EconoMonitor

Nouriel Roubini's Global EconoMonitor

RGE’s Weekly Roundup

Check out all of the RGE analysis and EconoMonitor contributions that were published this past week at roubini.com.

RGE Analysis:

In The People’s Bank of China and the Road Not Taken Adam Wolfe and Rachel Ziemba look at the steps that China has taken thus far to rein in excess liquidity and provide their inflation expectations for 2010.  They also consider when China will raise interest rates.  [Available to RGE Clients Only]

 

This past week on Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitor, Nouriel was in Hong Kong for the Asia Financial Forum discussing his outlook for financial markets and a global economic recovery.  Please see Roubini Bloomberg Video and Report from the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong.

Prior to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Nouriel sat down with Newsweek to discuss what economic challenges we’ll face this year.  Please see Nouriel Roubini on the 2010 Economy: NEWSWEEK & YouTube.

By the middle of the week, Nouriel was in Davos.  Don’t miss Roubini CNN Money, Forbes.com, CNBC, and Bloomberg Interviews at Davos.

 

On the RGE Analyst’s EconoMonitor, Michael Moran examines President Obama’s State of the Union address and questions whether his strategy was effective.  See Fake Left, Cut Right, Drive Down the Middle.

In Could the Next Credit Crisis Start in Shanghai Adam Wolfe looks at the sustainability of China’s debt-fueled, investment led growth and provides different views, including his own, for when the crash will come.

 

On the Finance & Markets Monitor, Models & Agents looks at the “Volcker Rule”, a bank tax, and other proposed reforms and regulations.  Read The Good the Bad and the irrelevant.

In Bailouts: Catching a Falling Knife, Edward Harrison says that we need to comprehensively review financial institutions in a way that makes clear which are insolvent and which are not.

In Clearly this is Their First Rodeo, Mark Thoma is not optimistic that the reform proposals from the administration are more than a political stunt.

Also on the Finance & Markets Monitor:

Secretary Geithner Needs to Get with the Program by Simon Johnson

Is the “Volcker Rule” More than a Marketing Slogan? by Simon Johnson

 

On the Peterson Institute for International Economics Monitor, Anders Aslund asks if the BRICS are the most relevant representation of the emerging economies.  Please read Does Russia Belong in the BRICs?

In The Financial System: Heading for More Trouble, Steve Weisman sits down with Simon Johnson who argues that President Obama’s proposed bank tax is a step forward but the financial system is still distorted by flawed incentives.

 

On the Global Macro EconoMonitor, Satyajit Das argues that the “global economy is currently taking the ‘botox’ cure.  A flood of money from central banks and governments – ‘financial botox’ – has temporarily covered up unresolved and deep-seated problems.  Please read:

Botox Cures – Part 1 and Botox Cures – Part 2.

In Ring of Fire, Barry Ritholtz presents an intriguing visual of public debt.

 

On the U.S. EconoMonitor, Robert Reich asserts that Obama has to do very big and important things such as enact a second stimulus that bails out state and local governments and include mortgage debt in personal bankruptcy to help distressed homeowners, but it seems Obama is moving in the opposite direction.  See Obama’s Tiny Jobs Ideas for Main Street, a Big Spending Freeze for Wall Street.

In Letter to Ben Bernanke, Joseph Mason discusses some of the necessary but difficult policy stances the Fed should take to ease the economy out of the bubble.

In Did Brown’s Win Spark Obama’s War on Wall Street? Edward Harrison tries to gauge Obama’s reform proposals after a stunning political defeat in Massachusetts.

Also on the U.S. EconoMonitor:

What the “I’m Mad as Hell Party” Could Do by Robert Reich

Obama Wants to Limit Government Spending Despite High Unemployment and a Fragile Economy by Mark Thoma

It’s about the Money…Really by James Picerno

 

On the Emerging Markets Monitor, Marcuse Svedberg reviews the performance of markets of emerging economies from the past year and considers the year ahead.  Please read Recovering Markets.

 

On the Asia EconoMonitor, Michael Pettis provides evidence that there is serious and healthy economic debate that is taking place in China.  Please see The Myth of China’s Blithe Consensus.

