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The UK needs a new industrial strategy or it will lose the global green subsidy race

Can UK business compete in an international green subsidy race?



Making industry greener -- and stronger petrmalinak/Shutterstock

UK businesses have criticised the government for the lack of a clear industrial policy. Industry body Make UK has warned the country “risks being squeezed” by US and EU green subsidy packages.

Outside the UK, industrial policy is back – and in a big way. Around the world, there has been a noticeable shift towards greater government intervention in the economy.

Recent shocks such as the COVID pandemic and the energy price spike arising from the Ukrainian war, have led to breakdowns in global supply chains and high inflation. In Europe and the US they also exposed fragility and a lack of resilience – especially in key areas such as energy security and the supply of medical equipment.

These governments seem to recognise the role of industrial policy in supporting domestic manufacturing to safeguard against future crises, reduce reliance upon Chinese imports, and in dealing with the climate emergency. They are also promoting industrial policies to enhance competitiveness, productivity and economic growth.

New industrial policies

The US has been the most prominent flag-bearer for these new industrial policies. President Joe Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) allocates almost US$700 billion (£555 billion) of federal funding over the next decade to support US industries, particularly healthcare, renewables and clean-tech sectors.

This includes subsidies and tax breaks to US manufacturers and consumers to encourage investment in, and use of, low carbon technologies (such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and carbon capture), as well as semiconductors. There are also new rules to encourage the use of local supplies to support US manufacturing.

The US has also recently enacted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the Chips and Science Act to boost transport and communication networks, and promote R&D, especially in regional high-tech hubs. Over the next decade, these three packages are expected to total over US$2 trillion of industrial policy support for US businesses.

Yet, there are concerns that these interventions are protectionist and violate rules set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – the global body that oversees trade between countries – on procurement and subsidies by unduly favouring US firms. The EU has spoken out about the possible impact of the IRA on its own clean-tech industries, particularly in terms of harming its exports and diverting investment away from Europe.

The EU has also questioned China’s industrial subsidies, possible infringements of intellectual property rights by Chinese companies, and the difficulties European businesses face in operating in China.

To combat these issues, the EU announced its own €250 billion (£217 billion) Green Deal Industrial Plan in February. This includes relaxing EU state aid rules to allow member states to fast-track investment in green sectors. The emphasis is on support for skills and supply chains, alongside smarter and simpler regulation.

A European Sovereignty Fund is also expected to offer subsidies for clean-tech innovation and infrastructure, while net-zero industry academies will train European workers for the green transition.

What about the UK?

One argument put forward for Brexit was that EU state aid rules stifle the ability of the UK to support its industries. But, post-Brexit, how has the UK responded? Its industrial strategy was scrapped under the Johnson government. And so far, there has been no policy response to either the US or EU packages.

Indeed, the UK’s net zero initiatives to date have generally lacked sufficient funding. The Green Alliance think tank believes there is a £14.1 billion shortfall in low carbon infrastructure investment in the UK.

The UK’s haphazard approach to net zero has also sometimes conflicted with other policies. For instance, the windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas firms applies to some wind and solar electricity generators, discouraging investment in renewables.

At the end of March, Jeremy Hunt said he would wait and see what the EU will do on its green industrial policy. It seems the UK position has been to watch as the action unfolds elsewhere – for example on attracting investment to build battery giga-factories. This is in stark contrast to the US and EU.

The Labour Party has promised to invest £28 billion a year through a dedicated green investment fund and transition programme. This proposal has been cautiously welcomed by climate experts. But doubts remain about whether the speed and nature of Labour’s proposals will be sufficient for a successful UK green transition.

Labour has also discussed a “Buy British” procurement policy. But this approach is also likely to fall foul of existing WTO rules and possibly the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement.

Parcel Boxes with a flag of United Kingdom in a mini shopping cart on a laptop.
Encouraging British businesses to source parts and services domestically would boost UK industry. Fevziie/Shutterstock

The green subsidy race

The UK needs to get serious about its own “Green New Deal” if it is to meet its net zero commitments, build low-carbon resilience in its energy supply, and compete with the US, EU and China.

Both the US and EU subsidy schemes should help to accelerate a much needed green transition. They will help to reduce barriers to clean-tech investment and innovation, create new jobs and generate greener growth in those regions. At a global level, this should accelerate decarbonisation and the move to net-zero.

They could also create a green subsidy race – with UK not yet even at the starting line. There is a risk these subsidy schemes will stifle competition, raise global trade tensions and reduce opportunities for developing economies to grow their own clean-tech sectors.

