Breakingviews

How Hinkley delivers a bad deal for everyone

September 15, 2016

The approval of Britain’s new nuclear power plant puts politics ahead of sense. Consumers could end up paying 15 bln pounds in today’s money. New ownership tests erode the country’s reputation for openness. Brexit has undermined Britain’s bargaining power.

China’s car scam shows best and worst of subsidies

September 15, 2016

Lavish grants for electric vehicles nurtured new technology and a massive market. The largesse came at a price, though, with many millions of dollars lost to scammers faking sales to claim cash. There may yet be a happy ending for home-grown heroes like BYD.

RWE and DONG at opposite ends of green power shift

May 12, 2016

The soon-to-IPO Danish utility DONG embraced renewable energy early. The result is strong growth and healthy returns. Late movers like German RWE are suffering badly. Its shares have more than halved in three years. Capital is leaving the old and dirty, and going into the new.

Daimler’s emissions snootiness grinds to a halt

April 22, 2016

The German carmaker has vigorously refuted environmentalists’ accusations it is another VW. Now U.S. authorities have requested an emissions probe. It’s possible that any infringements are technical, relating to disclosure oversights. But shareholders have grounds to feel edgy.

VW’s U.S. lawsuit shows reboot is only half done

January 5, 2016

A strongly worded government complaint has undermined Volkswagen’s progress in tackling its emissions scandal. U.S. laws are tougher than in Europe, and the German carmaker’s lobbying clout there is smaller. VW needs drastic steps to win goodwill.

Paris deal gives green light to eco-investing

December 14, 2015

The climate goals agreed by 195 countries are laudably ambitious. Scepticism over governments’ ability to hit them is warranted. But the accord should encourage venture funds, bond- and shareholders to stump up more capital. And making an impact is not as hard as it may sound.

Breakdown: Uneven CO2 prices are better than none

December 11, 2015

Plenty of governments and executives support a uniform carbon emissions cost. Yet it’s unlikely one will emerge from the U.N. climate change confab. That’ll leave a hodge-podge of local schemes in place. As the need for energy innovation rises, it beats having nothing.

BHP’s Brazil disaster points to dividend cut

November 30, 2015

The Anglo-Australian miner needs to conserve cash to pay for the Samarco dam disaster in Brazil. Forecast earnings already fall short of the $6.5 billion it paid shareholders last year. BHP would be wise to get ahead of the curve and scrap its commitment to progressive payouts.

VW victims eclipsed by firms that bet on lawsuits

November 17, 2015

A firm backed by hedge fund Elliott is bankrolling a case claiming the carmaker duped shareholders. There are other customer and investor actions, too. The financial muscle makes huge awards more likely. But the real losers may take a back seat if court fights are just business.

Cox: Drought, not just of ideas, challenges Africa

By Rob Cox
November 12, 2015

The sub-Saharan region, once a bright spot for global growth, faces a worrying triple whammy. A lack of rainfall threatens agriculture and hydropower. Low commodity prices are taking a bite. Fold in sliding currencies, and inflation threatens stability and economic prospects.