11 July 2019   Leave a comment

MIT’s Technology Review has a very short article which suggests that global spending on renewable energy sources is slowing dramatically. According to the report:

“Worldwide funding of clean-energy projects fell to its lowest level in six years, in a staggering blow to the battle against climate change.

The findings: BloombergNEF found that global investments in solar, wind, and other clean energy sources added up to $117.6 billion during the first half of 2019, a 14% decline from the same period last year and the lowest six-month figure since 2013.

“China saw a 39% drop in investments, as the nation eases up on its aggressive solar subsidies to get costs under control. But spending also declined 6% in the US and 4% in Europe, part because of policies that are being phased out and weak demand for additional energy generation in mature markets.

It may be the case that the slowdown is associated with the tariffs that the US has imposed on solar panels. Whatever the reason, the new data are dispiriting. A new study indicates how some major cities will be affected if temperatures continue to rise.

The US has tried very hard to assure that its sanctions against the sale of Iranian oil are universal. It has threatened to sanction any state or company that purchases Iranian oil, even if those states do not agree with the US policy of “maximum pressure”. By and large, most entities have decided that the US market is more important to them than Iranian oil and have grudgingly gone along with the US sanctions. But China seems to be purchasing Iranian oil which creates a serious problem for the US. Sanctioning China would jeopardize the trade talks that are going on, as well as a number of other issues about which the US and China disagree. Politico reports:

“But Beijing is a tougher customer. In June, a tanker carrying up to a million barrels of Iranian oil docked near the Chinese port city of Qingdao, drawing complaints from Republican lawmakers, who demanded the Trump administration pressure China to stop. China has also reportedly welcomed a second batch of Iranian oil since its previous waiver expired in May — this one a 2-million barrel shipment that docked in Tianjin.

“China’s continuing defiance would seem to undercut the Trump administration’s claim that its efforts to squeeze Iran are working. In a recent speech, national security adviser John Bolton announced that ‘all significant reduction exceptions on Iranian oil sales have gone to zero.’”

China’s defiance could encourage other countries to import Iranian oil if the US decides not to sanction China. The US has a very interesting decision to make. Interestingly, Iran is now closer to being able to build a bomb than it was when Mr. Trump took office. It is hard to imagine a less effective policy over an extended period of time. Iran’s strategy of slowly testing the limits of the JCPOA is very risky, but it may ultimately show the hollowness of the US strategy of sanctions.

Posted July 11, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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