Signaling More Independence from the US, the World Bank Phases out its Support for Fossil Fuels

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[Between this and his visit to Davos, Trump may be hearing a few things that he doesn't want to. *RON*]

Jason Kirk, DeSmog Blog, 17 January 2018

The World Bank, which provides developing countries about US$60 billion a year in financial assistance, is officially phasing out its support for the oil and gas industries.

This move brings its actions more in sync with its overarching commitment to slowing the pace of climate change and keeping the Paris agreement on track. Based on my research regarding international relations, I see this move — which World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced in December — as significant for two reasons.

The bank has signaled that the international community is taking the fight against global warming more seriously than ever. And it shows that the bank intends to keep playing a leading role in that battle at a time when its most powerful shareholder, the U.S., is turning its back on global environmental leaders…

BMO marks first foray by a major Canadian bank in marijuana sector with $175M deal

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["Where there's a will, there's a way" - or, where there's a buck, there's a bank. Just like some previously rabidly anti-drug police leaders, the big banks may be starting to warm up to the marijuana sector amid a spree of fundraising deals. *RON*]

Geoff Zochodne, Financial Post, 18 January 2018
Bank of Montreal broke new ground Wednesday for the “Big Five” Canadian lenders with its participation in a major marijuana deal.

Smiths Falls, Ont.-based Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest licensed producer of medical cannabis, announced a bought deal Wednesday of a little more than five million shares of the company, valued at approximately $175 million.

Canopy noted in a release that GMP Securities LP and Bank of Montreal-owned BMO Capital Markets were leading the stock sale as joint bookrunners, marking the first time a major Canadian bank has helped head an equity financing for a publicly traded medical marijuana com…

Investors ignore income inequality at their peril

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[Deutsche Bank: "over the medium term, we think investors are making a mistake if they don't take inequality into account as a game changer for the benign outlook the market has at the moment. [This] "raises the risks that voters want significant change from how society is currently designed... investors are making a mistake if they don't take the populist consequences of inequality into account." *RON*]
Rachel Layne, CBS, 19 January 2018

You've heard of the wealth gap. And you probably know it's growing worldwide, including in the U.S., where the measure is now as wide as it is in Russia.

But did you know how wide? According to a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, almost 40 percent of U.S. households have zero or negative wealth. That is, they don't have any assets at all, while the top 5 percent hold about half.

Of course, Americans aren't alone. The recovery since the Great Recessio…

India's Ballistic Missile Test Is a 'Direct Threat,' a Chinese State-Owned Newspaper Says

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[Worrying about North Korea blowing up earth wasn't enough. *RON*]

Eli Meixler, Time, 19 January 2018

India’s test this week of a long range intercontinental ballistic missile with the capability of hitting China’s eastern coastal cities constitutes a threat to regional security, a China’s state-owned newspaper has declared, calling for increased Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean to counter its regional rival.

The ballistic missile test, India’s fifth, “poses a direct threat to China’s security as well as a big challenge to the global efforts of nuclear-nonproliferation,” China’s Global Times writes. The missile, called the Agni 5, was launched from eastern India on Thursday and traveled 3,000 miles, the New York Times reported, putting China’s coastal cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, in range. India’s last missile test was in Dec. 2016.

The missile is India’s most advanced in its Agni series—the name means fire in Hindi—and is capabl…

Long-Term Warming Trend Continued in 2017: NASA, NOAA

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[2017 was the second hottest year since 1880. The only year that was hotter? 2016. Both NASA and NOAA agreed that the hottest years on record have all been post-2010. *RON*]

NASA, Press Release, 18 January 2018

Earth’s long-term warming trend can be seen in this visualization of NASA’s global temperature record, which shows how the planet’s temperatures are changing over time, compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980. The record is shown as a running five-year average. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann
Credits: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/K. Mersmann

Download high-definition video here.

Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA.

Continuing the planet's long-term warming trend, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scient…