 

On the Europe EconoMonitor, Edward Hugh looks at the economic situation in Hungary and Greece, Marek Belka considers exit strategies in the eurozone, and Rebecca Wilder examines saving rates and bond markets.  Please read:

Hungary isn’t another Greece……Now is it? by Edward Hugh

Does Anyone Really Know the Size of the Greek 2009 Deficit? By Edward Hugh

Unwinding Crisis Policies in Europe: Are we there Yet? by Marek Belka

After the Crisis, Much Still at Stake for Eurozone by Marek Belka

National Saving Rates Across Europe: Diverse by Rebecca Wilder

Bond Markets Soaking up Greece by Rebecca Wilder

34 Responses to “RGE’s Weekly Roundup”

HubbsJanuary 29th, 2010 at 11:25 am

First!I guess I am like the rat that has learned it’s way through the maze on this reconfigured blog.Very disconcerting when Obama starts changing his tune. Gives me the impression that he didn’t know what he was doing in the first place and that he got snookered into giving Wall Street what they wanted. Now that we really have an even bigger mess on our hands, rational action may be impossible. Second “stimulus” anyone?And the Wall St. chorus calling for financial reform/scrutiny, especially with lending standards, oh please give me a break. They knew exactly what they were doing. Now that they’ve made their heist they suddenly have religion.As Karl Denninger of http://www.market-ticker.org has opined, start suing these banks for false advertising and fraud. So the opportunity to squash these blood suckers was squandered through the govt bailouts, now the pension funds et al can try to recoup…and put these banks out of business and their CEO’s in jail.

MorbidJanuary 29th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Hubbs,It has been my minor observation that it does no good to rail against what has happened in the unfolding of history for it is as if it was fated – meant to happen. Like this we continue along the path of our long term fated outcome – the ordeal of the apocalypse – for it is clear from politics in the USA that consensus is no longer possible and thus our consciousness is split; too one-sided and no third way is possible.Clearly all must choose to evolve or devolve – as in CA where I live – the state has finally given up on a part of the war on drugs – the rest of the drugs are sure to follow. They will legalize pot and convert it into tax revenue for the state instead of a negative drag of imprisonment. It’s like saying “EVOLVE or DEVOLVE” – it is your free will choice.

The AlarmistFebruary 1st, 2010 at 2:29 am

Gee, sounds like it is time for a DEVO comeback tour. Are we not men?Second, what is with all this gloom, Hubbs? You obviously didn’t get the talking points of the machine:Stimulus is working, so well in fact that we are going to do more of it.Recession is over.Tax time is nigh, so make sure you buy your copy of Turbo-tax (or pay $6000 to Ernst & Young if you are an expat to do your $200 return), slave!

MorbidJanuary 29th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Not Again! CA To Run Out Of Cash by April 2010

State Controller John Chiang issued a stern warning Friday about California’s cash reserves, telling legislative leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger they must act on nearly $9 billion in budget cuts the governor is seeking by March — or the state will run out of cash to pay its bills.Without making those cuts — which Chiang says will pump $1.3 billion into the state’s checking account — California would be broke by April 1, no fooling.>/b>

blindmanJanuary 29th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

http://www.ratical.com/co-globalize/AmTapeWormP1.html.speaking of digestion and malnutrition..http://www.georgewashington2.blogspot.com/.What Should We Make of Obama’s “Spending Freeze”The big news today is Obama’s proposed “spending freeze”….”Catherine Austin Fitts – former managing director of a Wall Street investment bank and Assistant Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President George Bush Sr. – calls what is happening to the economy “a criminal leveraged buyout of America,” something she defines as “buying a country for cheap with its own money and then jacking up the rents and fees to steal the rest.” She also calls it the “American Tapeworm” model, explaining:[T]he American Tapeworm model is to simply finance the federal deficit through warfare, currency exports, Treasury and federal credit borrowing and cutbacks in domestic “discretionary” spending …. This will then place local municipalities and local leadership in a highly vulnerable position – one that will allow them to be persuaded with bogus but high-minded sounding arguments to further cut resources. Then, to “preserve bond ratings and the rights of creditors,” our leaders can he persuaded to sell our water, natural resources and infrastructure assets at significant discounts of their true value to global investors …. This will be described as a plan to “save America” by recapitalizing it on a sound financial footing. In fact, this process will simply shift more capital continuously from America to other continents and from the lower and middle classes to elites.Writer Mike Whitney wrote in CounterPunch in April 2005:[T]he towering [U.S.] national debt coupled with the staggering trade deficits have put the nation on a precipice and a seismic shift in the fortunes of middle-class Americans is looking more likely all the time… The country has been intentionally plundered and will eventually wind up in the hands of its creditors This same Ponzi scheme has been carried out repeatedly by the IMF and World Bank throughout the world Bankruptcy is a fairly straightforward way of delivering valuable public assets and resources to collaborative industries, and of annihilating national sovereignty. After a nation is successfully driven to destitution, public policy decisions are made by creditors and not by representatives of the people …. The catastrophe that middle class Americans face is what these elites breezily refer to as “shock therapy”; a sudden jolt, followed by fundamental changes to the system. In the near future we can expect tax reform, fiscal discipline, deregulation, free capital flows, lowered tariffs, reduced public services, and privatization.And given that experts on third world banana republics from the IMF and the Federal Reserve have said the U.S. has become a third world banana republic (and see this and this), maybe the process of turning first world into the third world is already complete.”….http://www.ratical.org/startHere.html

