Earth Passes a New Climate Milestone


Charlie Riedel/AP

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in May were 50 percent higher than during the pre-industrial era, reaching levels not seen on Earth for about four million years, the main US climate agency said on Friday.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the threshold of 420 parts per million (ppm), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. PPM is a unit of measurement used to quantify pollution in the atmosphere…

Last May, the rate was 419ppm, and in 2020, 417ppm.

Global warming caused by humans, particularly through the production of electricity using fossil fuels, transport, the production of cement, or even deforestation, is responsible for the new high, the NOAA said…

Its warming effect is already causing dramatic consequences, noted NOAA, including the multiplication of heatwaves, droughts, fires or floods…

“We have known about this for half a century, and have failed to do anything meaningful about it. What’s it going to take for us to wake up?”

What will it take…indeed? Humans are great at passing the buck. And, then, we complain about the cost figures generated by the public and private bodies charged with providing solutions.

Time for excuses has run out.

[Trying to Understand] The Current State of the Economy


From THE BIG PICTURE, Barry Ritholtz’ blog

I cannot recall a parallel era to this in terms of economic cross-currents. There are credible arguments on a lot of key data: Inflation, retail sales, NFP, JOLTs, and NILF. It’s almost as if you are not confused about the economy, then you probably are not paying attention…

The chart above shows both Goods (blue line) and Services (red line) relative to total personal consumption expenditures. Its priced in billions and shows the past 10 years (Jan 2012=100)…

Think about this even in light of the inventory shortfall of single-family homes, and the difficulty in finding new cars (or getting used cars at reasonable prices). And still, we see elevated Goods consumption and reduced Services. Note the peak in Goods came long before the current inflation spike.

…You can get a sense of how spending habits have changed post-pandemic…

As offices re-open, people go on vacations, and life begins to normalize, we should see these lines begin to head back toward their prior levels. But I have strong reservations about If & When we are heading all the way back. There is a substantial percentage of people who are never going back to a 9-to-5, Monday to Friday office gig; consider what this might mean to the balance of consumption.

This is just another one of many cross-currents making it a challenge to understand the current U.S. economy…

And, yet, I still enjoy being a student of modern economics – personal class identity and all. We can still find sharp-eyed analysts around who are capable of clarifying the bit they’re examining. It all helps.