They will also challenge the existing WTO framework and its rules to promote fair and free trade. This could lead to a major reset for the WTO. It may need to adopt a wider remit that aligns global co-operation on free and fair trade with that on climate action. Doing so would enhance the prospects of all countries in this race in delivering sustainable, inclusive and green growth.

Phil Tomlinson receives funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation, and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for an Interact project on UK co-working spaces and manufacturing.

David Bailey receives funding from the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe programme.

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Von Der Leyen Speech Suggests Russia Dropped Nuke On Hiroshima 

Von Der Leyen Speech Suggests Russia Dropped Nuke On Hiroshima 

Von der Leyen just said what?…

This past Wednesday, President of the European…



Von Der Leyen Speech Suggests Russia Dropped Nuke On Hiroshima 

Von der Leyen just said what?...

This past Wednesday, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen delivered a speech before the 2023 Atlantic Council Awards in New York, where she sounded the alarm over the specter of nuclear war centered on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. But while invoking remembrance of the some 78,000 civilians killed instantly by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of WWII, she said her warning comes "especially at a time when Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons once again". She  actually framed the atomic atrocity in a way that made it sound like the Russians did it. Watch:

There was not one single acknowledgement in Von der Leyen's speech that it was in fact the United States which incinerated and maimed hundreds of thousands when it dropped no less that two atomic bombs on Japanese cities.

Here were her precise words, according to an Atlantic Council transcript...

You, dear Prime Minister, showed me the meaning of this proverb during the G7 summit in Japan last year. You brought us to your hometown of Hiroshima, the place where you have your roots and which has deeply shaped your life and leadership. Many of your relatives lost their life when the atomic bomb razed Hiroshima to the ground. You have grown up with the stories of the survivors. And you wanted us to listen to the same stories, to face the past, and learn something about the future.

It was a sobering start to the G7, and one that I will not forget, especially at a time when Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons once again. It is heinous. It is dangerous. And in the shadow of Hiroshima, it is unforgivable

The above video of that segment of the speech gives a better idea of the subtle way she closely associated in her rhetoric the words "once again" with the phrase "shadow of Hiroshima" while focusing on what Russia is doing, to make it sound like it was Moscow behind the past atrocities.

Via dpa

Russian media not only picked up on the woefully misleading comments, but the Kremlin issued a formal rebuke of Von der Leyen's speech as well:

In response to von der Leynen's remarks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the European Commission president of making "no mention whatsoever of the US and its executioners who dropped the bombs on populated Japanese cities."

Zakharova responded on social media, arguing that von der Leyen's assertions on Moscow's supposed intentions to employ nuclear weapons "is despicable and dangerous" and "lies."

Some Russian embassies in various parts of the globe also highlighted the speech on social media, denouncing the "empire of lies" and those Western leaders issuing 'shameful' propaganda and historical revisionism.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 13:15

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Saudi Arabia Sentences Schoolgirl To 18 Years In Prison Over Tweets

Saudi Arabia Sentences Schoolgirl To 18 Years In Prison Over Tweets

Via Middle East Eye,

Saudi Arabia has sentenced a secondary schoolgirl…



Saudi Arabia Sentences Schoolgirl To 18 Years In Prison Over Tweets

Via Middle East Eye,

Saudi Arabia has sentenced a secondary schoolgirl to 18 years in jail and a travel ban for posting tweets in support of political prisoners, according to a rights group.

On Friday, ALQST rights group, which documents human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, revealed that the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court handed out the sentence in August to 18-year-old Manal al-Gafiri, who was only 17 at the time of her arrest.

Via Reuters

The Saudi judiciary, under the de facto rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has issued several extreme prison sentences over cyber activism and the use of social media for criticising the government.

They include the recent death penalty against Mohammed al-Ghamdi, a retired teacher, for comments made on Twitter and YouTube, and the 34-year sentence of Leeds University doctoral candidate Salma al-Shehab over tweets last year.

The crown prince confirmed Ghamdi's sentence during a wide-ranging interview with Fox News on Wednesday. He blamed it on "bad laws" that he cannot change

"We are not happy with that. We are ashamed of that. But [under] the jury system, you have to follow the laws, and I cannot tell a judge [to] do that and ignore the law, because... that's against the rule of law," he said.

Saudi human rights defenders and lawyers, however, disputed Mohammed bin Salman's allegations and said the crackdown on social media users is correlated with his ascent to power and the introduction of new judicial bodies that have since overseen a crackdown on his critics. 

