Sunday, December 29, 2013

Unaccompanied Miners: Bolivia's child laborers

Vice: In 1936, George Orwell visited a coal mine in Grimethorpe, England. “The place is like… my own mental picture of hell,” he wrote of the experience. “Most of the things one imagines in hell are there—heat, noise, confusion, darkness, foul air, and, above all, unbearably cramped space.” Orwell was a lanky guy, 6'3" or 6'2", and I am too. So I was reminded of his comparison recently while crawling through a tunnel as dank and dark as a medieval sewer, nearly a mile underground in one of the oldest active mines in Latin America, the Cerro Rico in Potosí, Bolivia. The chutes were so narrow that I couldn’t have turned around—or turned back—even if I’d wanted to.

Orwell wasn’t the first to equate mines with hell; Bolivian miners already know they labour in the inferno. In the past 500 years, at least 4 million of them have died from cave-ins, starvation, or black lung in Cerro Rico, and as a sly fuck-you to the pious Spaniards who set up shop here in 1554 and enslaved the native Quechua Indians, Bolivian miners worship the devil—part of a schizophrenic cosmology in which God governs above while Satan rules the subterranean...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The makeshift oil industry in rebel-held Syria

Vice: It’s a very different place than it was prerevolution, but it is still an oil town, albeit one of an entirely new sort. Instead of multinational corporations, it’s now the Islamist rebels who are providing jobs to the locals...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

PlayStation 4 Sales and Violence in Eastern Congo

MARCOS MÉNDEZ:   ...the presence of stationary armed groups is strongly associated with increased economic activity in those areas where they can raise taxes and as long as the price of coltan is high. Therefore, if more PlayStations are sold and the price of coltan increases, the violence could also flare up in the villages formerly held by the M23 in the short term, as armed groups will try to “conquer” them and settle there to extract their resources as soon as possible...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Directed Technological Change and Resources

Why Nations Fail: ...dirty technologies are more advanced than clean technologies based on wind, solar power or geothermal (and even, more controversially, nuclear power). Given this state, directed technological change implies that private incentives will encourage firms and researchers to invest more in using and improving these dirty technologies — clean technologies are just too far behind and won’t be competitive, so it wouldn’t make private sense for people to invest much in them... Though the market without intervention fails and fails badly (think environmental disaster), government intervention can be hugely powerful because it leverages the endogeneity of technology and, as Simon posited, the power of the market to generate new technologies. If the government intervenes and subsidizes clean research, then this can powerfully stave off an environmental disaster...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Is Kazakhstan vulnerable to natural resource curse?

UNU-WIDER WP: This study utilizes panel data from 14 provinces of Kazakhstan and investigates the link between the point-source resources (oil and gas) and economic growth via institutional quality. Labour force migration from manufacturing to non-traded sector occurs as a result of wage increase in the manufacturing sector while its production price is determined and pinned down by the world market. On top of that, the manufacturing sector costs increase even more as a consequence of the price increase of non-traded goods used as inputs in the manufacturing sector. Although, the impact of interaction terms of diffuse resource (wheat) production and institutional quality is not observed, diffuse resources deteriorate the economic growth through wheat price volatility. The wheat price spikes lead to institutional inefficiencies. Moreover, rent-seeking activities of intermediaries in agricultural sector further undermine the economic growth.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Pieria:  A combination of technological advances and an abundance of labour combines to drive down the cost of production and increase potential supply exponentially. The only constraints to supply are aggregate demand limitations and volatility in energy costs...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Coal part of solution for climate change, says UN climate chief

Mining Innovation: Christina Figueres, UN climate chief, has said that coal power can be part of the solution in dealing with climate change. At the International Coal and Climate summit in Warsaw, Figueres told delegates that they had “the opportunity to be part of the worldwide climate solution” by turning off old coal plants, capturing and storing carbon from new plants and leaving most of the coal reserves in the ground. While she said that coal power would help alleviate poverty and propel economic growth in poorer countries, the industry “must change”.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Does Oil Price Predict Economic Growth? New Global Evidence

Energy Economics: In this paper, we test whether oil price predicts economic growth for 28 developed and 17 developing countries. We use predictability tests that account for the key features of the data, namely, persistency, endogeneity, and heteroskedasticity. Our analysis considers a large number of countries, shows evidence of more out-of-sample predictability with nominal than real oil prices, finds in-sample predictability to be independent of the use of nominal and real prices, and reveals greater evidence of predictability for developed countries.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Some analytical contributions to a mathematical model of resource curse

ANDREA GENOVESE: In this paper we provide some simple generalizations, that generate all the same results, of a model originally presented, along with its simplified version, in two works of Robinson, Torvik and Verdier about the understanding of the resource curse phenomenon, in particular we study how political objectives influence economical choices. More specifically we show how the extraction rate of various public nonrenewable resources, the rate of employment in the public sector and, last but most important, the overall income of a country depend in some way on the aspiration of the politician in charge to keep his power. In addition we analyze some particular cases, related to the same model, in which extraction or employment rates are fixed to a boundary value. We give also a lot of graphics about the results achieved in this extended work.

Maximizing the potential of resource-driven economies

McKinsey: R

ising resource prices and expanded production have raised the number of countries where the resource sector represents a major share of the economy, from 58 in 1995 to 81 in 2011. That number will rise: to meet soaring demand for resources and replace rapidly depleting supply, the world should invest a total of up to $17 trillion in oil and gas and in minerals by 2030, double the historical rate. In 20 years, almost half of the world’s countries could depend on their resource endowments for growth. Economies with natural-resource endowments have a huge opportunity to transform their prospects. But history suggests that they could all too easily squander the windfall.

To date, resource-driven countries have tended to underperform those without significant resources: almost 80 percent of the former have a per-capita income below the global average. Since 1995, more than half of these countries have failed to match the average growth rate of all countries. Only one-third have maintained growth beyond the resource boom. Recent McKinsey research lays out a new model that could help countries capture the coming resource windfall.

