Opinion

The Great Debate

Obama spurs EU on climate, economy

Paul Taylor Great Debate– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

He wasn’t present and he isn’t even in office yet, but Barack Obama was the elephant in the room at last week’s European Union summit on economic recovery and climate change.

The 27 EU leaders knew they needed strong agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and give their recession-hit economies a big fiscal stimulus to make themselves credible partners for the U.S. president-elect.

Europe’s green deal had to be bigger, bolder and more ambitious to avoid being dwarfed when Obama announces his own clean energy program at his inauguration next month.

After the EU agreed on rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020, draw 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources and reduce energy consumption by 20 percent, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso adapted Obama’s campaign slogan to drive home the point.

Will EU live up to its green ambition?

Paul Taylor Great Debate– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

European Union leaders this week face a crucial credibility test of their ambition to lead the world in fighting climate change, just as President-elect Barack Obama is making it a top priority for the United States.

Will the EU give real teeth to its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020, draw 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources and cut energy consumption by 20 percent over the same period, or will it fall short?

EU prosperity at stake in crisis disunity

Paul Taylor Great Debate– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

The global financial crisis has been a stark reality check for the European Union, exposing divergences over economic policy and highlighting the European Commission’s growing difficulty in enforcing common rules.

The European response to the turmoil shows that most real power still resides with member states, not in Brussels. Even after 50 years of integration, governments instinctively reach for national solutions at the risk of harming EU partners.

New economies want power before paying

Paul Taylor Great Debate–Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist, the views expressed are his own–

Anyone who expected the major emerging economies to write fat checks in exchange for being invited to the first G20 leaders’ summit on rescuing the world economy will have been disappointed.

But that should only have surprised the naive.

Despite intensive lobbying by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Saudi Arabia and China, the rising powers were never likely to make a cash down-payment to the International Monetary Fund before getting more seats and votes at the top table.

Green New Deal makes sense but unlikely

paultaylor3sized– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

With Europe and the United States staring recession in the face, a growing chorus is calling for massive public investment in clean, green energy to revive economic growth while fighting climate change.

Under the slogan of a “Green New Deal”, leaders from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier argue that industrialized countries can kill two birds with one stone and create millions of “green collar” jobs.

The world’s expanding top table

– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist, the views expressed are his own –

LONDON (Reuters) – Move over America! Make space Europe! The world’s top leadership table is expanding to bring in emerging powers from Asia, Africa and Latin America to help rescue the global economy.

This week’s Washington summit of 20 nations, called to discuss reforming the international financial system and avert a further worsening of the credit crisis that began in the United States, sets a precedent for a new international order.

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