ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 14/11/2017

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Politico—Jacopo Barigazzi / Mogherini hails ‘historic’ EU defense pact

  • 23 countries have declared they will participate in the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), an initiative proposed by France and Germany last year, and whose success was made easier by the UK’s decision to leave the bloc.
  • The UK, Ireland, Malta, Denmark and Portugal did not sign up to the pact, but by the time PESCO is launched at a summit next month, diplomats expect Ireland and Portugal to be on board.
  • Participants have signed up to a list of commitments which include “increasing the share of expenditure allocated to defense research and technology with a view to nearing the 2 percent of total defense spending” and to “regularly increasing defense budgets in real terms.”
  • At the moment, Europe spends 50 percent as much as the United States on defense yet only has 15 percent of its military efficiency.
  • La Vanguardia—Beatriz Navarro / Interview with Jorge Domecq / “Europa debe dejar de ser vista como sólo un poder blando”

Financial Times—Anne-Sylvaine Chassany & David Keohane  / French minister turns up heat on EDF over shift to renewables

  • France is considering changing the governance of state-owned utility EDF to shift its focus from nuclear to renewable energy as Emmanuel Macron’s government seeks to cut the country’s reliance on atomic power.
  • Nicolas Hulot, the popular energy and environment minister, said France’s largest electricity producer needed to embrace a transition towards environmentally friendly energy rather than “resist” it.
  • EDF shares dropped more than 10 per cent on Monday after it cut its profit and cash flow targets owing to falling demand and delays in restarting some of its ageing reactors. “EDF can revitalise itself through renewables,” said Hulot.
  • In a “pragmatic” move, Hulot announced last week that France would aim to reduce the share of nuclear power from 75 to 50 per cent of total energy consumption by 2035, from 2025 previously.

The New York Times—Stanley Reed / America’s ‘Renaissance’ to gains for renewables: global energy trends

  • The International Energy Agency is publishing its annual World Energy Outlook today.
  • By the 2030s, the United States is expected to produce more than 30 million barrels of oil and gas a day, the report says. That is 50 percent more than any other country has ever produced in a single year.
  • The sharp falloff in the price of oil in recent years has transformed the shale sector, which is now “leaner and hungrier” than ever before.
  • The United States is also on track to surpass traditional giants like Qatar and Russia and become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.
  • The report forecasts that gas will be traded more widely and freely, potentially pushing down prices and making it more attractive to developing countries like India and China, which could bring major environmental benefits.
  • Renewables will continue to get cheaper, but the report forecasts that the share of fossil fuels used to meet overall energy demand will still be 75% in 2040, compared with 81% last year.

Foreign Policy—Stephen M. Walt / Trump isn’t sure if democracy is better than autocracy

  • It would have been hard to imagine in the 1990s, but it seems that in 2017 autocracy is back in vogue.
  • Instead of standing up for the United States as a beacon of democracy, Trump seems easily dazzled by vulgar displays of excess and unable to distinguish between the interests of the US and the self-interest of his extended family.
  • The US has often been inconsistent in its support for democracy. But it is one thing to acknowledge tradeoffs between core political values and other interests and sometimes to favor the latter, and quite another to cast off our ideals completely and rush to praise those who trample on them daily.
  • Does all of this mean that we are entering a new “Age of Autocracy” globally? Not so fast. The long-run track record of most autocracies isn’t that great, whereas the US and other democracies retain a capacity for self-correction.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. 

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