The Effect of Renewable Energy Development on Carbon Emission Reduction: An Empirical Analysis for the EU-15 Countries
The Effect of Renewable Energy Development on Carbon Emission Reduction: An Empirical Analysis for the EU-15 Countries (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor
The increased concerns about climate change have made renewable energy sources an important topic of research. Several scholars have applied different methodologies to examine the relationships between energy consumption and economic growth of individual and groups of countries and to analyze the environmental effects of energy policies. Previous studies have analyzed carbon emission savings, using renewable energy usage as an individual source or in combination with traditional sources of energy (e.g., hybrid plants) in connection with lifecycle analysis methods. It is shown that after a certain period, economic growth leads to the promotion of environmental quality. However, econometric modelling critiques have opposed the results of these studies. One reason is that the effectiveness of governance-related parameters has previously been neglected. In this research, we analyze the impact of renewable energy development on carbon emission reduction. We estimate a model to evaluate the effectiveness of renewable energy development, technological innovation, and market regulations in carbon emission reduction. The empirical results are based on a panel data estimation using the EU-15 countries data observed from 1995 to 2010. The elasticities of CO2 emissions are estimated, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of each parameter. The findings show that the effects of a negative climate change could be mitigated by governance-related parameters instead of economic development.
Mental health and work: United Kingdom
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Awareness of the importance of mental health at work in the UK is among the highest in the world. However, a number of challenges remain to help people with mental health problems stay in work and facilitate their early return to work. The UK has put in place and is putting in place a number of very important reforms. It will be important to implement those reforms rigorously; to modify and strengthen the reforms that have not yet delivered and to close the remaining gaps identified in the report.
EU-U.S. Economic Ties: Framework, Scope, and Magnitude (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The United States and the European Union (EU) economic relationship is the largest in the world—and it is growing. The modern U.S.-European economic relationship has evolved since World War II, broadening as the 6-member European Community expanded into the present 28- member European Union. The ties have also become more complex and interdependent, covering a growing number and type of trade and financial activities. The United States and the EU have embarked on negotiations to establish a free trade agreement—the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
In 2012 (latest data available), $1,500.5 billion flowed between the United States and the EU on the current account, the most comprehensive measure of U.S. trade flows. The EU as a unit is the largest merchandise trading partner of the United States. In 2012, the EU accounted for $265.1 billion of total U.S. exports (or 17.1%) and for $380.8 billion of total U.S. imports (or 16.7%) for a U.S. trade deficit of $115.7 billion. The EU is also the largest U.S. trade partner when trade in services is added to trade in merchandise, accounting for $193.8 billion (or 30.7% of the total in U.S. services exports) and $149.7 billion (or 35.4% of total U.S. services imports) in 2012. In addition, in 2012, a net $150.0 billion flowed from U.S. residents to EU countries into direct investments, while a net $105.9 billion flowed from EU residents to direct investments in the United States.
Policy disputes arise between the United States and the EU, generating tensions which sometimes lead to bilateral trade disputes. Yet, in spite of these disputes, the U.S.-EU economic relationship remains dynamic. It is a relationship that is likely to grow in importance assuming the trends toward globalization and the enlargement of the EU continue, forcing more trade and investment barriers to fall. Economists indicate that an expanded relationship would bring economic benefits to both sides in the form of wider choices of goods and services and greater investment opportunities.
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Negotiations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)
In February 2013, U.S. and European Union (EU) leaders announced plans to negotiate a comprehensive and high-standard free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the EU, referred to as a proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Formal negotiations commenced in July 2013, and three rounds of negotiations have been held to date, and a fourth round is scheduled for March 2014. If concluded as envisioned, TTIP could be the largest FTA in the world in terms of economic size and serve a number of strategic U.S. policy goals.
European Union Enlargement (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The European Union (EU) has long viewed the enlargement process as an extraordinary opportunity to promote political stability and economic prosperity in Europe. Since 2004, EU membership has grown from 15 to 28 countries, bringing in most states of Central and Eastern Europe and fulfilling an historic pledge to further the integration of the continent by peaceful means. Croatia is the EU’s newest member, acceding to the EU on July 1, 2013.
Analysts contend that the carefully managed process of enlargement is one of the EU’s most powerful policy tools, and that, over the years, it has helped transform many European states into functioning democracies and more affluent countries. The EU maintains that the enlargement door remains open to any European country that fulfills the EU’s political and economic criteria for membership. At the same time, EU enlargement is also very much a political process; most all significant steps on the long path to accession require the unanimous agreement of the existing 28 member states. As such, a prospective EU candidate’s relationship or conflicts with individual member states may also influence a country’s EU accession prospects and timeline.
INRIX, a leading international provider of traffic information and driver services, today released its seventh Annual Traffic Scorecard Report, which revealed that traffic congestion increased in 2013 in the U.S. after two consecutive years of declines. While U.S. GDP grew at a rate of 1.9 percent, traffic congestion increased approximately 6 percent compared to 2012. If economic growth continues in 2014 as economists suggest, drivers can expect more delays and longer commute times on America’s roads this year.
