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Europe’s Energy Crisis Is A Warning Sign For America

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An energy crisis is rocking the world, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1970s. Although headlines about energy costs in faraway nations may not breach busy families’ political radar, the energy shortages and skyrocketing prices spreading across Europe and Asia are a warning sign for America.

If we allow the anti-energy, anti-prosperity climate cartel to control the political process—if Green New Deal-style policies become reality—our nation’s future will be dire indeed.

In Britain, electricity reserves could fall to as low as 4 percent of demand, with blackouts this winter all but inevitable, and petrol stations continue to sit empty. India’s “unprecedented” coal shortage has officials warning of impending power cuts as coal plants that normally carry 15 to 30 days’ reserves—and power most of the nation—now have enough fuel for two days or less.

Even China, an energy and economic powerhouse, is being forced to halt production of everything from aluminum to soybeans, further worsening global supply chain issues and potentially threatening the world’s food supply.

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And this crisis isn’t limited to countries that actively embrace fossil fuels. Even Germany, decades into its unsuccessful Energiewende transition to renewable energy and supposedly a world leader in green power, is feeling the crunch. One German power plant completely ran out of coal. All those eggs in the renewable basket still weren’t enough to insulate Germany—which, despite its bombastic commitment to wind and solar, still gets most of its energy from fossil fuels—from energy shortages and skyrocketing prices.

Germans already pay the highest electricity prices in the European Union, and residents are now warned to expect rising gas bills, too.

The consequences of these energy shortages aren’t as simple as just paying a little bit more for energy. If only it were that simple.

Britain is warning its subjects to expect not only blackouts, but also energy prices rising by as much as 30 percent. This is a steep cost for even well-to-do families, let alone low-income and fixed-income households in a nation already wracked by energy poverty. Freezing deaths are on the rise in England, where over 3,000 people die needlessly every year because they can’t afford to keep their homes at a safe temperature in the winter. Studies confirm a direct correlation between rising natural gas prices and wintertime deaths.

Brits are unfortunately learning firsthand the little-known climate fact that cold is far, far deadlier than heat. And they won’t be the last country to acquire this lesson if this energy crisis isn’t stopped.

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The United States hasn’t been hit hard by this crisis, but it’s only a matter of time. Though gas prices are high, so are the prices for everything else, and the precarious nature of our nation’s energy independence is still unknown to many. But if our nation capitulates to pressure by climate alarmists to kill the American energy industry, we’ll be headed down the same path as Europe and Asia.

The threat doesn’t just come from political leaders, although President Joe Biden’s continued campaign against responsible American energy producers is a major challenge. The rise of discriminatory environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing—in which Wall Street firms make investment and lending choices based on political motivations—means many major banks no longer fund oil and gas exploration even if the investment would be lucrative. There are now half as many oil rigs operating as there were in 2018 even though the price per barrel is almost equal, largely due to financial pressure from Wall Street.

Many energy companies are unable to get the capital they need to continue operating. This doesn’t mean we stop using fossil fuels; it simply means we’re forced to import more from overseas companies that don’t share America’s environmental or human rights commitments. Ironically, the growing anti-fossil fuel campaign means we will have more pollution and more greenhouse gas emissions—but less prosperity for our nation.

The more our society penalizes American energy producers, the more challenging our country’s future will be. We have the power to give America a prosperous future, if we embrace the fuels that have helped our nation become a beacon of hope for the world.

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UK firms struggle to find staff, see higher inflation – BoE survey

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December 2, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – British companies are struggling to find the staff they need and expect higher inflation in the year ahead, according to a survey published on Thursday by the Bank of England which is weighing up whether to raise interest rates this month.

The BoE’s monthly Decision Maker Panel survey showed 85% of respondent firms were finding it harder to recruit new employees compared to normal, with 58% reporting it to be much harder.

The survey also showed year-ahead annual price inflation was expected to be 4.2%, up from 3.9% in the October survey.

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(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Andy Bruce)

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Sustainable investors look for profits in fuzzy data

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December 2, 2021

By Ross Kerber and Simon Jessop

(Reuters) – Sustainability-focused investors believe a little effort can go a long way toward finding profitable opportunities buried in incomplete corporate environmental or social impact filings.

That is according to several speakers on a panel at  the  Reuters Next conference, who described how they choose sustainable investments and work with executives at a time when there are few standard requirements for how major U.S. and European companies should detail carbon emissions disclosures or workforce demographics.

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Eoin Murray, head of investment at Federated Hermes, said the disparate reports from many companies give portfolio managers the chance to dig deeper.

“As an active manager, there’s a part of me which doesn’t mind that some of the data doesn’t entirely line up, because it means the rewards go to those that do their homework properly and unearth the real gems,” Murray said.

Mary Jane McQuillen, a managing director for ClearBridge Investments, said while some companies are eager to become more sustainable, others are defensive and don’t want to be burdened by yet another topic of investor interest.

A third group, McQuillen said, admits there is much about sustainable reporting they don’t know, and is seeking input from their shareholders.

“They say, ‘we really don’t know what the issues are. If you can help us as an owner, and with your years of experience as an investor in understanding how these issues may apply to my industry, as well as to my particular company, that would be super helpful,” she said.

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U.S. regulators are in the process of developing guidance for how companies should spell out things like emissions, and rules in Europe are just coming into place.

At the U.N. climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, global leaders agreed to do more to curb carbon emissions and took other steps toward setting up global carbon markets and an international body to set sustainability reporting standards.

Julie Gorte, senior vice president at Impax Asset Management, said absent complete corporate reporting, investors can still learn a great deal about companies’ environmental, social or governance impact through government filings.

“For companies the watchword is, look, people are going to find out stuff about you, whether you tell them or not. If you want them to know what the truth is, tell them,” Gorte said.

To watch the Reuters Next conference please register here https://reutersevents.com/events/next/

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(Reporting by Ross Kerber and by Simon Jessop; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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Facebook could be sued by consumer groups, EU court adviser says

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December 2, 2021

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Facebook could be sued by consumer groups for privacy violations, an adviser to Europe’s top court said on Thursday, in a German online gaming case that could pave the way for similar action across the EU.

The case started in 2012 and is one of several privacy and antitrust headaches facing Facebook in Europe, where regulators have introduced legislation to curb the power of so-called tech giants and ensure more transparency.

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“Member states may allow consumer protection associations to bring representative actions against infringements of the protection of personal data,” Richard de la Tour, advocate general at the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), said in an opinion.

Such actions must be based on infringements of rights derived directly from GDPR, he added, referring to the landmark EU privacy rules adopted three years ago.

“We’ll analyse the Advocate General’s opinion. Legal clarity on scope and process of GDPR is important and we’re glad the Court of Justice of the European Union is considering the questions raised in this case.” said a spokesperson Meta Platforms Inc.

GDPR stipulates that any requests to collect personal data should be subject to clear and informed consent.

De la Tour said consumer bodies that defend the collective interests of consumers are particularly suited to GDPR’s objective of establishing a high level of personal data protection.

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Facebook found itself in the dock after the Federation of German Consumer Organisations filed a lawsuit alleging that the social network had allowed operators of online games to improperly collect the personal data of gamers.

The games were offered on Facebook’s App Center in 2012. By playing the games, users automatically agreed to share personal data including email addresses. At the end of the game, they would receive a message saying that the app could post their status, photos and other information.

A German lower court had ruled in favour of the German federation, leading Facebook to appeal to a higher court, which subsequently sought advice from the CJEU.

Facebook has since revamped its privacy settings.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Goodman)

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