Climate Change: Get Ready to Adapt!

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s recent Washington Post op-ed “Make Climate Change a Priority” warned that “global warming imperils all of the development gains we have made”.  Jim Kim drew on a recent World Bank report that points to the possibility for global temperatures to rise by 4 degrees Celsius or more by the […]

November Job Growth Slows … Because Of Hurricane Sandy?

Private payrolls in the U.S. increased by 118,000 last month, according to the ADP Employment Report. As expected, that’s a slowdown from October’s 157,000 rise (on a seasonally adjusted basis). Many economists will chalk up the slower rate of growth to Hurricane Sandy’s negative influence. Maybe. For now, it’s a plausible argument. Nonetheless, today’s ADP number tells […]

National Research Council: ‘Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis’

”There is compelling reason to presume that specific failures of adaptation [to climate change] will occur with consequences more severe than any yet experienced, severe enough to compel more extensive international engagement than has yet been anticipated or organized.” The National Research Council is the principle operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the […]

Hurricane Sandy Asks When Did Weather Become Exceptional? (Plus Important Info About US Hurricanes)

Summary: When did normal weather become exceptional? Hurricane Sandy tells us much about our climate, weather — and ourselves. The truth is out there, if only we wished to see it. If you find this useful, please pass it on to others! Nothing “historic” in these numbers. Click here to get the most current report.  Click here to see […]

The Coming Weather Blow to the Global Economy

Summary:  With all the power our mastery of the physical sciences has given us, we often forget that we remain subject to the whims of nature.  Earthquakes, volcanoes, asteroids — and weather.  Our recent obsession with climate change has blinded us to the ferocious impact of rare but normal weather patterns.  Such as the second year […]

RGE’s Wednesday Note – Japan’s Production Shortfall Drags on EM Asia Supply Chain

The amplified shock from Japan’s March 11 earthquake, then tsunami, then nuclear crisis has rippled through the supply chain of its emerging Asia (EM Asia) neighbors. Production shutdowns and weakened demand in Japan began to register in Asia’s trade channels in the weeks following the disaster. As the extent and duration of disruptions to production in Japan become more apparent, the severity of regional supply chain interruptions and the effects on EM Asia’s industrial production and export volumes and prices through 2011 can be better anticipated.

Conditions Worsen at Fukushima Nuclear Site

This is not good. From the Washington Post: Leaked water sampled from one unit Sunday was 100,000 times more radioactive than normal background levels — though the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, first calculated an even higher, erroneous, figure that it didn’t correct for several hours. Tepco apologized Sunday night when it […]

Meeting Japan’s Energy Needs: An Update

It has been two weeks since Japan was devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which shuttered in around 20% of the country’s nuclear capacity and 30% of its refining capacity. According to IHS-CERA, 2 GW of Japan’s nuclear capacity have been permanently lost as a result of injecting seawater into reactors, while another 10 GW—8% of Japan’s total electricity—will be shut in “for several years.” The following addresses how Japan will cope with meeting its electricity and fuel shortfalls, and the obstacles facing the energy sector and their broader implications. (See March 17 RGE Analysis on options available to Japan for meeting energy needs.)

Release of strategic oil reserves and reduction in economic activity will limit crude oil import growth.

Japan: ‘But Oldsters Don’t Riot’

From my Annual Forecast, dated December 7, 2011:

The population began to shrink in 2005 and the new data from the 2010 census will be released in February 2011. It will show an accelerating decline in the number of Japanese. What will increase is the number of households headed by people 60 years of age or older. In 1990, Japan claimed 10.2 million such households. In 2011, watch for the number to leap to 21.2 million households, likely comprising a full 42 percent of all households.

Why does this matter? Because, while households headed by ‘oldsters’ own some 80 percent of all household assets, Japan’s low interest rates have devastated the income generated by those assets. (The interest rates are low, of course, because of the quantitative easing instituted by the central bank.) The result is that those households have largely stopped spending. But because consumption is about 60 percent of the GDP, there has been little to drive the economy besides exports.

The strong yen cripples the competitiveness of Japan’s exporters. Their principal response has been to hire more temporary workers – without benefits – further depressing consumption and moving their production facilities out of the country – further depressing consumption. A new assembly plant in Mississippi, for example, will begin to produce Toyotas in 2011.

Sluggish growth and declining fortunes will be Japan’s fate in 2011.

But oldsters don’t riot. Besides too much wealth has been amassed. So 2011 will be a gentle year as well.

Post-2011 Catastrophes

1 2 3