Yesterday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an alarming report stating that it is ‘now or never’ to avoid a climate disaster. Their publication – which involves the expertise of thousands of leading scientists said that in order for global warming to stay below the 1.5C limit (above pre-industrial levels), greenhouse gasses must peak by 2025. Additionally, the report identified that coal would have to be phased out (being reduced no less than 95% by 2050) while investment to low or zero carbon alternative energy sources needed to be six times higher. The report also stated that Methane emissions would need to be cut by 33% and carbon dioxide removal methods would likely need to be emplace in order to keep targets within range. Overall, it looks as though the target to keep global warming below the 1.5C threshold will be missed – with the report stating that global greenhouse emissions would have to be cut by around 43% by 2030 (against 2019 levels) to hit the target.Ironically, the report which focuses on ‘the need to act now’ was delayed because of internal rife, primary between China and the US (who collectively emit around 35% of the worlds CO2 emissions) clashed over the semantics and responsibilities vis-à-vis developing and developed economies.
Hence, the release of this report will put further pressure on both the public and private sector – as well as individuals – to do more to tackle global warming and avert a climate disaster.
Over the past 24 hours, the global community reacted as further evidence emerged of Russia’s heinous acts of violence against Ukrainian civilians which has included massacres, rape, torture, and pillaging. Yesterday, President Zelensky visited Bucha (to the northwest of Kyiv) – the site of horrendous atrocities and mass graves – which emerged as some Russian forces went into retreat. Subsequently, Members of the international community have condemned the violence with Biden calling for Putin to face a war crimes trial and the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres calling for an independent probe.
Elon Flies Into the Twitter Nest
Yesterday, news emerged that Elon Musk bought a 9.2% passive stake in Twitter with shares worth $2.9bn. This made Musk the largest stakeholder in twitter (far above its founder Jack Dorsey’s 2.25% stake) with the pre-market trading price of the social media platform increasing 24%. Musk is of course the world’s richest person with a net worth estimated to be around $289bn (roughly the annual GDP of Columbia or Finland). This puts him around $100bn clear of the next richest person, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with around $150bn of his wealth being derived from his 17% stake in Tesla.
On the subject of Billionaires, according to Forbes there are currently some 2,750 billionaires whose combined wealth outnumbers ½ of the world’s population. Indeed, over the course of the pandemic, the ten richest people doubled their net collective worth at a rate $1.3bn a day meaning that the ten richest people are now worth $1.5tn (roughly the annual GDP of Brazil). Hence, as Musk flies into the nest of twitter, all eyes will be focused on the extent to which he will be able to use his leverage to shape the social media giant…and its share price.
Despite the lack of escalation in Ukraine, the Euro continues to trade on the backfoot. The currency has lost more than 4% against the Dollar since the start of the war and the recoveries that it sees are fleeting – and also being seen as opportunities for traders to jump in on the short trade. The aversion to the single currency is not just being riven by the war and we are now looking at risk sentiment around the French election as a partial driver for the weakness. Polls are showing a resurgence in popularity for far-right leader Marine le Pen, who has been striking a chord with the electorate with her persistent narrative around the cost of living crisis that the country is facing. Ms Le Pen is hoping it will be third time lucky for her to take power and she is likely to make it past the first round of voting that takes place this weekend, as she’s polling at around 21.5% of the vote, compared to Emmanuel Macron’s 28%. Ms Le Pen potentially has more to gain though, as extreme-right candidate Eric Zemmour’s hopes of making it through are fading, but with 11% of the vote potentially moving from him to Le Pen, there is potential for the incumbent to be leapfrogged. Mr Zemmour’s extreme views had taken a lot of far-right support away from Ms Le Pen, but in doing so he helped her become part of the ‘mainstream’ political conversation and normalised her own views. Meanwhile Emmanuel Macron is slipping in the polls, partly because he is refusing to debate candidates and is instead focusing his attention on the war in Ukraine, but as the Polish PM stated yesterday “how many times have you negotiated with Putin, what have you achieved? Have you stopped any of the actions that have taken place?… One should not negotiate with criminals; one should fight them… nobody negotiated with Hitler. Would you negotiate with Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot?”
Channel 4 to be Privatised
Nadine Dorries – the Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – has committed to privatising Channel 4 by the next election, after four decades in public ownership. Dorries is maintaining that the channel can no longer competitively compete in an increasingly global industry with the rise of multinational streaming companies and switch to online viewing. Indeed, in the last year, Channel 4 has lost around 3.7% of the UK’s total audience share which now stands at around 10%. This loss is of course significant given that unlike subscription services, 90% of Channel 4’s revenue comes from advertising. Hence, the government is hoping to receive £1bn from the sale, but the greatest question remains…who would take it? Given Murdoch’s existing footprint, it is unlikely that the CMA would allow for his empire to swallow up Channel 4, and there is some speculation over whether an existing streaming service could purchase it.
Nevertheless, the plans have proved subject to considerable controversy, with the shadow Secretary calling it “cultural vandalism” and many concerned about how it could fundamentally change the service and impact its neutrality.
Have a great day.