To be included in our roster of resource-driven countries in oil and gas and in minerals, countries had to meet at least one of three criteria: (1) resource exports accounted for 20 percent or more of total exports in 2011; (2) resources on average accounted for more than 20 percent of government revenue from 2006 to 2010; and (3) resource rents were more than 10 percent of GDP in 2010 or the most recent year for which data are available. Also included are countries likely to meet these criteria in the near future.

Resource-driven countries in the low- and lower-middle-income brackets could capture $1.2 trillion to $3 trillion of the $11 trillion to $17 trillion cumulative global investment in resources to 2030. At the high end of this range, these countries would net almost $170 billion a year, more than three times their development-aid flows in 2011. There is some potential to lift almost half of the world’s poor out of poverty. That would be more than the number of people who left the ranks of the poor as a result of China’s rapid economic development over the past 20 years.

To capture that investment, these economies should reframe their economic strategies around three key imperatives: effectively developing their resource sector, capturing value from it, and transforming that value into long-term prosperity. The research explores best practices on six fronts: building the resource sector’s institutions and governance, developing infrastructure, ensuring robust fiscal policy and competitiveness, supporting local content, deciding how to spend resource windfalls wisely, and transforming resource wealth into broader economic development (exhibit)...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Coal's Decline Hits Hardest in the Mines of Kentucky

WSJ: Mine Closures and Layoffs Are Reshaping Region's Coalfields

Africans lament poor transparency over mineral wealth

AFP: Most Africans believe their politicians can commit crimes such as stealing and mismanagement with impunity, according to a survey released on Wednesday of 22 of the continent's natural resource-producing countries. Despite attempts to improve governance and transparency in the natural resources sector, a majority said it was difficult to find out how their government was using money from sectors such as mining and oil production. Yet people in the same countries overwhelmingly said they could speak and vote freely and relied on the local media to hold power to account. "The two streams of perception create interesting challenges for governments trying to negotiate with foreign companies for the best mineral and petroleum extraction deals while maintaining transparency and accountability," the survey, by Afrobarometer, said...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Is Nigeria Missing $50 Billion? Some Considerations

Revenue Watch: Nigeria's latest oil scandal has erupted, and it's a big one. This week, an online media outlet leaked a letter from the country's central bank governor to the president accusing the national oil company of failing to transfer $50 billion in oil revenues to the treasury between January 2012 and July 2013...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Making the case for a sovereign wealth fund

Sam Wills in the Sidney Morning Herald: Holden has announced that its manufacturing in Australia will drive off into the sunset by 2017. GM's chairman Dan Akerson attributed this to the “sustained strength of the Australian dollar [and] high cost of production”, or, in other words, Dutch disease. To prevent other exporters doing the same Australia must strengthen its mining tax and save the proceeds in a sovereign wealth fund...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Making Earth's Riches Work for Poor and Fragile Countries

World Bank webcast: At least 80 percent of countries considered fragile or affected by conflict are home to valuable extractive resources that the global economy hungers for. Earth’s riches like oil, gas, and minerals often fuel conflict, trapping all but the elites in poverty amid vast wealth.
Creating good governance, including citizen participation and ensuring that economic dividends translate into equitable development is key to managing the extractives industry, especially in situations where there is conflict. A high-level panel of industry experts and representatives from CSOs and resource rich nations will grapple with the challenges that define poverty or prosperity in a fragile country.


Prime Minister, the Democratic Republic of Congo
Prime Minister, Timor-Leste
Minister of International Development, Norway
President, Revenue Watch Institute
Executive Vice President for Social Performance, Shell
Chair, the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative
Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, World Bank Group
Newsweek’s Middle East Editor, Author

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Rise of the Resource Curse

Bloomberg: In many ways Mongolia is an outlier -- an exotic tourist destination filled with windswept deserts, nomads and yurts. It might also be a vision of the world's future. With a tiny $10 billion economy and less than 3 million people, Mongolia is fantastically resource-rich. And with borders touching China, Russia and Central Asia, the landlocked nation seems to have won a geographic lottery ticket. It doesn't need to go far to find enthusiastic customers for its immense endowment of copper, gold and other minerals...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fiscal policy in commodity republics

JDE: We revisit the issue of fiscal procyclicality in commodity-rich nations–commodity republics in the nomenclature of this paper. Since commodity prices are plausibly a main driver of fiscal policy outcomes in these countries, we focus on the behavior of fiscal variables across the commodity cycle, in contrast to behavior across the output cycle, which has been the main focus of earlier research on fiscal procyclicality. We present evidence of reduced fiscal policy procyclicality in a number of countries. Our empirical results suggest that improvements in institutional quality have led to a more countercyclical fiscal policy stance in a number of countries. The presence of fiscal rules also seems to have made a difference: countries that use them displayed a larger shift toward fiscal counter-cyclicality between the two episodes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kenya’s Resource Challenge

van der Ploeg and Wills at Project Syndicate: Kenya has been exporting energy for years – in the form of some of the world’s fastest long-distance runners. But Kenya will soon be exporting another, far more profitable kind of energy, as it taps into a string of recently discovered oil fields in its 450-mile-long section of the Great Rift Valley, a fissure in the earth’s crust that runs from Lebanon to Mozambique...

Power in 2030: The Roads We May Take

Daniel Yergin in the NY Times:
• Less than three years ago, a ‘‘nuclear renaissance’’ seemed to be unfolding. Now, in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, the renaissance has turned into a ‘‘nuclear patchwork’’  —  moving ahead in some countries, stalled or shut down in others.
• Five years ago, the United States was suffering an advanced case of ‘‘peak oil’’ and was going to run out of petroleum. Since then, crude oil output has increased by 56 percent and its net oil imports are down 40 percent.
• Four years ago, the cost of solar panels seemed stubbornly high. Then a rapid buildup of over-capacity in China brought costs down by more than 60 percent.
• Half a decade ago, the United States seemed headed to become the largest importer of liquefied natural gas in the world, spending $100 billion a year to make up for falling domestic production. Now, thanks to shale gas, the United States is on track to become an exporter to both Asia and Europe.
• Two years ago, Germany was moving full speed ahead on its Energiewende  —  a quick shift to renewable electricity. Now it is going through a painful reappraisal because of high costs and the loss of international competitiveness to the United States.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Is Saudi Arabia doomed?

