Global Climate Tax Footwork

Overs the past few days there has been a real push in the American press to whip up public support for the notion of climate change.  But a more measured report, out this morning from the BBC admits “Dissent among scientists over key climate impact report” which is due next Monday.

Of course, if you’re prepared to swallow “climate change” hook, line, and sinker, you  could no doubt send in links to stories like “Scientists to climate change skeptics: Get real.”

Next week;s report will be of more than passing interest because it may well represent a “tipping point” in the climate dialog.  Whereas the BBC version of what’s coming seems to focus on the adaptation angle, the USA versions is much more likely to pronounce the need for ever-more government (thus taxes) to address climate issues.

The reason, when you zoom out into the American overview is simple:  We have a falling crime rate, yet the hiring of police and security has never been higher.  And with the military winding down some of its spending, we see the need to employ people in an economy that still isn’t talking about the central issue:  The ‘brick wall’ of employment of automated manufacturing is killing off jobs wholesale.

While there has been a major increase (even in Europe) in business services, a lot of that kind of employment will be short-term as businesses get onto effective ERP & document management systems and then begin to really set about more layoffs.  And, of course, all but 10-25% of the consulting positions in business services will be left, and those will be mainly in software  updates and reconfigurations.

So yes, we need a grand new source of employment.  And, if you’ve watched “Inequality for all” you’ll see the problem is that the middle class is shrinking while those at the top just keep on getting richer.

But will climate money impact the middle class?  It’s early in the game, but my inclination is no, it won’t since the jobs there will be highly technical and highly skilled.  Jobs that may keep some of the rollout from business services going – when that begins to falter – but what about the working stiffs with high school and a year or three of college?

I’m only guessing, but a 90% change of a US climate tax, a 50% chance of a global climate tax, and a 3% chance of some meaningful change for the middle class seems about where this one’s going to fall.

Who was it who said “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross”?  Well, climate’s got its own set of wrappings, too.  And it will be carrying a tax.

No Bodies – Just a Media Burial

We have to wonder if the Malaysians have jumped the gun a bit here, declaring the passengers onboard MH370 dead.

That is expected to set loose the dogs of the insurance companies, who are offering initial payments by some reports $5,000 .  But under the Montreal Convention, passenger lives are only worth $150,000 to $175,000…which in today’s world, is a pittance.

Says Wikipedia:

Under the Montreal Convention, air carriers are strictly liable for proven damages up to 113,100 special drawing rights (SDR) (Updated from 100,000 on 31 December 2009), a mix of currency values established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), approximately $138,000 per passenger at the time of its ratification by the United States in 2003 (as of December 2011, around $175,800). Where damages of more than 113,100 SDR are sought, the airline may avoid liability by proving that the accident which caused the injury or death was not due to their negligence or was attributable to the negligence of a third party. This defence is not available where damages of less than 113,100 SDR are sought. The Convention also amended the jurisdictional provisions of Warsaw and now allows the victim or their families to sue foreign carriers where they maintain their principal residence, and requires all air carriers to carry liability insurance.

The Montreal Convention was brought about mainly to amend liabilities to be paid to families for death or injury whilst on board an aircraft.

For a $30-million jetliner and 150 passengers, care to guess who makes out better?  Not the passengers ($26.2 million in settlement exposure) versus was could be $30-million or more for aircraft hull insurance..something a reporter with more time might want to look into.

A Few Notes on Futuring

You may have noticed last week’s Friday report (here) began with a forecast of a  big disease story this week.  What I said (yes, it’s bad to quote yourself, but I’m making a point, so go with me on this…) 

Looking at the data runs from our project, the word frequency blip today is “epidemic” which has popped up.  It doesn’t seem to have landed/taken root in a major singular story, unless you consider streaking the ruins at Machu Pichu, Peru major.

A check of the CDC website reveals a measles watch in the Philippines, but that shouldn’t drive things like this.  So we will be in the “unsurprised” category if the CDC or other agency announces something next week about an “epidemic” of something. 

These are low probabilities, but they seem to be peeking out of the noise

OK, that was posted on Friday.

This morning we’re hip deep in headlines :  Canada probes possible Ebola case.

Ebola outbreak in Guinea may spread to Liberia.

Ebola breaks out in West Africa for the first time.

As we move into the second half of the week (slowly, for sure) that leaves expectations for attack on Israel from the north, another accident headline (though the declaration of death for MH370 passengers may suffice) and the Taliban may be expected to pull of a major something.  Between now and Sunday, on this batch.

Grady will have torn down the overnight data run and a report up shortly at the site.

Mud Search

That huge mudslide up in Washington State (north of Seattle) has 176 people listed as missing although the death toll is expected to be way below that.  Meantime, there is extreme caution involved because of the risk of further sliding in the area.

Drones on the Range

Alaska may become the first state to outlaw drone use to hunt game.  Not sure where a wireless deer cam would be in this.

And as force-happy law enforcement sector salestypes talk about arming drones with Tasers, we can’t help but notice that a Homeland/DHS exercise targets online dissenters.

If UrbanSurvival disappears some morning, I will assume I stepped on the wrong toes (again).

Housing Data Pending

Due to personal commitments, we will have to cover the housing data in tomorrow’s Peoplenomics report.

Consumer confidence is also due out today, and after a run to the downside yesterday, the market didn’t make a huge liar out of my upside discussion with the Dow up 58 in the futures when I checked.  Although what’s worrisome is that the NASDAQ has been getting hammered…