- A new NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) report in the U.S. shows that drought conditions are expected to continue through 2022, directly driven by climate change.
- The U.S. passed their $1.2T Infrastructure Bill, which is… good news? Seems like it is coming at the expense of the Build Back Better bill, which had more investments in social infrastructure. Either way, the US definitely needs the investments, so that’s okay I guess.
- In worse news… it seems that the Republican-ran Supreme Court in the US is going to attempt to take control of the US’s Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to do, well, protect the environment (by regulating greenhouse gases)?
- Only 2% of the Great Barrier Reef remained “untouched by bleaching” with “the frequency, intensity and scale of climate extremes… changing rapidly”. Kind of not good for a natural area that supports 60,000 jobs? Nothing to worry about folks.
- Rolling with economic effects, climate change isn’t probably going to be great for the creditworthiness of countries, “Costs related to the weather are becoming more material for sovereign risk and this will accelerate as destructive events become increasingly frequent and severe” HEYOOO
- ExxonMobil - the company that definitely isn’t lying to you, or ruining the planet to increase their bottom line - warned this week that “some of its oil and gas properties may face impairment due to climate change”. Kind of rich for a company that has lobbied for so long against climate provisions just be like “yeah… so… about that climate thing”.
Carbon emissions fell during the pandemic (obviously), but now they’re right back up to where they started. Cool cool cool.
- In terms of COP26, there’s been a lot of announcements - and if they are followed up on, two of the more consequential ones could be extremely beneficial: India announcing their plans to be Net Zero by 2070, and a group of about 20 countries (incl. Canada) pledging to cut financing of foreign fossil-fuel projects next year (I mean, great, but can we talk about domestic funding, or no?)
- Additionally, I think it’s good if we all just remember that pledges are just pledges - action is what counts. Or in other words, COP26 has been “more hot air than progress”.
- Speaking of greenhouse gases, the Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk is getting into air freight - interesting, interesting.
China’s State Grid Corp warned of a “tight balance” between supply and demand for electricity this coming winter. Seems as though the blackouts have eased in China, allowing some manufacturing capacity to come back online. However, more blackouts mean reducing the industrial capacity of arguably the most important nation for the global economy - say nothing about the consumerism that gets us here.
Expect food prices to go up, the head of one of the world’s largest fertilizer companies said. This comes on the heal of rising natural/fossil gas prices, and fertilizer requires a lot of energy (natural/fossil gas) to be produced. This likely won’t be good news for anyone, but especially not for those in food insecure regions.
- Ah food… let’s stay on this for a second. Bloomberg had an interesting article on how Meat Prices are rising due to an inability of meatpacking companies to attract workers, which I mean shouldn’t surprise anyone given the industry’s complete abdication of responsibility during the pandemic, leading to numerous deaths of workers. I think there’s a lot here; first, I think we should all read Matt Stoller’s piece on the monopolization of the cattle industry. Second, I think it’s important to recognize that coverage of the meatpacker’s failures has been… lenient to say the least. Third, and finally: the workers at Cargill’s High River, Alberta meatpacking plant have delivered a 97% strike mandate - this could be something interesting to watch.
- Sticking on the point about strikes/unions/labour for a second, I think many companies are realizing the benefits of a unionized, happy workforce. It’s not only great for workers - giving them some power - but it can be a competitive advantage. Take UPS vs. FedEx: “FedEx racked up $450 million in extra costs during its latest quarter because of labor shortages. UPS’s higher-paid unionized delivery drivers helped it avoid such penalties.” While there are, of course, many factors, UPS’s share price is up 30% since Dec 31st, 2020, while FedEx’s is down about 10%. Of course, I’m sure UPS would love to pay lower wages and less benefits, but seeing as they have a higher return on invested capital and better income… would they really?
- ProPublica had fantastic piece on the ridiculousness that is Covid-19 testing in the United States, which basically comes down to… one guy, in charge of the testing program for the country, who approved tests from the two companies that last employed him (but no one else?). “Abbott CEO Robert Ford said the company anticipated dropping its price to maintain its market share, but wouldn’t if competition didn’t make it necessary.” Damn, wonder why there’s no competition.
- Since I love to talk about supply chains, Paul Berger’s piece in the WSJ last week about a shortage of truck chassis causing delays at ports is another interesting aspect to add to the Great Supply Chain Delays of 2020-?
- Speaking of, this Medium piece from truck driver Ryan Johnson is a great look at the perspective of one of those supplying the ability to get out of these Great Supply Chain Delays. Short summary: it’s going to take a lot of energy, effort, labour, and finance.
That’s all I got this week, folks! Hope you enjoyed… if that’s even possible with this stuff. Have a good one :)