"He is able, with one word or the stroke of a pen, in seconds, to change the laws if he wants," Taha al-Hajji, a Saudi lawyer and legal consultant with the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, told Middle East Eye this week.

According to Joey Shea, Saudi Arabia researcher at Human Rights Watch, Ghamdi was sentenced under a counterterrorism law passed in 2017, shortly after Mohammed bin Salman became crown prince. The law has been criticised for its broad definition of terrorism.

Similarly, two new bodies - the Presidency of State Security and the Public Prosecution Office - were established by royal decrees in the same year.

Rights groups have said that the 2017 overhaul of the kingdom's security apparatus has significantly enabled the repression of Saudi opposition voices, including those of women rights defenders and opposition activists. 

"These violations are new under MBS, and it's ridiculous that he is blaming this on the prosecution when he and senior Saudi authorities wield so much power over the prosecution services and the political apparatus more broadly," Shea said, using a common term for the prince.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 11:30

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Biden To Join UAW Picket Line As Strike Expands, Good Luck Getting Repairs

Biden To Join UAW Picket Line As Strike Expands, Good Luck Getting Repairs

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

In a symbolic, photo-op…



Biden To Join UAW Picket Line As Strike Expands, Good Luck Getting Repairs

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

In a symbolic, photo-op gesture to win union votes, Biden will head to Michigan for a token visit.

Biden to Walk the Picket Line

Taking Sides

CNN had some Interesting comments on Biden Talking Sides.

Jeremi Suri, a presidential historian and professor at University of Texas at Austin, said he doesn’t believe any president has ever visited a picket line during a strike.

Presidents, including Biden, have previously declined to wade into union disputes to avoid the perception of taking sides on issues where the negotiating parties are often engaged in litigation.

On September 15, the day the strike started, Biden said that the automakers “should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW.”

Some Democratic politicians have been urging Biden to do more. California Rep. Ro Khanna on Monday told CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich that Biden and other Democrats should join him on the picket line.

“I’d love to see the president out here,” he said, arguing the Democratic Party needs to demonstrate it’s “the party of the working class.”

UAW Announces New Strike Locations

As the strike enters a second week, UAW Announces New Strike Locations

UAW President Shawn Fain called for union members to strike at noon ET Friday at 38 General Motors and Stellantis facilities across 20 states. He said the strike call covers all of GM and Stellantis’ parts distribution facilities.

The strike call notably excludes Ford, the third member of Detroit’s Big Three, suggesting the UAW is more satisfied with the progress it has made on a new contract with that company.

General Motors plants being told to strike are in Pontiac, Belleville, Ypsilanti, Burton, Swartz Creek and Lansing, Michigan; West Chester, Ohio; Aurora, Colorado; Hudson, Wisconsin; Bolingbrook, Illinois; Reno, Nevada; Rancho Cucamonga, California; Roanoke, Texas; Martinsburg, West Virginia; Brandon, Mississippi; Charlotte, North Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; and Lang Horne, Pennsylvania.

The Stellantis facilities going on strike are in Marysville, Center Line, Warren, Auburn Hills, Romulus and Streetsboro, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Plymouth, Minnesota; Commerce City, Colorado; Naperville, Illinois; Ontario, California; Beaverton, Oregon; Morrow, Georgia; Winchester, Virginia; Carrollton, Texas; Tappan, New York; and Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Contract Negotiations Are Not Close

Good Luck Getting Repairs

Party of the Working Cass, Really?

Let’s discuss the nonsensical notion that Democrats are the party of the “working class”.

Unnecessary stimulus, reckless expansion of social services, student debt cancellation, eviction moratoriums, earned income credits, immigration policy, and forcing higher prices for all, to benefit the few, are geared towards the “unworking class”.

On top of it, Biden wants to take away your gas stove, end charter schools to protect incompetent union teachers, and force you into an EV that you do not want and for which infrastructure is not in place.

All of this increases inflation across the board as do sanctions and clean energy madness.

Exploring the Working Class Idea

If you don’t work and have no income, Biden may make your healthcare cheaper. If you do work, he seeks to take your healthcare options away.

If you want to pay higher prices for cars, give up your gas stove, be forced into an EV, subsidize wind energy then pay more for electricity on top of it, you have a clear choice. If you support those efforts, by all means, please join him on the picket line for a token photo-op (not that you will be able to get within miles for the staged charade).

But if you can think at all, you understand Biden does not support the working class, he supports the unworking class.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 10:30

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