The Great Debate

Comfortable conservation and global warming

November 27, 2009

kemp.jpg— John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

Energy efficiency will have to make the single most-important contribution if policymakers are serious about limiting greenhouse gas emissions and dampening growing demand for fossil fuels.

from Environment Forum:

Trade lessons for climate negotiators

November 16, 2009

- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

As hopes for reaching a binding agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the Copenhagen summit die, climate negotiators could learn useful lessons on how to structure the negotiations from the multiple rounds of trade talks within the GATT/WTO framework.

Goldman, Morgan Stanley shrink commodity books

November 16, 2009

kemp.jpgJohn Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

Both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley reduced the size of their commodity trading books during the third quarter, according to their latest filings on Form Y-9C (“Consolidated Financial Statements for Bank Holding Companies“):
While the gross fair value of physical commodity inventories held on their balance sheets rose — sharply in Goldman’s case — the gross fair value of the commodity contracts was down.

Defeats doom climate bill in ’09

November 5, 2009

John Kemp— John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

Resounding defeats for Democratic Party gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey on November 3 have killed any lingering hope Congress will enact climate change legislation this year, and may doom the prospect of passing a cap-and-trade bill this side of the 2010 mid-term elections.

Buffett uses BNSF to bet on coal

November 3, 2009

John Kemp(John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own)

Warren Buffett’s acquisition of the remaining 77.4 percent of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad his Berkshire Hathaway does not already own looks like a strategic bet that America’s future energy needs will be met, in large part, through a massive expansion in coal-fired power generation coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

BoE extends QE, fears 1930s re-run

August 6, 2009

John Kemp

— John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

The Bank of England’s decision to continue with its asset purchase programme, or quantitative easing (QE), at the rate of 50 billion pounds per quarter in Oct-Dec, unchanged from Jul-Sep, shows bank officials are more worried about ending support for the recovery too soon than about risking inflation by leaving it too late.

from Commentaries:

CFTC prepares to recant speculators’ influence

July 29, 2009

johnkempcrop-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Like Archbishop Thomas Cranmer before he was burned at the stake for heresy, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) seems about to make a dramatic recantation.

from The Great Debate UK:

G8 signals end to dollar supremacy

July 3, 2009

john_kemp- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own. -

Reports that China has asked for a discussion about reserve currencies at next week's expanded Group of Eight summit in Italy has added to confusion about whether the country wants to dethrone the dollar from its status as the world's sole reserve currency. But the very fact the issue has been pushed onto the agenda suggests that a fundamental shift is underway.

Reflections on Iran

June 26, 2009

John Kemp— John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own —

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of much western comment on the unfolding crisis in Iran has been its over-simplification and lack of historical awareness. Perspectives are shaped by a single issue (western concerns about whether Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program) and the desire to draw a simple Manichean distinction between good guys (liberal-democrats) and bad ones (clerical-authoritarians).

Writing history – the Panic of 2008

June 22, 2009

John Kemp Great Debate— John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

Economic history is the only field of human endeavor where the past changes as much if not more than the present and the future. Policymakers and practitioners struggle to define and write a “narrative” of the past as a means to control how policy responds to current and future problems.