PeterJBJanuary 29th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Appropriate:”The lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. The government will try to deceive the people, and the newspapers and television may do the same, but the truth has a way of coming out. The truth has a power greater than a hundred lies. My hope is that you will not be content to be successful in the way our society measures success; that you will not obey the rules, when the rules are unjust; that you will act out the courage that I know is in you.” Howard Zinn – Address to Spelman College, 2005=”to engage in whatever nonviolent actions appeal to us. There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical points to create a power that governments cannot suppress. We find ourselves today at one of those critical points.” – Howard ZinnA review of discussions at Davos suggest a situation akin to “Beyond Belief”. There are obviously none there of any competence and or intellect or of reason and accord.http://www.aliciamroz.com/oil-paintings-beyond-belief.htmWhich begs the question: In a democracy, leadership is (theoretically and ideologically) drawn from the lowest common denominator of that “democracy” but do we really like having our “leadership” comprised of morons? Do we really need morons as “leaders”? (the answer that you reach may just surprise you)The strength and value, ie measure, of intellect is not in a moron’s reply but in the thoughtful composition of the question?Ho hum

The AlarmistFebruary 1st, 2010 at 2:32 am

After experiencing the system the Ivy league wizzes have delivered over all these years, it might be time to actually try an unschooled moron for change for which we all can hope.

PeterJBJanuary 29th, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Speaking of corporate morons now:January 29, 2010 “IPA” — Following the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to allow unlimited corporate funding of federal campaigns, Murray Hill Inc. today announced it is filing to run for U.S. Congress. “Until now,” Murray Hill Inc. said in a statement, “corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence-peddling to achieve their goals in Washington. But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves.” Murray Hill Inc. is believed to be the first “corporate person” to exercise its constitutional right to run for office.”The strength of America,” Murray Hill Inc. said, “is in the boardrooms, country clubs and Lear jets of America’s great corporations. We’re saying to Wal-Mart, AIG and Pfizer, if not you, who? If not now, when?” Murray Hill Inc. added: “It’s our democracy. We bought it, we paid for it, and we’re going to keep it.” Murray Hill Inc., a diversifying corporation in the Washington, D.C. area, has long held an interest in politics and sees corporate candidacy as an “emerging new market.”Gives you kinda warm and tinglies all over and brings back the memory of Tennessee Ernie Ford and his “16 Tons”Ho hum

PeterJBJanuary 29th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

An interesting interest from the jumpdoor @blindmanhttp://www.ratical.com/ratitorsCorner/12.21.99.html#120399commence quote:I suggest we be clear that our goal is not to reform global corporate and financial rule — it is to end it. The publicly traded, limited liability corporation is a pathological institutional form and financial speculation is inherently predatory. As a first step both must be regulated. The appropriate longer term goal is to rid our economic affairs of these institutional pathologies — much as our ancestors eliminated the institution of monarchy.–David Korten, Corporate Accountability: Who Rules?, 12/3/99end quote:Question: if all those persons who make decisions for the public corporations are just Mums and Dads and basically and socially nice, good and honest people, really, then why and how do corporations act in such predatory manners?Answer: The answer is simple er, really and has been the subject of many studies and papers where collectives take on a unique code, or belief system, paradigm, morality, focus, etc., etc., or a set of priorities that belong to no person at all and in fact where no person could carry and or contain these attributes.Therefore, the collective is a unique emergent phenomenon (man made) which is definitely not human (this is where the Supreme Court erred), but alien, of a different species of life-form, and more closely allied to, and analogically related to the Universal Principle of an Amoeba (single-celled) which not surprisingly quickly evolves to an energetic parasitical fungus if fed and maintained in an ideal milieux, one that permits outside digestion and inward consumption or as known in the corporate and political world, “sustainable growth”.It is clear that this corporate (madness) anus is being fed everything it needs, and more, and now runs for political office (Goldman Sachs for President in the next US election and Kellogg Cornflakes for the next Prime Minister of Australia) so all this infers in light of the prevailing insanity and irrationality at hand, that the fungal matts of all the co-operating countries are colluding to join into one big fungal parasite. This begs the question: Will there be enough or sufficient food for this beast to survive upon, in order to sustain? Food meaning here, energy produced by the minor and seemingly unimportant life species known as man.The main centres of these parasites have already acquired the majority of stored energy available through tribute given by those lesser “leadership” and now move on to suck into the balance of stored value while dumping its toxic waste matter (store high in transit) back into the system and onto its producers of food. Here – is the structural weakness and the source of the solution. The acidity balance of the fungus, its milieux, needs to be changed to alkaline.This may sound too simple but what needs to be done is to restrict – contain the public trading of shares – the alkaline er, bicarbonate of soda, and to look to reimplement all utilitarian service modes to automatica prime and sole functionality while placing manifesting emphasis of individual pursuit by creative undertaking, or IOW, if you prefer, re-empower the man as a human being. Drop the safety nets to compassionate levels and stop feeding the parasites.The spirit of man must, a priori, be again franchised, anew.Avatars controlled by parasites acting as Congressmen? Nothing new here but remember the Manchurian Candidate.Ho hum