Project Syndicate: In the early 1970’s, Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal reportedly confided to senior members of the royal family his fear that, just as in a single generation the country had moved from “riding camels to riding Cadillacs….the next generation could be riding camels again.” His warning seems more apt than ever...

Mining in west Africa

The Economist: Regional governments look for better deals with foreign mining firms...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Large Companies Prepared to Pay Price on Carbon

NY Times: More than two dozen of the nation’s biggest corporations, including the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Do food prices respond to oil-price shocks?

VoxEU: Recently, there has been great concern among policymakers worldwide about rising food prices and increased food-price volatility. It is widely believed that oil and food prices have become closely linked after 2006, owing in part to a shift in US biofuel policies. This column presents evidence that challenges this conventional wisdom.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Urban property taxation, revenue generation and redistribution in a frontier oil city

Cities: Calls for the institution of fiscal regulations in Africa abound. At the urban level, they hinge on well-known contentions that taxes generate substantial local government revenue for infrastructural development and tend to curtail the problem of ‘unearned income’. Based on empirical evidence from Sekondi-Takoradi, an oil city in Ghana, this paper shows that the nature of regulation, especially the exceptions, broader economic systems of how land is held, and social institutions can constrain successful implementation of taxation. Thus, the argument of advocates of land taxation ought to be revised: the efficacy of taxation is obvious, but contingent rather than assured.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

U.S. Frackers, Iran's Oil Men Threaten Energy Cartel

FP: Iran's potential rehabilitation comes at an awkward time for OPEC, the elite club of petroleum-producing states that controls the flow of oil to the world market. The cartel's dominance is already threatened by a boom in oil extracted from shale in the United States, and now the potential return of millions of barrels of Iranian oil to the market looms over Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries as they meet in Vienna this week.
While the global power shift brought on by the U.S. shale boom threatens OPEC from the outside, member countries are threatening it from the inside. Iraq, and now Iran, both want to increase production at a time when global supply is already high, raising the specter that OPEC won't be able to marshal its members into line to control prices. The end result could be lower oil prices next year, according to many analysts...

The Shale Revolution’s Global Footprint

Javier Solana: The shale-energy revolution that started in the US is thus causing sweeping changes worldwide. And incorporating shale gas into the world’s energy mix could help to combat climate change by creating a bridge to a low-carbon future. So long as methane leakage is contained, CO2 emissions from natural-gas combustion can be significantly lower than those caused by reliance on oil.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Iran threatens to trigger oil price war

FT: Tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia over Tehran’s plans to raise oil output spilled into the open on Wednesday as Opec rolled over its production target in the belief a wall of supply will fail to materialise next year...

Enacting the Mines and Minerals Act (2009) of Sierra Leone

African Studies: The inability of most resource-rich countries in sub-Saharan Africa to benefit from their natural resource endowments has continued to confound observers. Although a growing scholarship has covered this problem, scholars have not focused on explaining the architecture of legal regimes that are instrumental in understanding the policies and approaches states employ in governing their resource endowments. Drawing upon participant observation in the field, this article presents a case study of how actors and stakeholders interacted during deliberations leading to the enactment of legislation governing the minerals sector in Sierra Leone in 2009, and the sources and outcomes of conflicting interests or complimentary pressures on the process. The findings show several courses of action that help explain why, and how, developing countries such as Sierra Leone sometimes fail to maximise revenue generation from their mineral wealth.

Resources, Conflict and Governance: a critical review of the evidence

JSRP WP: What are the links between natural resources and violent conflict? How do formal, informal, and ‘hybrid’ governance arrangements shape those links? What is the impact on the position of conflict-affected populations of these arrangements? This paper conducts a systematic review of the evidence base of peer-reviewed and ‘grey’ literature on resource governance in conflict-affected areas. It finds limited consensus on how to approach and conceptualise resource-related issues in conflict-affected areas. Many of the existing theories rely on normative assumptions and lack empirical support. Three areas are highlighted as demanding further research: hybrid resource governance, rebel resource governance, and the position and strategies of conflict-affected populations.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Auctioning Resource Rights

Slides by Hendricks and Porter.

First-best vs. Optimal Carbon Taxation

Alex Schmitt JMP: At what rate should a government tax carbon emissions? This paper analyzes optimal carbon taxation while taking into account that taxes are set by national policy makers. I add three real-world features to a standard climate-economy model, namely distortionary income taxation, lack of commitment to future policies, and no policy cooperation between regions. I find that in a calibrated two-region model, the optimal carbon tax decreases by more than half relative to the global first-best rate as a result of these features, assuming that a regional government only maximizes domestic welfare. The intuition for this result is twofold: first, under unilateral policy making, the government does not take into account climate damages to the rest of the world and therefore faces a lower welfare cost of emitting carbon. Second, resorting to distortionary income taxes reduces the optimal carbon tax further, partly because of a tax-interaction effect. This effect, which is caused by the presence of second-best costs and benefits of reducing emissions, drives a wedge between the optimal tax and the Pigouvian rate. In contrast, if the regional government maximizes global welfare, then the two distortions partially offset each other, resulting in an optimal carbon tax much closer to the global first-best rate.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Resource Dependence and Armed Violence

Defence and Peace Economics: The dependence on oil, gas, and mineral exports arguably has a negative impact on economic growth in resource-rich, developing countries. This article looks at the impact of resource dependence on adjusted net savings (ANS) as an indicator of weak sustainability. Our results, based on a panel of 104 developing countries during the recent commodity price boom, confirm a negative relationship between resource extraction and sustainable development as measured by ANS. We further look at the specific role of armed conflict and armed violence as captured by the homicide rate. Armed conflict, which is positively associated with resource dependence, negatively affects ANS per capita according to both our OLS and instrumental variables (IV) estimates. Similarly, armed violence has a detrimental effect on sustainable development. Our IV estimate suggests that a one-point increase in the homicide rate decreases ANS per capita by $60. Since education expenditures are a critical ANS component, we further examine the impact of resource dependence and violence on human capital. Consistent with previous findings, resource-dependent countries underinvest in education but armed conflict and violence do not affect the instantaneous share of education expenditures, hinting at a detrimental effect working through physical and social capital rather than education.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ghana passes local content law for petroleum activities

