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Devaluation and discord as the world’s currencies quietly go to war

Guardian climate change - 3 hours 40 min ago
As quantitative easing spreads from country to country, investors are left nervous and discouraged: and stagnation follows

There is every sign that the European Central Bank’s €1.1 trillion stimulus package is going to unleash a long period of beggar-thy-neighbour currency wars. Maybe not quite in the way that wrecked the global economy in the 1930s – triggering retaliatory trade tariffs and sending industrial production spiralling downwards. But enough to dampen the enthusiasm of exporting companies which might be thinking of expanding output.

This is a war that pits the central banks of the world’s major trading blocs against each other and, as currencies yo-yo in value, creates a nervousness and caution among investors that can create years of stagnation.

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Categories: News

From spreading happiness to saving the planet, the rise and rise of Pharrell

Guardian climate change - 3 hours 42 min ago
What is driving Pharrell Williams’s new global conscience as he joins Al Gore’s fight against climate change?

For the American music producer Pharrell Williams it was an I’d like to Teach the World to Sing moment. Last week he and Al Gore, Nobel peace prize winner and former US vice president, announced a concert over seven continents that is designed to build support for a UN climate pact in Paris at the end of the year.

Some uncharitably wondered whether Pharrell had entered into a new, messianic phase of his career – one typically signalled by joining a society of billionaires and retired political figures in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. Others said the global hitmaker was too cute to go along with anything that smacked only of an ego trip.

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Categories: News

Bold ideas for a better world from Davos and beyond

Guardian climate change - Sat, 24/01/2015 - 07:00

The world’s challenges are huge, numerous and looming, and many innovative ideas will be needed to meet them. Contribute yours to our growing list

As the last day of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, kicks off, we asked participants to share the ideas they are taking away about the real things they can do to help solve the world’s top challenges.

But Davos has also taken plenty of flack for its exclusivity, and we also want to democratize the discussion.

Related: Economic inequality for women costs $9tn globally, study finds

Related: Helen Clark: 'Many things blighting our world are linked to inequality'

Related: From water to weather: where to make money sustainably

#GSBDavos we're about to fall off the #climatechange cliff. You will all suffer unless you 'own' water. Pledge #ZeroCO2 without hesitation!

Why business leaders should think like #scientists @AliceGast @imperialcollege http://t.co/mybD1WKexK #wef15 pic.twitter.com/FfoeHIquv3

Paul Polman: business has for too long been the silent majority. Need to raise voice for #climate action. Citing @WMBtweets at #wef15 @Davos

To protect our economy, we must protect our environment. It's not just common sense, it's business sense http://t.co/kfrGZgqb4g #WEF15

The business of business is not business. The business of business is improving the state of the world. Stakeholders=New shareholders #wef15

Corporations have rights. Now we need a global treaty on their responsibilities http://t.co/waied6JSf1 #wef15

Related: ‘It is profitable to let the world go to hell’

Leaders, listen carefully to the voices of the people! That's inclusivity - Ban Ki-Moon #wef15 #climateaction http://t.co/wDYvr3SGlK

Capitalism left unchecked is a race to the bottom. We need a new compassionate capitalism balancing shareholders with stakeholders. #wef15

#GSBDavos pay a #livingwage and reduce workforce #inequality between highest & lowest paid. Get loyalty from the right people.

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Categories: News

Readers respond to Davos: 'act in the interest of the next seven generations'

Guardian climate change - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 21:35

We’re at the World Economic Forum this week, and we asked you what you’d like to say to business delegates. Here are some of your responses

Approximately 2,500 global government and business leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland, this week for one of the hottest tickets in international relations.

Their stated aim is to bring business and politics together to solve global problems. While the meeting has garnered criticism as a “summit for the 1%”, it provides a rare opportunity to get in front of some of the world’s most influential people.

I would urge enterprises to take a risk on sustainable investments that take more than one year to show returns.

I’d also ask them to consider how inequality will increase if climate change is not attended urgently and how markets will collapse if inequality is not levelled.

I would ask business leaders to follow the native American Indians who sought to act in the interest of the next seven generations.

Related: Let's face it: we have to choose between our economy and our future

I would ask business leaders to shift to renewable energy sources for 80% of their energy requirements in the next 10 years, covering energy requirements of every aspect of their business lifecycle - from procurement, to production, to marketing & distribution, to end lifecycle.

Davos delegates should pledge free, quality education for all. They should also commit to increased taxes on the wealthy and to require corporations to fund healthcare and education.

Pledge to leave our planet!

The only contribution, the only benevolent gift the world wishes to have bestowed upon it from these egomaniacs is to go away.

Food is a human right. 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished. Food has already been identified as a source of global conflict.

Climate change is predicted to have devastating impacts on yields and nutrition. Our global health already has significant issues and the current generation are predicted to have shorter lives than their parents.

Related: Head of UN climate talks: ‘the pain in the shoe is not great enough'

1. Pledge that each process, product, services will be delivered which do not cause negative climate change

2. Pledge pledge to make each individual at the age above 18 as employable by imparting certain skills

Given the new fiscal space opened up by the oil price collapse, the time is now right for a bold pledge from business to get behind a global carbon tax. If it has to happen, and happen soon, why not now?

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Categories: News

Obama's India visit: Hopes for clean energy and climate deals

Guardian climate change - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 15:22

US president and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi expected to roll out a raft of clean energy initiatives for India’s polluted cities, with a post-2020 climate deal also high on Obama’s agenda

Barack Obama was advised, only half-jokingly, to wear a gas mask when he appears as guest of honour at India’s Republic Day parade on Monday. The air pollution in Delhi and other Indian cities has become that bad.

Related: Obama jets off to Delhi as US and India enter new era of goodwill

Related: Can Narendra Modi bring the solar power revolution to India?

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Categories: News

With this attack on community energy the 'big six' win out over big society | George Monbiot

Guardian climate change - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 12:31

By changing the rules, this government has sabotaged the promise of a UK community energy revolution and secured the dominance of the ‘big six’ energy companies

You would think the government had invented community. When David Cameron became prime minister, he announced that “my great passion is building the big society ... We need to create communities with oomph – neighbourhoods who are in charge of their own destiny, who feel if they club together and get involved they can shape the world around them.”

Since then, ministers have scarcely been able to finish a sentence without using the word community. But their commitment turns out to be as hollow as the other famous claim Cameron made in his big society speech: “we’re all in this together”.

Local communities will be able to take control of their energy bills and help transform the energy system ... In the future, the generation of electricity by communities themselves could put pressure on energy suppliers to drive down prices, creating warmer homes, cutting carbon emissions and diversifying the UK’s energy mix.

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