam Adani, the Chairman of Adani Group, has referenced how solar costs have dropped 99% in the last four decades and are on track to drop another 99% in the next 40 years. He calls for a ‘Green Energy Acceleration in the Post COVID World’. This changes everything. Virtually free renewable energy is entirely foreseeable but only, if, we develop a cost-effective way of time-shifting production to when it is needed via batteries and renewable hydrogen, time-shifting electricity demand, demand response management and:or through significantly expanded inter-state and international grid connectivity.

Prime Ministers Mr Narendra Modi of India and Mrs Sheikh Hasina Wazed of Baangladesh  first discussed India exporting its exceptionally low-cost solar energy from Gujarat and Rajasthan to Baangladesh in 2019. Even, accounting for the grid transmission costs doubling the cost of delivered electricity, with solar as low as Rs02.50:kWh and going below Rs02 later this decade, this power can be delivered at a substantial discount to Baangladesh’s wholesale electricity price, which is double that of India due to the country’s increasing reliance on expensive, dirty, imported coal, diesel and LNG.

The ‘One Sun One World and Grid’ vision goes further. A 1,000km subsea HVDC connection from Oman to Gujarat would take ultra-low cost solar electricity, built by leading installers like India’s very own Sterling and Wilson in the middle of the Oman and UAE afternoon and deliver it into the evening peak in Dhaka. Adding to solar from Ladakh and hydro-electricity from Nepal, potentially to Colombo as well.

Virtually unlimited low-cost renewables are available today at massive scale in India, with zero inflation indexation for 25 years. This is entirely sustainable power producing no carbon emissions and no air or water pollution. Deflationary green exports can realistically entirely replace expensive, inflationary, polluting fossil fuel imports, with vision and international co-operation, bringing employment and international investment. What’s not to like about Mr Modi’s ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ vision?

::: Tim Buckley is Director Energy Finance Studies, IEEFA South Asia :::