Spy Ghana: The purpose of these Regulations is to, among other things provide for –
  • promotion of maximization of value-addition and job creation, through the use of local expertise, goods and services, businesses and financing in the petroleum industry value chain and the retention of benefits within Ghana;
  • development of local capability in all aspects of the petroleum value chain through education, skills and expertise development, transfer of technology and know-how and an active research and development programme;
  • achievement of the minimum local employment and in-country spend in the petroleum industry value chain within a decade of the start of every petroleum license or contract, in the provision of such supplies and services specified in these Regulations;
  • increased capability and international competitiveness of domestic businesses and industrial sectors;
  • creation of petroleum and related supportive industries that will sustain economic development;
  • achievement and maintenance of a degree of influence or control by Ghanaians over development initiatives for local stakeholders; and
  • A rigorous and transparent monitoring and reporting system to ensure delivery of Ghanaian content policy objectives.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

The Guardian: The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms. The analysis ... has been accepted for publication in the journal Climatic Change.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Military Expenditures and Natural Resources

Defence and Peace Economics: It has been argued that the discovery of a new natural resource greatly increases the risk of conflict. This research aims to study the effect of natural resources on military spending, using the data from rentier states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries from 1987 to 2012. In considering the ‘resource curse,’ the types of natural resources matter. Our empirical results demonstrate that the ‘resource curse’ arising from the abundance of certain natural resources, particularly oil and forest resources, leads to increases in military spending. In contrast, the rent from coal and natural gas has a negative impact on military spending, while the rent from minerals has no impact on military spending, controlling for GDP growth and per capita income.

Why do Mexicans get so worked up about their oil?

The Economist: "EL PETROLEO es nuestro!" ("The oil is ours!"). This cry, which rang out in the streets when President Lázaro Cárdenas nationalised the oil industry in 1938, still resonates in Mexico...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Financialization of Commodity Markets

NBER WP: The large inflow of investment capital to commodity futures markets in the last decade has generated a heated debate about whether financialization distorts commodity prices. Rather than focusing on the opposing views concerning whether investment flows either did or did not cause a price bubble, we critically review academic studies through the perspective of how financial investors affect risk sharing and information discovery in commodity markets. We argue that financialization has substantially changed commodity markets through these mechanisms.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Resource-based FDI and Expropriation in Developing Economies

Journal of International Economics: Globally, foreign direct investment (FDI) assets are expropriated more in resource extraction industries compared to other sectors. Despite the higher apparent risk of expropriation in resources, countries more likely to expropriate also have a larger share of FDI in the resource sector. An incomplete markets model of FDI is developed to account for this puzzle. The type of government regime is stochastic, with low penalty regimes facing a relatively low, exogenous cost of expropriating FDI, and country risk is measured by the variation in these costs across different regimes. The key innovation of the model is that the government, before the regime type is known, is able to charge different prices to domestic and foreign investors for mineral rights. Granting cheap access increases FDI and reduces the country’s share of resource rents, increasing the temptation to expropriate in a relatively low penalty regime. In very high-risk countries, subsidizing resource FDI increases the total value of output by raising investment, and the net gains from expropriating in a low penalty regime outweigh the rents foregone under a high penalty one. However, a stochastic resource output price results in relatively low-risk countries restricting FDI inflows to the resource sector instead - "windfall profits" in this sector raise incentives to expropriate when prices are high, yet minimization of the ex ante risk of expropriation is preferred owing to the relatively high penalty for expropriating. These results imply a higher average share of resource-based FDI in countries most likely to expropriate, while resources account for a high share of expropriated assets compared to the sector’s global share of FDI. We show that the model is able to reconcile observed patterns of foreign investment and expropriation for a sample of 38 developing and emerging economies.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Can Negotiating a Uniform Carbon Price Help to Internalize the Global Warming Externality?

Martin Weitzman: Thus far, most approaches to resolving the global warming externality have been quantity based. With n different national entities, a meaningful comprehensive treaty involves negotiating n different binding emissions quotas (whether tradeable or not). In post-Kyoto practice this n-dimensional coordination problem has proven intractable and has essentially devolved into sporadic regional volunteerism. By contrast, on the price side there is a natural one-dimensional focus on negotiating a single binding carbon price, the proceeds from which are domestically retained. Significantly (and unlike negotiated quantities) the negotiated uniform price on carbon emissions embodies an automatic "countervailing force" against free-riding self interest by incentivizing agents to internalize the externality. The model of this paper indicates an exact sense in which each agent's extra cost from a higher emissions price is counter-balanced by that agent's extra benefit from inducing (via the higher emissions price) all other agents to simultaneously lower their emissions. With some further restrictions, the theoretical model shows that population-weighted majority rule for a uniform price on carbon emissions can come as close to global efficiency as the median marginal benefit (per capita) is close to the mean marginal benefit (per capita).

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate-Economy Literature

NBER WP: A rapidly growing body of research applies panel methods to examine how temperature, precipitation, and windstorms influence economic outcomes. These studies focus on changes in weather realizations over time within a given spatial area and demonstrate impacts on agricultural output, industrial output, labor productivity, energy demand, health, conflict, and economic growth among other outcomes. By harnessing exogenous variation over time within a given spatial unit, these studies help credibly identify (i) the breadth of channels linking weather and the economy, (ii) heterogeneous treatment effects across different types of locations, and (iii) non-linear effects of weather variables. This paper reviews the new literature with two purposes. First, we summarize recent work, providing a guide to its methodologies, data sets, and findings. Second, we consider applications of the new literature, including insights for the “damage function” within models that seek to assess the potential economic effects of future climate change.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The kindly assistance of the ‘Angola Lobby’

presseurop: In the second part of its investigation into Angolan acquisitions in the Portuguese capital, French news website Mediapart explores how close ties between Portuguese politicians and the former colony are responsible for "self-censorship" by the Portuguese media, EU and justice system over the issue of the origin of dubious Angolan capital.

