June 14, 2021

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A Call to End New Oil and Gas Projects to Meet Climate Goals: Live Updates

5 min read
Credit…Alec Jacobson for The New York Times

Investment in new oil and natural gas projects must stop from today, and sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles must halt from 2035. These are some of the milestones that the International Energy Agency said Tuesday must be achieved for the global energy industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

These conclusions seem surprisingly stark for the agency, a multilateral group whose main mandate is helping ensure energy security and stability. But it has increasingly embraced a role in combating climate change under its executive director, Fatih Birol.

In a news conference, Mr. Birol said he wanted to address the gap between the ambitious commitments on climate change that government and chief executives have been making and the reality that global emissions are continuing to rise strongly.

Just a year ago, the agency was deeply concerned about the disruptive implications of the collapse of the oil market from the effects of the pandemic. At the time, Mr. Birol referred to April 2020 as “Black April.”

Now Mr. Birol’s analysts are outlining in a report what looks like decades of disruption for the global energy industry. Oil production, for instance, will need to fall from nearly 100 million barrels a day to around 24 million a day by 2050, the report says.

The agency acknowledges that the disruption for the global energy sector, which produces three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions, could threaten five million jobs. “The contraction of oil and natural gas production will have far-reaching implications for all the countries and companies that produce these fuels,” the Paris-based group said in a news release.

Oil-producing countries may see different affects. This report, for instance, is likely to lead to further calls from environmental groups for the British government, which heads the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), to end new oil and gas drilling to set a global example. A halt would threaten jobs in Britain’s declining but still large oil and gas industry.

On the other hand, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are likely to see their share of a much-reduced market rise from about a third to more than 50 percent, the agency said, as nations with less efficient, higher-cost oil industries cut back.

At the same time, Mr. Birol said, there would be major economic benefits from the trillions of dollars in investment in wind, solar and other sources of renewable energy. Doing so could create 30 million jobs,and add 0.4 percent year to world economic growth, he said.

Travelers at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Prices are rising on everything from airline tickets to used cars as the economy reopens.
Credit…Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times

Turn on the news, scroll through Facebook, or listen to a White House briefing these days and there’s a good chance you’ll catch the Federal Reserve’s least-favorite word: Inflation. If that bubbling popular concern about prices gets too ingrained in America’s psyche, it could spell trouble for the nation’s central bank.

Interest in inflation has jumped this year for both political and practical reasons. Republicans, and even some Democrats, have been warning that the government’s hefty pandemic spending could push inflation higher. And as the economy gains steam, demand is coming back faster than supply, The New York Times’s Jeanna Smialek reports.

The Fed has big reasons to avoid overreacting: Inflation been a feature of the economic landscape since the 1980s.

But prices have stayed in control for so long partly because of muted inflation expectations. After decades of Consumers and businesses have learned to expect slow, steady gains year after year. Shoppers who don’t anticipate price increases may be reluctant to accept them, curbing a business’s power to raise them.

If consumers begin to anticipate faster gains, companies could regain their ability to charge more, locking in today’s temporary price bumps and calling into question the Fed’s plan to support the economy for months and even years to come.

Already, there are early signs that expectations could move higher as the economic backdrop changes dramatically. Were they to shoot up more than the Fed finds acceptable, it could force the Fed to react by dialing back support sooner rather than later.

Credit…Till Lauer

Homes are selling quickly. About half sell in less than a week, usually after multiple offers, said Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist for the Redfin online brokerage.

The usual tips — like getting preapproved for a mortgage — apply more than ever, Ann Carrns reports for The New York Times. But competition in many cities is leading potential buyers to take steps they may not have considered even a few months ago, including offering tens of thousands of dollars above the asking price; agreeing to let the seller live, rent-free, in the house for several months after the closing; and waiving certain contingencies, like the right to inspect the house before buying.

Here are other measures buyers are going to to close the deal:

  • Buyers will sometimes send personal notes to sellers to distinguish themselves. “It never hurts,” said Mark Strüb, a real estate agent in Austin, Texas, though some Realtors discourage the practice. Mr. Strüb once had a seller with a strong sentimental attachment to the house pass over the highest offer because the potential buyer failed to write a letter, while the others vying for the home had all done so.

  • In some states, buyers may offer direct incentives to sellers outside of the purchase price, sometimes called “option” money, said Maura Neill, an agent with Re/Max Around Atlanta. “It works like a bonus,” she said. She cautioned that buyers and their agents should clarify their state’s laws, but “if you can make it work,” she said, “it’s a very strong tactic.”

  • Shoppers need patience, plus a willingness to move fast. To snag a condo near Piedmont Park, Ga., one client Ms. Neill worked with offered a quick closing, which was important to the sellers, and agreed to waive the appraisal — also an increasingly common practice in competitive markets. That means that if a buyer is financing the purchase with a mortgage and offers more than the property appraises for, the buyer agrees to pay the difference in cash at closing.

The New York Times

2021-05-18 07:30:18

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