In Europe, traffic congestion rose in 2013 for the first time in two years up approximately 6 percent in the last three quarters of the year. After suffering from a lack of economic growth and employment through the “Great Recession,” economic sentiment and hiring steadily improved in 2013 with the data indicating traffic congestion is once again on the rise as a result.
Liberty, Equality, Connectivity
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies
Europe and the United States have a collective interest in the promotion of a stable international order based on the rule of law, open and equitable arrangements for trade, and a commitment to democratic government and individual rights. These interests face renewed challenges in a complex global political environment.
Cybersecurity is among the most salient of these challenges. The fundamental issues in cybersecurity are to protect information (both intellectual property and personal information) and reduce the danger of disruption in the cyber environment and the critical infrastructures that depend upon it without damage to human rights or innovation. While many nations understand the risks they face in cyberspace, significant political differences create obstacles to collective action. Cybersecurity requires international cooperation to make the cyber environment stable and more secure. This essay’s premise is that given their close and shared political and cultural values, Europe and the United States can work together to shape this foundation to reinforce both security and democratic values.
Global Pensions Asset Study – 2014
Source: Towers Watson
This is a study of the 13 largest pension markets in the world and accounts for more than 85% of global pension assets. The countries included are Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The study also analyses seven countries in greater depth by excluding the six smallest markets (Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong and South Africa).
The analysis includes:
- Asset size, including growth statistics, comparison of asset size with GDP and liabilities
- Asset allocation
- Defined benefit and defined contribution share of pension assets
- Public and private sector share of pension assets.
Suicides in the United Kingdom, 2012 Registrations
Source: Office for National Statistics
- In 2012, 5,981 suicides in people aged 15 and over were registered in the UK, 64 fewer than in 2011.
- The UK suicide rate was 11.6 deaths per 100,000 population in 2012, but there are significant differences in suicide rates between men and women. Male suicide rates were more than three times higher at 18.2 male deaths compared with 5.2 female deaths per 100,000 population.
- The highest suicide rate was among men aged 40 to 44, at 25.9 deaths per 100,000 population.
- The most common methods of suicide in the UK in 2012 were hanging, strangulation and suffocation (58% of male suicides and 36% of female suicides) and poisoning (43% of female suicides and 20% of male suicides).
- In 2012 in England, the suicide rate was highest in the North West at 12.4 deaths per 100,000 population and lowest in London at 8.7 per 100,000 population.
- The median registration delay for deaths where suicide was the underlying cause of death was 155 days in England and Wales and 144 days in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the time taken to register a death did not exceed the allocated eight days.
February Think Tank Review
Source: European Union Institute
The February Think Tank Review is out, referencing papers published in December and January.
As the final tally of macroeconomic figures for the year 2013 is becoming known, it is perhaps predictable that we found think tanks looking at the performance of individual Member States or at EU-wide overviews of policies and indicators. Similarly, the beginning of the year sees several prospection exercises into what lies ahead for the EU in 2014; on this, it is worth noting the most recent BEPA monthly by our colleagues at the European Commission, the Brussels Think Tank Dialogue held at the end of January, or the collaborative effort between think tanks and foundations in the New Pact for Europe initiative.
But also, for those interested in specific policies, papers on migration, the Eastern Partnership, shale gas…
Measuring National Well-being – Governance, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics
This article is published as part of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Measuring National Well-being Programme. The programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation – how the UK as a whole is doing. This article explores in more detail aspects of governance considered important for understanding National Well-being. It considers information on forms of civic engagement, notably satisfaction with government and democracy, interest in politics and participation in politics.
Offshore Tax Evasion: The Effort to Collect Unpaid Taxes on Billions in Hidden Offshore Accounts (PDF)
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs
This investigation arises from the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ longstanding focus on offshore tax abuse, including U.S. taxpayers using hidden offshore accounts. In 2008 and 2009, the Subcommittee held three days of hearings and released a bipartisan report examining how some tax haven banks were deliberately helping U.S. customers hide their assets offshore to evade U.S. taxes. The hearings focused on two tax haven banks, UBS AG, the largest bank in Switzerland, and LGT, a private bank owned by the royal family of Liechtenstein.1 On the first day of the hearings, UBS acknowledged its role in facilitating U.S. tax evasion, apologized for its wrongdoing, and promised to end it. It later entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, paid a $780 million fine, and turned over about 4,700 accounts with U.S. client names that had not been disclosed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It also committed to disclosing to the IRS all future accounts opened for U.S. persons.
Since then, significant progress has been made in the effort to combat offshore tax abuses. World leaders have declared their commitment to reduce cross border tax evasion. Tax havens around the world have declared they will no longer use secrecy laws to facilitate tax dodging. In the United States, over 43,000 taxpayers joined a voluntary IRS disclosure program, came clean about their hidden offshore accounts, and paid over $6 billion in back taxes, interest, and penalties. In addition, Congress enacted the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which requires foreign banks to either disclose their U.S. customer accounts on an automatic, annual basis or pay a 30% tax on their U.S. investment income. Just this month, at the request of G8 and G20 leaders, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a model agreement that, like FATCA, will enable countries to automatically exchange account information to fight cross border tax evasion.
