Group 3@Paris-China media: Climate change

Chinese cities are among the most polluted in the worldChinese cities are among the most polluted in the world

Media criticise the West for not “assuming its responsibilities” on climate change, amid a major UN meeting on the issue

Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli told a UN summit on Tuesday that Beijing wanted emissions to peak as soon as possible, without giving a timescale.

Speaking at the same forum, US President Barack Obama said climate change was moving faster than efforts to address it, and the US and China had a responsibility to lead other nations.

Commenting on a Global Carbon Project report showing that China’s per capita carbon emissions have surpassed those of the European Union, the China Daily notes that the report “does not tell the whole story”.

“China and the EU cannot be compared in such a simple way, given their different stages of development and economic situation,” Zou Ji, a professor at the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, tells the paper.

According to him, the EU has produced more cumulative emissions per capita than China since the industrial revolution.

Echoing similar views, Xinhua news agency publishes several commentaries that criticise the West for “hyping up” China’s status as the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter.

“The climate peril the human race is facing right now is not just an outcome of the industrial growth of developing countries, most of which only started several decades ago,” it argues.

The agency adds that along with globalisation, developed countries are also transferring more carbon emissions to the developing world by “shifting their high energy consuming and polluting industries”.

“It is highly advisable for those developed countries to stop pointing fingers at China and other developing countries, and start to realistically assume their due and unshakable responsibilities,” says the article.

In another commentary, Xinhua blames the West for “creating trouble” in order to obstruct the progress of negotiations and warns Western countries not to engage in “climate hegemony”.

“The West has enthusiastically pointed a finger at developing countries including China, but has totally ignored its promises and responsibilities… Some Western countries should stop acting as a climate hegemony but co-operate with developing countries to find a solution,” it says.

‘Consultative democracy’

As students continue to hold pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, mainland papers discuss the concept of “consultative democracy” after President Xi Jinping highlighted it as a “unique way to foster consensus among people”.

Mr Xi made the remark on Sunday during a meeting to mark the 65th anniversary of the national political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), state media report.

He pointed out that “democracy is not a decoration” and promised that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government would consult as many people as possible on as many issues as possible.

“What Mr Xi means is China’s CPPCC, as the political advisory body, plays the role of providing political advice for the government to make key policies and its people’s congress, as the legislative body, plays the role of a watchdog over the government,” notes the English-language China Daily.

Stating that there are no perfect democratic institutions, the daily adds that the national legislature, China’s People’s Congress, and CPPCC institutions “are the choice the Chinese people have made” and that the institutions “will constantly improve and better serve the people’s need for democracy and political freedom”.

The People’s Daily agrees by saying that “consultative democracy is a form of democracy created by the people of China”.

“In a socialist country with a huge population and a vast territory like ours, the governing bodies hold wide discussions with the people internally, brainstorm for ideas, seek unity of opinion and reach a consensus… This reflects the fact that the people are the masters of the country,” says the paper.

And finally, some media outlets voice support for a court’s decision to sentence a prominent Uighur scholar, Ilham Tohti, to life imprisonment, a move strongly condemned by rights groups and the US.

An article in the Chinese edition of the Global Times hails the court’s decision, saying that Mr Tohti “deserves it”.

Describing the outcome as “another significant achievement” in the fight against terror, the commentary states that the court proceeded in a “clear and standardised manner”, and had protected the rights of both the defendant and the prosecutor.

“Ilham Tohti is a preacher and a teacher. He should have a clear understanding of his responsibility but what he did goes not only against the morality of the teaching profession but is also a serious violation of the law,” says the paper. It accuses the scholar of writing articles that were intended to break up the country.

Group 11 – Paris Financial markets seem to be in a world of their own

This has been an unusual year for the global economy, characterised by a series of unanticipated economic, geopolitical, and market shifts – and the final quarter is likely to be no different. How these shifts ultimately play out will have a major impact on the effectiveness of government policies – and much more. So why have financial markets been behaving as if they were in a world of their own?A man scratches his head as he looks at a stock quotation board

Apparently unfazed by disappointing growth in both advanced and emerging economies, or by surging geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe and the Middle East, equity markets have set record after record this year.

This impressive rally has ignored a host of historical relationships, including the long-established correlation between the performance of stocks and government bonds. In fact, correlations among a number of different financial-asset classes have behaved in an atypical and, at times, unstable manner.

Meanwhile, on the policy front, advanced-country monetary policy cohesion is giving way to a multitrack system, with the European Central Bank stepping harder on the stimulus accelerator, while the US Federal Reserve eases off. These factors are sending the global economy into the final quarter of the year encumbered by profound uncertainty in several areas.

Looming particularly large over the next few months are escalating geopolitical conflicts that are nearing a tipping point, beyond which lies the spectre of serious systemic disruptions in the global economy. This is particularly true in Ukraine, where, despite the current ceasefire, Russia and the west have yet to find a way to ease tensions definitively. Without a breakthrough, the inevitable new round of sanctions and counter-sanctions is likely to push Russia and Europe into recession, dampening global economic activity.