The AlarmistFebruary 1st, 2010 at 2:37 am

When you think about it, how are corporations any different than the lesser vassals of a feudal system. The provide various protections and means of sustenance to us poor serfs who give them their labour. We should be grateful we have them between us and the king.

blindmanJanuary 30th, 2010 at 9:29 am

http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/OrenLyons.html#goodMinds.World Bank, October 3, 1995Ethics and Spiritual Values and the Promotion ofEnvironmentally Sustainable Development”50 Years of the World Bank, Over 50 Tribes Devastated”.”The World Bank and the IMF make decisions every day that affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of tribal peoples. The tribes are hardly, if ever, consulted. In the last 50 years the World Bank has approved projects that have had catastrophic results for indigenous people worldwide. According to the Bank’s own figures, by 1996 it will have evicted 4 million people, many of them tribal”– Survival International Press ReleaseSeptember 20, 1994.by Oren LyonsSpirituality, Natural Law, and the Ethics of AuthorityThank you for this opportunity to comment on ethics and spirituality as it relates to the World Bank and its four regional banks: Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.Indigenous peoples have a long history of being victims of development projects throughout the world. This occurs consistently because indigenous peoples live in what is called undeveloped or underdeveloped territories. The natural resources, lands and water are the targets of development which can take many different forms. The extraction of oil, gold, other minerals, timber, or water results in a fundamental change in the natural environment in which indigenous peoples have culturally and physically adapted for thousands of years.Water is life. People migrate to water and people live by water for its sustenance. The constant search for energy by industrial societies has impacted indigenous peoples throughout the world. Dams have become the primary source of cultural destruction to many indigenous peoples. Dams have brought about relocation and flooding of aboriginal lands, flooding of burial grounds and sacred sites. It has meant a change of habitat for the lives of fish, birds, and animals. It generally means a total disruption of the ecosystems sustaining life. The effect of this dramatic change upon indigenous peoples living a “sustainable” lifestyle based upon the natural laws of nature is catastrophic.In industrial societies privilege is standardized with bigger bathrooms, bigger beds, and fatter, softer towels. For those born into this standardized life of privilege it is difficult to understand poverty because they have very limited frames of reference and therefore, show little tolerance for differences.Impact of DevelopmentDevelopment poses questions not only of ethics but also of human rights, and even further, the rights of natural life co-habitating impacted areas.It poses questions of the long term consequences of changing ecosystems; it raises the question of authority and from whence it is derived; it raises questions of morality and sovereignty and the notions of “sustainable development”, “market”, and “standards” of living. These actions pose questions that need attention and answers.Projects of the world bank have been notorious for negative impacts on indigenous peoples’ lives and aboriginal lands. We have been impacted by the mining of gold, uranium, and other minerals, roads and highways built to access raw materials not only remove minerals and destroy forests and fragment habitat for living creatures, but they also provide access to land-hungry individuals coming from deprived circumstances in deteriorating infrastructures of overpopulated cities and urban wastelands.These people bring with them a fierce instinct for survival coupled with racism. They also bring relief to hard pressed governments overwhelmed with population demands for relief from the social pressures of unemployment and poverty. These people, desperate from poverty, have little regard for fragile indigenous communities living in the last reaches of the natural ecosystems of the world.The equation is: short term economic gain based upon consumption, traded for the long term health and welfare of our grandchildren. They will be the ones to pay for the market-driven forces of greed.We have all heard these words before, and by now it is regarded as the rhetoric of environmentalists and “unrealistic” advocates of world peace and harmony.EthicsWhat then are the ethics of your organization, regarding development of these projects? Who makes the decisions on these projects? What are the consultative processes with regard to indigenous peoples, their communities and their leaders? More to the point, do they have anything to say in this final determination of projects that impact indigenous peoples directly? Past performance by the World Bank says not.I ask again what are your ethics regarding the rights of self-determination and the recognition of the homelands of indigenous peoples?From whence do you derive your authority when you determine projects impacting indigenous peoples and lands? Is there in the lexicon of your organization a “moral” standard for indigenous peoples and their lands? Are there moral and ethical standards for any lands and natural resources?There is a spiritual aspect to all of this from our, the indigenous peoples, perspective. Is there one from yours? If not, why not? Do you feel you need one? If you do then you acknowledge the