Lisbon closes its eyes to “dirty money” from Luanda

presseurop: Battered by the crisis, the ancient city has become a “supermarket” where the new fortunes of the former colony, beginning with the family of President Dos Santos, are increasing their stakes in banks and real estate. In Lisbon, the dubious origin of some of the capital has caused concern, reveals Mediapart...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Why do Corrupt Countries Join EITI?

ERCAS WP: Rules that require actors to make their finances transparent have become a key part of the anti-corruption toolkit, under the assumption that sunlight is the best disinfectant. This logic underpinned the creation, in 2002, of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international club aimed at reducing corruption in oil, gas and mining. The initiative has proved popular, with 16 countries now EITI compliant and 23 others having achieved candidate status. However, as a soft law standard to which countries voluntarily commit, EITI presents a paradox: why would corrupt governments voluntarily expose themselves to sunlight? Does its popularity imply that it is meaningless? We argue that governments join because they are concerned about their reputation with international donors and expect to be rewarded by increased aid. Our quantitative analysis demonstrates that countries do gain access to increased aid the further they progress through the EITI implementation process. However, we also find that EITI achieves real results in terms of reducing corruption. We suggest that this is because EITI requires countries to build multi-stakeholder institutions which improve accountability, and provide qualitative evidence about how this has worked in several countries.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Democracy in Africa

Gylfason on VoxEU: Based on statistical measures of different degrees of democracy vs. autocracy, this article briefly reviews the progress of democracy around the world during the past 212 years, and places democratic developments in Africa since 1960 in that context. Democracy is positively associated with education, which in turn is associated with lower fertility and greater longevity. Democracy is also associated with reduced corruption. Together, these effects suggest democracy should be good for growth – a hypothesis that is borne out by the data.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Extractive industries, development and the role of donors

DfiD WP: Extractive Industries (EI) explore, find, extract, process and market sub-soil assets – oil, gas and mined minerals. EI represent a large and growing activity in many less-developed countries. But natural resource wealth does not always lead to sustainable and inclusive growth. This guide sets out the recent rise in importance of EI to less-developed countries. It provides a framework for thinking about (i) the socio-economic impacts of these industries and (ii) the relationship between EI, host country public policies and donor activities.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

To Keep from Sp-Oiling

The Harvard Independent: So how can we avoid the oil curse? Prime Minister Stoltenberg listed three main strategies that Norway adopted.

Strategy one: Keep expenses below revenue...

Strategy two: Keep people at work... Their current high employment rates, and in particular, a very high female labor employment rate, contributes more to their economy than revenues from gas and oil.

Strategy three: Increase productivity... Prime Minister Stoltenberg says that the government has worked hard to create a good business environment.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to drive climate ambition

Thomas Hale at BSG: In the past, some of the countries and civil society groups most committed to stopping climate change have opposed efforts to bring bottom up actions into the UN talks, seeing them as a distraction from the “real” negotiations. But continuing to talk about a global deal without a strategy for creating the conditions that will make it possible is the real definition of insanity. Bringing bottom-up momentum into the UN talks could be the best way to avoid another 19 years of gridlock.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Effects of Carbon Taxes in an Economy with Large Informal Sector and Rural-Urban Migration

OxCarre WP: I build an equilibrium search and matching model of an economy with an informal sector and rural-urban migration to analyze the e ects of budget-neutral green tax policy (raising pollution taxes, while cutting payroll taxes) on the labor market. The key results of the paper suggest that when general public spending varies endogenously in response to tax reform and higher energy taxes can reduce the income from self-employed work in the informal sector, green tax policy can produce a triple dividend: a cleaner environment, lower unemployment rate and higher after-tax income of the private sector. This is due to the ability of the government, by employing public spending as an additional policy instrument, to reduce the overall tax burden when an increase in energy tax rates does not exceed some threshold level. Thus governments should employ several instruments if they are concerned with labor market implications of
green tax policies.

Fueling the Fire: Pathways from Oil to War

International Security: What role does oil play in international security? While the threat of “resource wars” over possession of oil reserves is often exaggerated, the sum total of the political effects generated by the oil industry makes it a leading cause of war. Between one-quarter and one-half of interstate wars since 1973 have been connected to one or more oil-related causal mechanisms. Eight distinct mechanisms exist: resource wars, in which states try to acquire oil reserves by force; petro-aggression, whereby oil facilitates domestic political control of aggressive leaders such as Saddam Hussein or Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini; externalization of civil wars in petrostates; financing for insurgencies, such as Iranian oil money to Hezbollah; conflicts over potential oil-market domination, such as the United States’ conflict with Iraq over Kuwait in 1991; control over transit routes, such as shipping lanes and pipelines; oil-related grievances, whereby the presence of foreign workers in petrostates helps extremist groups such as al-Qaida recruit locals; and as an obstacle to multilateral cooperation, such as when an importer curries favor with a petrostate to prevent multilateral cooperation on security issues. Understanding these mechanisms can help policymakers design grand strategy and allocate military resources.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

President’s son offers Equatorial Guinea’s national team a bonus of $6,7m if they beat Spain in friendly

Africa is a country: El Mundo now reports that Equatorial Guinea’s only TV station (owned by Teodorin, the President’s son) announced he had told the head of the national football federation that he’d give a bonus of €5 million to the national team if they beat Spain. Of course this would all come out of the government’s budget which the Obiangs treat like their personal bank account. We wonder what he’d offer the team if they win an actual competitive match (he offered €751,265 to the team if they beat Libya in a first round African Cup of Nations tournament match in January 2012). But we also think Teodorin might be bluffing given Spain’s current position in world football against that of Equatorial Guinea–ranked 119th by FIFA. In any case, this is not the first time, Teodorin has acted like the public purse is his private bank account. Just google his name. One Blog listed at least nine of the bizarre things he’s paid with the people’s money (these include: Michael Jackson’s “Bad Tour” glove, a 16th century gold vermeil elephant once owned by Yves Saint Laurent, renting a $700,000 yacht to throw a party for his former rapper girlfriend Eve, houses, expensive cars and a Gulf Stream jet.) To that we can add the record company that produced no music, white tigers he rented for a party (!), 15,000 DVDs (a Guardian reported calculated that’s about 41 years worth of watching films), rugs for his Malibu house ($59,850), and spending $1 million during a night of partying in Cape Town. This is who is hosting Xavi, Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and Casillas et al, for a game on Sunday.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dutch disease and spending strategies in a resource-rich low-income country -- the case of Niger

