1 November 2017   Leave a comment

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has published a new report on global emissions of greenhouse gases.  The report is a cautious interpretation of the global effort to reduce these emissions.  On the one hand, the report says that:

“Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are likely to be at the high end of the range of the scenarios consistent with the 2°C and 1.5°C goals respectively, making it increasingly difficult to be on track to meet the 2030 emission goals.”

On the other hand, it also asserts that:

“Global CO2 emissions from energy and industry have remained stable since 2014, but overall greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise slowly.”

Interestingly, the media interprets the report in radically different ways.  National Geographic ran an article on the report entitled “Current Climate Pledges Aren’t Enough to Stop Severe Warming”.  On the other hand, Reuters suggests that the report indicates that “there are signs of a move away from fossil fuels that not even U.S. President Donald Trump can stop, the United Nations said on Tuesday.”

Infographic Emissions Gap

 

The Pew Research Center has released a report on income and wealth inequality in the US since the Great Recession of 2007-09.  The overarching conclusion of the report is that “Wealth gaps between upper-income families and lower- and middle-income families are at the highest levels recorded.”  The details are incredibly depressing:

“Although lower- and middle-income families overall experienced gains in wealth in recent years, they were not large enough to make up for the losses these families sustained during the recession. Thus, in 2016, the median wealth of lower-income families was 42% less than in 2007 and the median wealth of middle-income families was 33% lower. Indeed, the net worth of these families in 2016 – $10,800 for lower-income families and $110,100 for middle-income families – was comparable to 1989 levels.

“The experience of upper-income families is markedly different. Their losses in the recession were smaller and their recovery was stronger. By 2016, upper-income families had a median wealth of $810,800, 10% more than prior to the recession in 2007. Moreover, the median wealth of upper-income families is at the highest level since the Federal Reserve started collecting these data in 1983. Consequently, the recession drove wealth inequality between upper-income families and lower- and middle-income families to the highest levels recorded. In 2016, the median wealth of upper-income families was seven times that of middle-income families, a ratio that has doubled since 1983. Upper-income families also had 75 times the wealth of lower-income families in 2016, compared with 28 times the wealth in 1983.”

The report also breaks down the trends in terms of race and the results are similarly depressing, but consistent with the overall trends.  The report is a very bleak picture of the economic health of American society.

 

Provocatively, another Pew report indicates that most Americans believe that the American Dream is still vibrant although achieving wealth does not seem to be critical to that aspiration.

                  

 

Smile Time

 

Posted November 1, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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