jurisdiction of a higher authority.I will make a simple illustration: We can agree that the new President of the World Bank is a good and just man who had done fine and good things for his human family, and even better for the natural world that provides for us all.This merits recognition and we agree that there must be some way to reward him. We gather ourselves and agree that in carrying out his duties he must travel far and wide, and often finds himself in adverse conditions. We agree that since water is the first law of life it would be to his greatest interest never to have to worry about water for himself no matter where he is.Therefore:In total agreement with the highest authorities of nations and states we decree that with this diploma we have all endorsed: He will no longer have to drink water.Happily he receives this decree and goes about his business. Several days later he is back severely perplexed and very thirsty, saying the decree does not work. Why? The answer is quite simple: We have exceeded our jurisdiction.There is a higher authority and we are subject to its laws. There are no appeals courts for these laws. There is only the law and we will suffer in direct proportion to our transgressions against it.Good people, we now talk about the ultimate authority, that law that governs all life on this planet. “This lonely blue dot on the fringes of a great galaxy” as my good friend Carl Sagan puts it.A thousand years ago or more we the Haudenosaunee, the Iroquois, were given the rules and processes of democracy. The principles of this democracy are: Peace in mind and community, Equity, which is justice for the people, and the power of the good minds, which embodies good health and reason.This democracy established power in the people who joined of their own free will. It established the process of informed consent. It balanced the duties of governance between men and women. It gave women the duty of choosing leadership, that was then ratified by consensus of the people. It also gave women the power of recall. It provided the principle of representation of people in government, as well as accountability by leadership.It established respect as a law. It established access to all leaders and an open forum on all issues, and it did not discriminate on the basis of gender or age. It promoted freedom as a responsibility and above all it was based upon the spiritual laws of nature.This was a seamless government that inspired Benjamin Franklin to say “…this is a government that seems indissoluble.” It inspired the roots of western democracy that we know today. All this from indigenous peoples.This Democracy is all inclusive. Democracy is direct access to leadership. Democracy is equal protection under law. True democracy does not abide privilege, nor centralized control of power. Leadership is privileged only to serve. And the leaders needs come last after the people.The democratic laws of most indigenous peoples arise from their understanding of the natural law and the regenerative powers that sustain life.Therefore, “sustainable” in our terms means working with these laws that could be termed spiritual.We were instructed to make all of our laws in concert with these principles thus insuring life in endless cycles. To challenge these cycles and the interdependent processes of life that sustain us will insure our defeat and demise on this Earth. We human beings can be productive and supportive to this network or we can be parasites. Right now we are parasites.And we are, by sheer numbers and behavior, extinguishing other life forms. The natural laws says that no one entity can grow unchecked. There are forces that will check this unbridled growth, such as disease and lack of food and water. Privilege will not prevail.There can be no peaceas long as you make war on Mother EarthEvolution unfolds and has no interest in past or future states. There is just one Nature and the reality is now.If quality of life is going to be considered on the basis of creature comforts, material accumulations, and the “free market”, then the values of family, service, sharing, and responsibility to society become secondary and subordinate to personal gain, personal wealth, and the consolidation of power.So we again pose the question: From whence do you derive your authority? What are the principles of your governance? Are the ethics of your governance based upon laws of man or laws of nature? Is there a relevance between the two? We ask you. “…

blindmanJanuary 30th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

m,would you call yourself a cynic?if so, where is the power in it?and can one say “we are doomed”? ordo you mean “our current way of life isdoomed” or “some peoples current way of life isdoomed and dooming those around them”?.realizing that people live unconsciously andeven the best of minds sometimes cannot make correctionsfor themselves, never mind corrections for those around themand suffering and death, the two great teachers, arekept shrouded in the caves, voiceless to man today..let me tell you, we are not doomed. i may be doomed,and you may be doomed, but we are not.we just don’t know what we are yet, we have lostinterest in the founding principles, the simpletruths, the obvious, the power / s that are life.the profound. ? you don’t see people use thatword anymore, not in a healthy way. why? havewe grown out of? has life been cheapened by somedecree or act of state or fashion and the media?.ps.think of it as poetry or music!we have to stop bowing to vampires, zombies andtheir entourage. the children know and springtimeis so close.