World Bank WP: This paper examines spending plans suggested by the recent literature regarding Dutch disease and examines their implications to Niger relative to its expanding mineral sector. The key to the benefits of significant mineral revenue lies with the productivity and supply responses of spending. If significant output gain is ensured, then there is little difference across the spending plans in their effects on real consumption. The overshooting of relative prices of the non-tradable sector or the shrinking share of traded sectors in gross domestic product is also ameliorated with greater supply flexibility. Growth paths of alternative spending strategies differ markedly in timing and pattern when spending does not raise productivity. As a caution against expectations that exaggerate the benefits of mineral revenue under all circumstances, the more aggressive spending plan may result in a boom-bust cycle if fiscal adjustments and debt repayments are necessary for any significant borrowing against future revenue and productivity gains are not realized. Using extractive industries revenue for transfers to households would have a greater effect on poverty reduction in the short and medium term but the long-run gains from investment in human and physical capital are likely to offset the initial lack of pro-poor bias. Different strategies differ significantly with regard to risks and required technical implementation capacity and political capacity to sustain a chosen course of action.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Global Warming and Global Security

Project Syndicate: When I was a major general in Bangladesh’s military, my job was to avoid conflict while planning for the worst-case scenario. And, from the perspective of the military, the consequences of global warming constitute the worst-case scenario.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Oil Influences U.S. National Security

International Security: How do states’ oil requirements influence U.S. national security? Although a great deal of attention has focused on “energy security,” scholars and policymakers lack satisfactory answers because little analysis links states’ energy requirements with the probability of military conflict. Developing an analytic catalogue of the ways in which states’ oil requirements could influence U.S. national security is the first step in closing this gap. Possible mechanisms include vulnerable access to oil that threatens a state’s military capability; military policies designed to protect access to oil that threaten another state’s military capability, which in turn create an access-driven security dilemma; and oil reserves that increase the value of territory, generating a conflict that draws in the United States via an alliance commitment. A distinctive feature of this framework is that some of these mechanisms identify threats to U.S. security that flow from another country’s consumption of oil, not from U.S. consumption. Of particular importance is the potential danger that Chinese oil imports create for U.S. security—China’s efforts to protect its sea lines of communication are fueling military competition that could strain U.S.-China relations and increase the probability of conflict between them. Policy options for dealing with these dangers share little with the standard options prescribed for dealing with the dangers related to Persian Gulf oil and U.S. oil consumption.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Macroeconomics of the Arab States of the Gulf

New IMF book: The economies of the Arab states of the Gulf have gone through considerable changes in the last decade, spurred by high oil prices and ambitious diversification plans. Large-scale immigration provided the labour force while capital inflows and financial development leveraged oil wealth to finance diversification. The collapse in real estate prices around the world followed by the global crisis slowed growth and raised questions on the appropriateness of what has been dubbed the 'GCC model'. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have thus far managed to leverage their large natural resource wealth to achieve economic prosperity and finance social advances, and the region also emerged as an important source of funds for the other countries in the Middle East. Nevertheless, the GCC face several challenges. Productivity growth must increase to fully reap the benefits of investment. Jobs must be created for the nationals and the growing youth population. State intervention (which is prevalent, given that oil revenues accrue to the government) must become efficient and be used to diversify and modernize the economy. In addition, the recent crisis highlighted the importance of fiscal, monetary, and financial stability policies to manage macroeconomic cycles. This book analyses these issues and combines data and econometric analysis with theoretical discussions. It concludes with a discussion of the importance of the GCC for the wider region.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies

Foreign Affairs: Since their modern formation in the mid-twentieth century, Saudi Arabia and the five smaller Gulf monarchies -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates  -- have been governed by highly autocratic and seemingly anachronistic regimes. Nevertheless, their rulers have demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of bloody conflicts on their doorsteps, fast-growing populations at home, and modernizing forces from abroad.

One of the monarchies’ most visible survival strategies has been to strengthen security ties with Western powers, in part by allowing the United States, France, and Britain to build massive bases on their soil and by spending lavishly on Western arms. In turn, this expensive militarization has aided a new generation of rulers that appears more prone than ever to antagonizing Iran and even other Gulf states. In some cases, grievances among them have grown strong enough to cause diplomatic crises, incite violence, or prompt one monarchy to interfere in the domestic politics of another...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Flocking to Greenland in the next great contest for mineral riches

Foreign Affairs: Global power brokers once dismissed Greenland as a white blot on the world map. No longer: Investors from Australia to Canada to China are flocking to the island in the next great contest for mineral riches...

Friday, November 8, 2013

U.S. State Fiscal Policy and Natural Resources

OxCarre WP: An analytical framework predicts that, in response to an exogenous increase in resource based government revenue, a benevolent government will partially substitute away from taxing income, increase spending and save. Forty-two years of U.S. state-level data are consistent with this theory. Specifically, a baseline fixed effects model predicts that a 1% point increase in resource revenue results in a .20% point decrease in non-resource revenue, a .50% point increase in spending and a .30% point increase in savings. These results are generally robust to alternative model specifications and the instrumentation of resource-based government revenue. Interaction effects reveal some asymmetry in the fiscal response to revenue shocks according to state political leanings.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Resource-Backed Investment Finance in Least Developed Countries

World Bank: The global financial crisis and shrinking aid flows have led to decreased availability of long-term debt finance for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), particularly for infrastructure. On the other hand, resource-related foreign direct investment (FDI) in those countries has remained substantial. This note presents two models in which the natural resource wealth of LDCs has been used as a means to overcome the dearth of finance sources necessary for non-resource-related investments, and outlines country-specific factors that could tilt the balance between risks and opportunities to the latter.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Extent of Peruvian Amazon lost to illegal goldmines mapped

