ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 07/09/2018

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European Council on Foreign Relations – Asli Aydıntaşbaş & Ellie Geranmayeh / Syria’s fate: What will Rouhani, Erdogan, and Putin decide?

  • Today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Russian President Vladimir Putin – all three of them facing increased US sanctions and pressure – will meet in the Iranian city of Tabriz mainly to discuss the future of Syria.
  • Iran will use the meeting as a platform to project strong relations with Turkey and Russia, to expand economic ties with these two countries (particularly in the field of energy), and to try to preserve its gains on the ground in Syria.
  • Turkey, for its part, wants stability and peaceful transition in Syria but also protection for the Sunnis who have fled the regime since 2011 and moved north to Idlib. Ankara is in no mood to facilitate an Assad victory in Idlib.
  • Erdogan will hope to get a consensus in Tabriz for a phased operation in Idlib, allowing Turkish forces to root out radicals and al-Qaeda members from the rest of the Sunni opposition.

The New York Times – Michael Schwirtz & Jose Bautista / Poisoned Russian ex-spy is said to have worked with Spanish intelligence

  • Sergei V. Skripal, the former Russian spy poisoned in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, appears to have been working in recent years with intelligence officers in Spain.
  • It was in Spain, according to Russian court records, that Skripal was recruited as a spy by the British intelligence service in the mid-1990s. And in recent years, Skripal returned to Spain for several meetings with officers from the Spanish intelligence service, CNI.
  • Spain has been a haven for Russian crime bosses and corrupt officials, some of whom are believed to have ties to the Kremlin. Former officials said that Skripal would have been especially useful in crackdowns on Russian organized crime.
  • Officials would not say whether Skripal was involved in handing over evidence about possible links between the Kremlin and Russian organized crime figures, or, as he did in Estonia and the Czech Republic, was simply giving lectures to Spanish spies.

Financial Times – David Sheppard / Hedge funds and Wall St banks cash in on carbon market’s revival

  • Carbon credits, introduced by the EU to curb pollution by companies in the trading bloc, have soared almost fourfold in the past year to above €20 per tonne of CO2.
  • The key change that sparked the rally was EU legislation to introduce the so-called Market Stability Reserve (MSR) mechanism for carbon allowances from next year, essentially overhauling a system that was first launched last decade to encourage a gradual switching to cleaner fuels.
  • Over the past decade carbon prices have been too low to encourage fuel switching, so the MSR is designed to remove and then ultimately cancel a large number of allowances from next year.
  • “The European Union is in effect the sole supplier of carbon credits in the market,” said Mark Lewis, head of research at consultancy Carbon Tracker. “So the signal the EU has sent on supply to carbon traders is far more powerful than anything Opec could ever send to the oil market.”
  • Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU commissioner for energy and climate, said that as “a pioneer, you always pay a learning curve …Now we have a system that is much better than the one we had in the past.”

Project Syndicate – Lawrence H. Summers / Final thoughts on secular stagnation

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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