GuestJanuary 30th, 2010 at 6:20 pm

The Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee that has been proposed would have an interesting effect if Treasuries and GSE debt was exempt. Would you not hold these if you knew that the repo would have a disruption on June 30, 2010. The exemption from the FCRF would create demand for whatever categories are exempt. Could this not work to be stimulus for purchasing treasuries and GSEs if exempt? Could this not be a disguised subsidy of these prospectively exempt categories? Could this not be a disguised subsidy of the Real Estate Market to lower mortgage interest rates?

GuestJanuary 31st, 2010 at 6:08 am

Same principle as capital adequacy standards under Basle Accords which provide a zero weight to OECD government debt and low weight to real estate debt. The whole point of the exercise is to create a tiered bias favouring select asset classes and select intermediaries.

GuestJanuary 31st, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Thanks for the comment; I have long been asking what the gov and fed can do.What stops the fed from creating a facilitator (bypassing banks) to make Real Estate loans for say 3%?Is there a site that provides information on what can and cannot be done? We know they will do all they can to lower rates, but where can we find out their limitations?Unfortunately I have not found a site that has people knowledgeable enough to tell us what can be done to get rates lower. Having to wait for Ben and Timmy to tell us is frustrating.hlowe

blindmanJanuary 30th, 2010 at 6:38 pm

not to change the subject, but this from out ofthe blue. hahahhahhahahahaahahah, hehe.http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1421.”Why did stratospheric water vapor drop in 2000?.Tall thunderstorms capable of delivering water vapor into the stratosphere occur primarily in the tropics, particularly over the Western Pacific, where a huge warm pool with very high Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) exists. In 2000, this region experienced a sharp increase in SST of 0.25°C, which has remained consistent though the 2000s (Figure 2). Coincident with this increase in SST came a sharp drop in the “cold point” temperature of the tropopause–the lower boundary of the stratosphere. This reduction in “cold point” temperature meant that less water vapor could make it into the stratosphere over the Tropical Pacific, since more thunderstorm water was getting “freeze dried” out. Did global warming trigger this increase in Pacific SST, resulting in cooling of the “cold point” and less water vapor in the stratosphere? Or was it random variation due to some decades-long natural cycle? This key question was left unanswered by the Solomon et al. study, and observations of stratospheric water vapor don’t go back far enough to offer a reasonable guess. One factor arguing against global warming having triggered a negative feedback of this nature is that prior to 2000, increases in Western Pacific SST caused increases in “cold point” temperatures–behavior opposite of what has been seen since 2000.If global warming has triggered the decrease in stratospheric water vapor seen since 2000, it could mean that the climate models have predicted too much global warming, since they don’t predict that such a negative feedback exists. On the other hand, if this is a natural cycle, we can expect the recent flattening in global temperatures to average out in the long run, with a return to steeper increases in temperature in the coming decades. Climate models currently do a poor job modeling the complex dynamics of water vapor in the stratosphere, and are not much help figuring out what’s going on. Complicating the issue is the fact that about 15% of all thunderstorms capable of delivering water vapor into the stratosphere are generated by tropical cyclones (Rosenlof and Reid, 2008), and tropical cyclones are not well-treated by climate models. We also have to factor in the impact of stratospheric ozone loss, which acts to cool the lower stratosphere. This effect should gradually decrease in future decades as CFC levels decline, though. The stratosphere is a devilishly complicated place that can have a significant impact on global climate change, and we are many years from understanding what is going on there.”

The AlarmistFebruary 1st, 2010 at 2:43 am

In other words, the experts don’t have a clue, but they are going to drag us all kicking and screaming into a lower standard of living on a whim that they know better than the rest of us.BTW, if you cut back on CO2, you are also lowering the standard of living for plants … why do the greens hate the plants?