The Guardian: The area affected by illegal gold mining in Peru's south-eastern Amazon region increased by 400% from 1999 to 2012, according to researchers using state-of-the-art mapping technology.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dynamic Carbon Leakage and Taxation with Depletion and Discounting

Florian Habermacher: This treats various aspects of unilateral carbon taxation in presence of exhaustible fuels. A method to disentangle terms-of-trade and pollution components of the committed optimal unilateral tax on exhaustible fossil fuels is provided. The method is used to replicate the optimal dynamic green tax path in a numerical model. We discuss de nitions of leakage rates and their relation to optimal taxation and welfare. It becomes apparant that leakage e ects are crucially related to intrinsically dynamic aspects such as the time discount rate and future technological and political developments. In a calibrated, dynamic fuel market model with empirical fuel extraction cost curves we study leakage and optimal unilateral tax paths for the OECD. They vary strongly with model assumptions. The strong curvature of marginal oil extraction costs from empirical estimations, and coal liquefaction providing a dirty backstop speci cally for oil, as well as a clean backstop for fossil fuels tend to have strong e ects on the evolution of leakage rates. Leakage e ects can be very large, even if future emissions are discounted. The rates di er strongly across fuels and optimal unilateral oil and coal taxes can have opposite signs; not much is left of the idea that carbon taxes should be uniform. Notably, liquefaction can lead to negative leakage rates from oil emission reductions and consequently optimal oil emission taxes above the WTP for global emission reductions. In presence of an endogenous clean backstop, in contrast, oil savings tend to prolongate the fossil fuel era and increase global fossil fuel emissions. This can imply leakage rates above unity and negative optimal unilateral oil emission taxes, whilst for coal, limited leakage warrants positive taxes. Green Paradox e ects tend to lead to increased present value emissions for anticipated taxes. That the welfare relevant leakage rate even for current taxes varies so strongly with discounting and longer term developments causts doubt on the bulk of the existing leakage literature which limits the attention to the next few decades and hardly aggregates e ects of a current tax in terms of net present value.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Shale Gas and Tight Oil Boom: U.S. States’ Economic Gains and Vulnerabilities

Council on Foreign Relations: The "shale revolution" has stimulated tremendous production of oil and natural gas in the United States. The revolution is the product of advances in oil and natural gas production technology—notably, a new combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. These technological advances combined with high oil and gas prices have enabled increased production of the abundant oil and natural gas resources in the United States...

Given that oil is priced on an international market, increased domestic oil production will not do much to lower prices for U.S. consumers, as any gains in U.S. production will be spread across the international market. Greater reliance on domestic oil resources in substitution for imports will reduce the vulnerability of the economy to oil supply disruptions, although not by much.

Reduced energy use has lessened the vulnerability of the U.S. economy to oil price shocks. A similar phenomenon is seen at the state level, with many state economies having diversified away from energy-using industries. At the same time, the growing prominence of energy production can make states with small, undiversified economies more susceptible to an economic downturn during an energy price decline.

The Economist this week

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Understanding International Commodity Price Fluctuations

OxCarre-IMF intro paper for the JIMF conference volume: An overview is provided of recent work on commodity prices, focusing on three themes: (i) "financialization" of commodity markets--commodities being considered by financial investors as a distinct asset class, (ii) trends and forecasts of commodity prices, and (iii) fracking—a shorthand for the emergence of new sources of energy supply. Lessons are drawn on the role of fundamentals and expectations in driving the rapidly changing nature of commodity markets.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Who owns Russia’s fourth-largest oil company?

FT: "Ownership of Surgutneftegaz is the number one top secret of the Russian oil industry," according to Vladimir Milov, a former deputy energy minister. So who actually controls Russia’s fourth-largest oil company?

Friday, November 1, 2013

The US corporate boom in solar power explained in five charts

Quartz: The news on the green technology front has not been good of late. As we wrote yesterday, funding for new technologies has been declining sharply. But there’s one bright spot for clean energy startups: solar power. Global photovoltaic power capacity is expected to hit a record 36,700 megawatts (MW) this year, according to market research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance. For instance, a study released today reports that by mid-2013 commercial installations of solar panels in the US had already jumped 40% over last year to 3,380 MW...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Let Turkey and Kurdistan Get Closer

Massimo Morelli and Costantino Pischedda in The National Interest: Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s scheduled visit to the White House tomorrow has brought Iraq and its relations with the United States into the limelight. Much of theattention has focused on mounting Sunni resentment towards Iraq’s Shiite-led government, the spillover from the Syrian civil war across the border and the surge of attacks perpetrated by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).Analysts have rightly pointed out the need for reinvigorated US efforts to persuade Maliki to reverse his long-standing exclusion of the country’s Sunni minority and concentration of power in his own hands. However, the ongoing policy debate overlooks the opportunities associated with recent developments in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. These opportunities are real and the Obama administration should capitalize on them...

Oil Security, China, and Taiwan

Council on Foreign Relations: In Oil Security and Conventional War, published today by CFR’s Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Rosemary Kelanic models the fuel requirements in the case of an air war between Taiwan and China (the United States remains on the sideline in this scenario). Fuel could become a significant constraint on both parties, larger than is commonly expected...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Uganda risks 'resource curse' unless it tackles graft

Reuters: Uganda risks falling victim to a "resource curse" when it launches commercial oil production because its government lacks the political will to fight corruption, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. A growing abundance of mineral wealth has often led to more unstable government and falling living standards in countries that lacked the strong state institutions and rule of law to stop a small elite grabbing that wealth for themselves. With Uganda aiming to sell its oil by 2016 at the earliest, critics of President Yoweri Museveni say he has created a culture of impunity for cronies who steal public money...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Climate change: The Science May Be Settled, But the Economics Isn’t

Freakonomics: ... With human culpability all but certain and the potential for warming by 4.5°C in 100 years, economists can’t decide what should be done about it, or even whether any substantial effort should be undertaken to stop it. In delivering a keynote address to a large group of economists this summer, Harvard’s Marty Weitzman described climate change as a hellish problem that is pushing the bounds of economics. A year earlier, addressing an annual meeting of environmental economists, MIT professor Robert Pindyck suggested there was no strong economic argument for costly, stringent policies to halt expected warming. In contrast to the near certainty of climate science predictions, Pindyck said the economics of climate change is not well charted and that the case for aggressive climate policy relies on assumptions not supported by consensus. Pindyck and Weitzman aren’t “denialists” and they do favor some kind of policy response, as does the veteran economic advisor to Republican Presidents and aspirants, Greg Mankiw, a Harvard colleague of Weitzman who has repeatedly taken to the pages of The New York Times to advocate a carbon tax. But with a humility not common in the profession, economists acknowledge that the cost of even 5°C warming over 100 years is uncertain, and, as Pindyck says, perhaps unknowable for the foreseeable future...