On the negative side of the ledger, despite evidence of widespread misconduct by Swiss banks in facilitating U.S. tax evasion, Switzerland has continued to severely restrict the ability of Swiss banks to disclose the names of U.S. customers with undeclared Swiss accounts. As a result, the United States has obtained few U.S. names and little account information. In addition, despite the passage of five years, the U.S. Justice Department has failed to hold accountable the vast majority of the 4,700 UBS accountholders whose names were given to the United States. Aside from UBS, it has prosecuted only one of the Swiss banks suspected of misconduct, while setting up a program for hundreds of Swiss banks to obtain non-prosecution agreements without disclosing the names of a single U.S. customer with a hidden account. The promise of FATCA to disclose hidden offshore accounts has also dimmed due to regulations that opened disclosure loopholes which may enable many offshore accountholders to continue to conceal their accounts from U.S. authorities.
In this Report, the Subcommittee’s investigation chronicles these developments and provides an assessment of U.S. efforts to combat offshore tax evasion through hidden foreign accounts. It examines, in particular, ongoing roadblocks erected by the Swiss Government to block bank disclosure of the names of former U.S. customers with undeclared Swiss accounts. It uses as a case study a major Swiss bank, Credit Suisse, that was deeply involved in facilitating U.S. tax evasion and whose unnamed U.S. customers continue to owe unpaid U.S. taxes on billions of dollars in hidden assets.
Wildlife Law: Control of Invasive Non-native Species
Source: Law Commission of England
On 11 February 2014, we published our final report, Wildlife Law: Control of Invasive Non-native Species. This is the first item to be delivered from the full project. This element of the project was brought forward at the request of Defra and the Welsh Government to enable them to consider whether to introduce early legislation.
Invasive non-native species are ones that arrive as a result of human action and cause environmental and economic damage. They pose a significant threat to ecosystems as well as damaging property and infrastructure. Existing law does not contain sufficient powers to allow for their timely and effective control or eradication. Our recommendations in relation to species control orders will allow for a proportionate and necessary response to an increasing problem.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Many observers have expressed concern about Ukraine’s democratic development, including the government’s use of the courts to neutralize opposition leaders, most notably former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, who was sentenced to a seven-year prison term in 2011. The government’s effort in November 2013 to violently disperse pro-European Union protests backfired, resulted in mass demonstrations in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine. For over two months, the government has alternated between attempted crackdowns against the protestors and conciliatory gestures. The most serious violence has occurred during and after a massive government crackdown on February 18, resulting in scores of deaths, mainly among protestors but also including some police officers.
Communique: strengthening the cyber security of our essential services
Source: Cabinet Office, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and National security and intelligence
A joint communique from ministers, senior officials and regulators sets out steps to address cyber security challenges for essential services.
4th edition of EUI Library ‘Bibliography of Academia’ now available
Source: European University Institute
The Library issued a new edition of the Bibliography of Academia on 20 January. The 4th edition covers works on early career development for young academics; methodology in the humanities and social sciences; writing and publication; presenting and teaching; digital innovation; copyright; academia in Europe; and university strategy and finance. All works are available at the EUI Library. Shelfmarks are provided for each title.
Handling ethical problems in counterterrorism: An inventory of methods to support ethical decisionmaking
This document presents the findings of a study into methods that may help counterterrorism professionals make decisions about ethical problems. The study was commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum, WODC) of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice (Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie), on behalf of the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid, NCTV). The study provides an inventory of methods to support ethical decision-making in counterterrorism, drawing on the experience of other public sectors — healthcare, social work, policing and intelligence — and multiple countries, primarily the Netherlands and United Kingdom.
The report introduces the field of applied ethics; identifies key characteristics of ethical decision-making in counterterrorism; and describes methods that may help counterterrorism professionals make decisions in these situations. Finally, it explores how methods used in other sectors may be applied to ethical decision-making in counterterrorism. It also describes the level of effectiveness that can be expected from the various methods. The report is based on a structured literature search and interviews with professionals and academics with expertise in applied ethics.
This report will be of interest to counterterrorism professionals who are responsible for strengthening ethical decision-making in their organisation. It may also provide insights for counterterrorism professionals who seek new methods to help them make ethical decisions. The findings may additionally be relevant for professionals in other sectors, if complemented with a review of decision-making characteristics in their sector of specialism.
Issue Guide: Crisis in Ukraine
Source: Council on Foreign Relations
The latest eruption of violence in Ukraine has brought its protracted political unrest—rooted in a dispute over strengthening ties with the European Union—to its bloodiest phase yet. Some analysts are concerned that further bloodshed will end the chance for crucial power-sharing compromises seen as the best path for resolving the dispute and restoring stability. This roundup of expert analysis examines the conflict and consequences for regional stability.