PeterJBJanuary 30th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

“So we again pose the question: From whence do you derive your authority? What are the principles of your governance? Are the ethics of your governance based upon laws of man or laws of nature? Is there a relevance between the two? We ask you. “@ blindmanIt was a pleasure to read this article however I must add my position, which is that governance todays has been replaced by imposition or if you prefer, rule. Imposition, as you are aware is in principle an act of war.That which we must try to comprehend is the functioning dysfunctionalities between the individual man and the body collective, that is to say, any group consisting of more than one thinking person.In physics, the Law that best describes this is called the Biefeld Brown Effect or where, in similar philosophy, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.Fundamentally, in order for one to belong to a whole collective, that one, as all ones, must sacrifice part of their intellect or a part of that which comprises ones character and hence integrity (or lack thereof); this is what lowlifes call and justify “compromise”. As this emergent phenomenon grows so does its functioning mandate all grow until it becomes something totally out of control and unrecognisable.Men then serve on bended knees, this beast and this beast becomes of one mind, i.e. amoebic or a fungus which in its quest to devour and sustain, becomes parasitical. Please note that all fungus consist of structure and organizations as well as its own unique temporal signature defined in terms of innate and unique time. Its a Principle!Man is then subordinated to the corporation or collective which has been created by his hand and lives to serve loyally, obediently and faithfully in vented apology, lies and sickening hypocrisy and compromise.As that Banker recently said, he was here ‘doing God’s work’ (I paraphrase) and he was serious and didn’t realize that he was referring to his corporation as God – a substitution!Ho hum

blindmanJanuary 30th, 2010 at 8:33 pm

pjb,that a cud to ruminate. moo. or mu.i thought you might enjoy the “thoughtfulcomposition of those questions”. i hear it.this has been a central theme of discussion.perhaps the fundamental technology or first weaponsof war and peace, imposition and tolerance. sacrificeand reward in conceptual identity in relation to the other/s.it is genetically and neurologically encoded in the formbut the form is a great generalist, imaginative and “creative”. but relaxed.and then came industry, etc.and the specialist dependent on the system. in labor,and housing and etc.. thought. man criminalized his ownnature. his creator. the rest , is history. you know..”vented apology, lies and sickening hypocrisy and compromise.”this is my current working definition of money.which could be loosely used as an analogy for citizenship in that other social sphere, you must be reading my mail..quickly, i have internet connection problems, i’ll try to getthis in here…….http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/LvdP/WLWM.html#gentleBeing…Witness to a Last Will of Manby Laurens van der Post 1O, man remember.UPANISHADS…..” First man, as I knew him and his history, was a remarkably gentle being, fierce only in defence of himself and the life of those in his keeping. He had no legends or stories of great wars among his own kind and regarded the killing of another human being except in self-defence as the ultimate depravity of his spirit. I was told a most moving story of how a skirmish between two clans in which just one man was killed on a long forgotten day of dust and heat and sulphur sun, caused them to renounce armed conflict forever. He was living proof to me of how the pattern of the individual in service of a self that is the manifestation of the divine in man was built into life at the beginning and will not leave him and the earth alone until it is fulfilled. It is no mere intellectual or ideological concept, however much that, too, may be needed, but a primary condition written into the contract of life with the creator. “mu.

PeterJBJanuary 30th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

@blindman FYI:… for all my years, no other author has ever brought me such wondrous visions and full comprehension of life, through linear description and always, always with a tear.. than Laurens van der Post.. thank you both

PeterJBJanuary 31st, 2010 at 1:34 pm

“Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it’s realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy. A few have, and others will continue to do so, but too many – both in and out of government – close their eyes to the issue of personal liberty and ignore the fact that endless borrowing to finance endless demands cannot be sustained. True prosperity can only come from a healthy economy and sound money. That can only be achieved in a free society.”http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul110.htmlIdeology allows the illiterate to appear as intellectuals without having to do the work.But, sigh, I’m encouraged that there is at least one:Ho hum

PeterJBJanuary 31st, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Speaking of th’ungs ubiquitous and pervasive, which must be so, a priori, when “leadership” being both incompetent and stupid, is chosen from the popular and well connected (read: influential):”… TARP fraud, accounting fraud, securities fraud, insider trading, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, mortgage servicer misconduct, fraudulent advance-fee schemes, public corruption, false statements, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax-related investigations.”http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/… Regarding TARPAnd consider, if a return to the status quo is coming down the pipe, then all of the above has stopped – SOL – ( a bridge for everyone, FOC, er, really!) which begs the question just what IS coming down the pipe?Ho hum