Even without such complications, invigorating Europe’s increasingly sluggish economic recovery will be no easy feat. In order to kick-start progress, the ECB president, Mario Draghi, has proposed a grand policy bargain to European governments: if they implement structural reforms and improve fiscal flexibility, the central bank will expand its balance sheet to boost growth and thwart deflation.

If member states do not uphold their end of the bargain, the ECB will find it difficult to carry the policy burden effectively – exposing it to criticism and political pressure.

Across the Atlantic, the Fed is set to complete its exit from quantitative easing (QE) – its policy of large-scale asset purchases – in the next few weeks, leaving it completely dependent on interest rates and forward policy guidance to boost the economy.

The withdrawal of QE, beyond being unpopular among some policymakers and politicians, has highlighted concerns about the risk of increased financial instability and rising inequality – both of which could undermine America’s already weak economic recovery.

Complicating matters further are the US congressional elections in November. Given the likelihood that the Republicans will continue to control at least one house of Congress, Barack Obama’s policy flexibility will probably remain severely constrained – unless, of course, the White House and Congress finally find a way to work together.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the private sector’s patience with the three-pronged strategy of Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to reinvigorate the long-stagnant economy – so-called “Abenomics” – will be tested, particularly with regard to the long-awaited implementation of structural reforms to complement fiscal stimulus and monetary easing. If the third “arrow” of Abenomics fails to materialise, investors’ risk aversion will rise yet again, hampering efforts to stimulate growth and avoid deflation.

Systemically important emerging economies are also subject to considerable uncertainty. Brazil’s presidential election in October will determine whether the country makes progress toward a new, more sustainable growth model or becomes more deeply mired in a largely exhausted economic strategy that reinforces its stagflationary tendencies.

In India, the question is whether the recently elected prime minister, Narendra Modi, will move decisively to fulfil voters’ high expectations for economic reform before his post-victory honeymoon is over. And China will have to mitigate financial risks if it hopes to avoid a hard landing.

The final source of uncertainty is the corporate sector. So far this year, healthy companies have slowly been loosening their purse strings – a notable departure from the risk-averse behaviour that has prevailed since the global financial crisis.

Indeed, an increasing number of firms have started to deploy the massive stocks of cash held on their balance sheets, first to increase dividends and buy back shares, and then to pursue mergers and acquisitions at a rate last seen in 2007.

The question is whether companies also will finally devote more cash to new investments in plant, equipment, and people – a key source of support for the global economy.

This is a rather weighty list of questions. Yet financial-market participants have largely bypassed them, brushing aside today’s major risks and ignoring the potential volatility that they imply.

Instead, financial investors have trusted in the steadfast support of central banks, confident that the monetary authorities will eventually succeed in transforming policy-induced growth into genuine growth. And, of course, they have benefited considerably from the deployment of corporate cash.

In the next few months, the buoyant optimism pervading financial markets may prove to be justified. Unfortunately, it is more likely that investors’ outlook is excessively rosy.

• Mohamed A. El-Erian is chief economic adviser at Allianz and a member of its international executive committee. He is chairman of President Barack Obama’s Global Development Council and the author, most recently, of When Markets Collide.

© Project Syndicate, 2014

How globalization will affect us throughout our professional career – Group 105 – Sophia

At the beginning of our career, we are conditioned to think and act globally. Education is now at the service of the globalization. We are taught to work in an international environment with people from different backgrounds. We have acquired new skills such as languages, IT tools, universal practices and methods in order to face this globalized word. Since the beginning of our study, we have been involved in the globalization process by attending internships abroad and exchange programs in foreign institutions. All of these have had a real influence on our prospective career, actually, many future professionals do not imagine working in a non-globalized context.

Before globalization, everything was limited to our home country. Communication was more difficult, our access to information was reduced and our job possibilities were smaller than today. Thanks to globalization and the arrival of new technologies, the world is opening its doors to everybody. Because of the internet, we can find a job abroad without going overseas. Applications are simplified: an electronic resume and a skype (non physical) interview are sufficient to get hired. With this globalization process, we can learn more about which methods other countries use to recruit or what kind of profiles they are looking for. Thanks to that, our chances are multiplied. We can anticipate our future environment and working conditions collecting important data or information about companies and country life for example. Find a job is becoming easier than 20 years ago thanks to globalization.

Long gone are the days when people would go to work, only to be surrounded by those who look, speak, and act just like themselves. Due to globalization and the mobilization of people across borders, the workplace is now filled with people of different nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures. It is for this reason that the professional careers of our generation and the ones to come will differ greatly from those in the past.  We are now forced to develop a global mindset in the workplace. Meaning, we must learn to accept and appreciate the differences in the workplace – more specifically – differences that stem from a multicultural workforce. Our professional career will partially depend on our ability to incorporate the differing values, opinions, and work-styles of our colleagues successfully. This is imperative, as the success of any company stems directly from the success of its employees – and feeling accepted and valued is key to this success.​