Monday, October 28, 2013

The effects of terrorism and war on the oil prices - stock indices relationship

Energy economics: The effects war and terrorism have on the covariance between oil prices and the indices of four major stock markets - the American S&P500 and the European DAX, CAC40 and FTSE100 - using non-linear BEKK-GARCH type models are investigated. The findings indicate that the covariance between stock and oil returns is affected by war. A tentative explanation is that the two wars examined here, predispose investors and market agents for more profound and longer lasting effects on global markets. On the other hand, terrorist incidents that are one-off unanticipated security shocks, only the co-movement between CAC40, DAX and oil returns is affected and no significant impact is observed in the relationship between the S&P500, FTSE100 and oil returns. This difference in the reaction may tentatively be interpreted as indicating that the latter are more efficient in absorbing the impact of terrorist attacks.

Brazil’s oil auction

The Economist: A single bid for a vast field shows the weakness of Brazil’s state-led approach to developing its oil reserves.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pungești-Chevron case. Behind the scenes of a huge scandal

PressEurop: Pungești, a poor town in Vaslui county in eastern Romania, has become the centre of the Romanian revolt against shale gas. Since October 14, locals have been protesting against an exploration project that was to be conducted by Chevron. On October 17, the American company announced that it would temporarily postpone the start of work.

The farmers in Pungești “do not want American prosperity, because their livelihood is dependent on agriculture, and their water would be poisoned,” explains România liberă. However, according to the daily, the protests have been orchestrated by the Orthodox Church, which is attempting to recover land that it had handed over to the American company — an allegation denied by the priests...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Making Earth's Riches Work for Poor and Fragile Countries

World Bank Event: At least 80 percent of countries considered fragile or affected by conflict are home to valuable extractive resources that the global economy hungers for. Earth’s riches like oil, gas, and minerals often fuel conflict, trapping all but the elites in poverty amid vast wealth.

Creating good governance, including citizen participation and ensuring that economic dividends translate into equitable development is key to managing the extractives industry, especially in situations where there is conflict. A high-level panel of industry experts and representatives from CSOs and resource rich nations will grapple with the challenges that define poverty or prosperity in a fragile country.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Are product spreads useful for forecasting the price of oil?

VoxEU: Recent work on forecasting oil prices raises the question of whether oil industry analysts know something about forecasting the price of oil that academic economists have missed. This column presents evidence that they do, but economists know how to improve further on these practitioners’ insights.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How the 1973 Oil Embargo Saved the Planet

Michael Ross in Foreign Affairs: Forty years ago this week, six Persian Gulf oil producers voted to raise their benchmark oil price by 70 percent. Over the next two months, the Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut production and stopped oil shipments to the United States and other countries that were backing Israel in the Yom Kippur War. By the time the embargo was lifted in March 1974, oil prices had stabilized at around $12 a barrel -- almost four times the pre-crisis price. In 1973, that oil shock looked like a triumph for OPEC and a calamity for the rest of the world. The OPEC states enjoyed enormous windfalls and new geopolitical influence, whereas the United States and other oil importers were hit by unprecedented fuel costs and painful recessions.

But over the last four decades, those fortunes have reversed: higher oil prices in the OPEC states have led to spiraling corruption, stagnation, and political repression. In the rest of the world, expensive oil triggered a surge of investment in alternative energy and drastic improvements in energy efficiency. The 1973 oil shock holds an even greater irony. The panic that it induced brought sweeping changes to global energy policies in the 1970s and 1980s in preparation for the imminent depletion of global oil and gas reserves, which turned out to be illusory. The effort to avoid that imaginary crisis helped the non-OPEC countries cope with a real one, leading to energy conservation and investment policies that fortuitously brought about enormous reductions in global carbon emissions. The OPEC members that created the oil crisis inadvertently gave the rest of the world a life-saving head start in the struggle to avoid, or at least mitigate, the threat of catastrophic climate change.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Institutional analysis and the “resource curse” in developing countries

Energy Policy: The present article examines the recent advances reported in the literature regarding the mechanisms underlying the “resource curse” in developing countries. By analyzing the Rule of Law Index, we investigated how the institutions responsible for allocating hydrocarbon royalties can help minimize the effects of the resource curse. We used a qualitative methodology based on case studies. The results show that evidence of legal violations on the part of these institutions and the lack of tools in resource-rich developing countries to uphold basic social and economic rights are associated with the resource curse. Our findings suggest that strengthening the institutions, closer monitoring of oil revenue allocations, and public participation can help to alleviate the resource curse.

World Bank, IMF Leaders Make Economic Case for Climate Action

World Bank: In a panel discussion on climate change, the heads of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund said their institutions will offer the financial support and knowledge to put emerging economies on a green growth path. Panelists from India, Philippines, Peru, and Zambia stressed that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to tackling climate change. World Bank's vice president for sustainable development, Rachel Kyte, said that in addition to local adaptation programs, the Bank is also looking closely at mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why Energy Boomtowns Are a Nightmare for Law Enforcement

The Atlantic: In 2005, the Williston Police Department in Williston, North Dakota, received 3,796 calls for service. By 2009, the number of yearly calls had almost doubled, to 6,089. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, the Williston P.D. received 15,954 calls for service. Williston is in the Bakken region of North Dakota, whose oil and gas reserves have attracted thousands of out-of-state oil workers. And Williston hasn't even seen the worst of it. The police department in nearby Watford City received 41 service calls in 2006. In 2011 they received 3,938. That's life in an energy boomtown.