29 January 2019   1 comment

As temperatures begin to plummet across North America, it is almost inevitable that climate change deniers will use the cold weather as a justification for their continued disbelief. But scientists are in wide agreement that the cold weather is a consequence of climate change since the difference between warm and cold temperatures in the Arctic is responsible for the wandering jet stream that is bringing cold weather down from the arctic. It will be cold in South Hadley, but it will be warmer on Svalbard Island, 41.4F, very close to the North Pole.

Berkeley Earth, a California-based non-profit research organization, has just published its global mean temperature report for 2018. The report was supposed to be published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration but that proved to be impossible because of the shutdown of the US government. The conclusion of that report is straightfoward:

“We conclude that 2018 was likely the fourth warmest year on Earth since 1850. Global mean temperature in 2018 was colder than 2015, 2016, and 2017, but warmer than every previously observed year prior to 2015. Consequently, 2016 remains the warmest year in the period of historical observations. The slight decline in 2018 is likely to reflect short-term natural variability, but the overall pattern remains consistent with a long-term trend towards global warming.”

Surface Temperature Predictions for 1 February 2019

The evidence suggests that winters will be quite different by the end of this century. Generally speaking, cold areas warm faster than warm areas.

In hearings before the US Senate, the top intelligence officers in the Trump Administration took issue with many of President Trump’s assessments of threats to the US. Politico describes the differences:

“America’s top intelligence official on Tuesday publicly broke with President Donald Trump on several critical foreign policy fronts, saying North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear weapons, Iran is not yet seeking a nuclear weapon and the Islamic State terrorist group remains a forceful presence in Iraq and Syria.”

President Trump has stated that ISIS had been defeated in Syria, that there is great progress in the nuclear talks with North Korea, and that Iran has violated the nuclear agreement with the US and other great powers. The issue is not so much that Trump’s pronouncements seem to be misinformed–presumably there are always disagreements within any administration. The larger issue is that US friends and enemies do not know which American voice to believe.

The McKinsey Global Institute has published a report on the current state of globalization which argues that the pace of globalization has slowed considerably since the Great Recession of 2008-09. Visual Capitalist summarizes the key points of the report as follows:

1. A smaller share of goods is traded across borders
Trade is still growing in absolute terms, but a smaller share of the physical goods made worldwide is now being traded. More specifically, during the span of 2007 to 2017, gross exports as a percentage of gross output decreased from 28.1% to 22.5% globally.

“2. Services trade is growing 60% faster than goods trade
When we think of trade, we often focus on the trade of physical goods (i.e. autos, aerospace, oil). However, services are becoming increasingly important to the global economy – and if accounted for properly, it’s possible that the value of services is closer to $13.4 trillion, which is higher than the total goods trade.

“3. Labor-cost arbitrage has become less important
It’s a common perception that trade flows are driven by companies searching for low-cost labor. However, in value chains today, only 18% of the goods trade is based strictly on labor-cost arbitrage.

“4. R&D and innovation are becoming increasingly important
Companies are spending more on R&D and intangible assets such as brands, software, and IP as a percentage of overall revenue. This spending has increased from 5.4% to 13.1% of revenue over the period of 2000-2017.

“5. Trade is becoming more concentrated within regions
The geography of global demand is changing as emerging markets consume a higher percentage of total goods. Since 2013, intraregional trade has increased by 2.7 percentage points – a reverse from the longstanding trend.”


The report supports the analysis provided by The Economist. There is no question that the slower pace of globalization has been brought about by the decline of incomes among the middle and lower classes and the consequent rise of protectionist measures typified in the US-China trade war.

Posted January 29, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “29 January 2019

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  1. Pingback: 30 January 2019 | World Politics News

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