Little SaverFebruary 1st, 2010 at 8:04 am

As in 1930 you can either listen to the foolish claims that “it will all be ok; we’ll borrow our way to prosperity!” or you can prepare for what is certain to be a cold, hard rain. Summers and Obama remain in denial – a state shared with the rest of the Washington DC establishment that has never been willing to be straight with the people, mostly because doing so in a fashion that doesn’t result in an instant revolution requires that they stomp on the bankster games at the same time that the rest of us are asked for austerity – and that goes directly against the “shower of money” that is emitted from Wall Street and finds its home in the politicians’ pockets.Denninger summed up nicely the thoughts coming up in more and more people’s minds.http://market-ticker.denninger.net/

blindmanFebruary 1st, 2010 at 10:44 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUnVhgCVeZE.conspiracy rap. video may not last long on the tube.weird pulses here and there?.http://open.salon.com/blog/ezili_danto/2009/10/13/oil_in_haiti_-_economic_reasons_for_the_unus_occupation..OCTOBER 13, 2009 4:01AMOil in Haiti – Economic Reasons for the UN/US occupation…..Going shopping in Haiti: [ my comment: “shopping” is a globallyubiquitous phenomena and can be observed almost anywhere where thereare shoppers and goods and services to be shopped. ]”It is organized violence on top which creates individual violence at the bottom. —-Emma Goldman…”For, in the age of humanitarian imperialism, globalization, financial colonialism and neocolonial-violence obfuscated behind forced assimilation and cultural imperialism, what exactly do some whites or modern missionaries go shopping in Haiti for: sex, self-esteem, adulation, fun, challenge, adventure, the boost in serotonin-consumption, to exploit cheap labor, plunder Haiti’s natural resources, for self-improvement, recovery, to use Haiti as in excuse to raise funds for their salaries and living expenses to live the old Dixie’s planters’ life with exploitation black sex on tap, or as an easy way to gain international expert credentials in any field and move up the socio-economic ladder at home and/or for securing the good tropical lifestyle with mountain and oceanfront houses, the waiters, maids, gardeners and seafood they couldn’t obtain as easily in their Euro/US countries where they are the majority, ordinary, can’t use the white privilege inheritance without some scrutiny and are not as exotic and special as in neocolonial devastated Haiti. It’s all hidden, of course, behind the mask of being good humanitarians, altruistic charity workers and helping Haitians. (See also, Ezili Dantò Reviews Travesty in Haiti: A true account of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and drug trafficking (a book by Timothy T. Schwartz, Ph.D.); The Slavery in Haiti the Media Won’t Expose ; Haiti’s Holocaust and Middle Passage Continues; UN Peacekeepers and Humanitarian Aid Workers raping, molesting and abusing Haitian children; The-To-Tell-The-Truth-About-Haiti Forum 2009; I am the History of Rape: HLLN Letter to UN asking for investigative reports on UN soldier’s rapes in Haiti; and, Proposed solutions to create a new paradigm.)”Ezili Dantò/HLLN.

PeterJBFebruary 2nd, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Housing in the ‘house of cards’ model and the continuing Global Economic Collapse and the ‘house of fools model’:From Mish, this day:http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/“Today the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) unexpectedly held interest rates at 3.75%. No doubt this was in fear of the Australia’s enormous housing bubble that exceeds the height of the bubble that long ago burst in the US. 20 economists predicted the RBA would hike. Not a single one predicted anything else.”Appears that ‘quick-draw’ Glen Stevens, the Head of Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has been caught short yet again in his own style of the knee-jerking of interest rates to PC expectations of the faith-based economic model and lack of comprehension of all things economic… no surprises here, at all!At least he is consistent! LOLCommercial Property ‘For Lease’ signs everywhere, I repeat, everywhere and growing daily – as the norm! Ubiquitous and pervasive comes to mind.And, despite all the “just wonderful” growth and wondrous future (at their hand) rhetoric from “leadership” and all that that hangs off it, there is that dry hallowed hollow pre-eminent tight gut feeling, dominating all events domestic and er, international related to growth of economic activities. Like the dawn before the coming of the Grim Reeper – http://fineartamerica.com/images-medium/grim-reaper-katie-alfonsi.jpgJust part of the dynamic. I am always amused when “leadership” quickly claim to be the cause of “good-times” and always more faster to deflect and deny responsibility for crises which, as we all know, are only that which they do – and do exceptionally well! LOLThis is a “leadership” crisis!Ho hum

blindmanFebruary 2nd, 2010 at 8:13 pm

http://www.ratical.org/koya.html.”As an evolutionary biologist, I see globalization as natural, inevitable, and even desirable, as I hope to show. It is already well on its way and is not a reversible process. We are doing some aspects of it cooperatively and well, to wit our global telephone, postal and air travel systems, but the most central and important aspect of globalization, its economics, are currently being done in a manner that threatens the demise of our whole civilization. For this reason, we must become more conscious participants in the process, rather than letting a handful of powerful players lead us all to doom. “”Anyone who knows how to run a household, knows how to run the world.”– Xilonem Garcia, a Meshika elder in Mexico