aposto-logoCuma, 3 Şubat 2023
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Cuma, Şubat 3, 2023
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Highlights of the week: Solar Geoengineering, Big Tech, India

Top stories of the week, curated by the editors at Aposto.

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As our selection of publications keeps growing, we are sharing highlights from the English-language Aposto publications every week.

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Aposto Team

TOP NEWS STORIES

Aposto Europe delivers your daily briefing on markets, politics, business, tech and more - all under 5 minutes. Don't miss out on what's happening in the world.


Friday

The UK economy contracted by more than first thought in Q3, according to revised figures from the Office for National Statistics released on Thursday, as Britain is widely expected to be heading into a recession. Britain’s GDP fell by a revised 0.3% in Q3-2022 against the 0.2% decline initially estimated.

  • Looking back: The ONS said the economy also grew less than first estimated throughout the first half of the year, with revisions showing the UK eked out growth of 0.6% in Q1 and 0.1% in Q2. The ONS has previously said growth stood at 0.7% and 0.2% in those quarters respectively. 

Thursday

Elon Musk pushed back on criticism from one of Tesla’s most vocal supporters amid growing concern about the billionaire CEO’s ability to manage Twitter and his other businesses.

  • What happened? Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth Management and longtime investor, tweeted about a perceived lack of leadership at the electric vehicle maker and said it’s "time for a shakeup." Musk replied by asking Gerber for his "great ideas" for Tesla and its board, and telling him to go "back and read your old Securities Analysis 101 textbook."
  • Why it matters: The discord comes as Tesla’s stock is down more than 60% since the start of the year. Meanwhile, Musk has sold nearly $40 billion worth of Tesla stock in the past year, with much of that going to fund his purchase of Twitter — despite repeatedly saying he would stop selling down his stake.

Wednesday

Russian gas flows are continuing via alternative links after an explosion occurred at a section of the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod link that goes to Ukraine for further supplies to Europe, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. A fire was extinguished after the incident, which reportedly happened during scheduled maintenance, according to local emergency services.

  • Zoom in: Dutch front-month gas futures —Europe’s benchmark— briefly surged as much as 6.6% on the explosion reports before erasing those gains. Gas nominations for Wednesday's transit via Ukraine so far remain unchanged, according to the nation’s grid data.

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INTRODUCING

Introducing... Aposto Science!

Aposto Science gathers all the best articles on science. Topics include physics, nature, space, medicine, innovation and beyond. In the first issue of Aposto Sports, you can read the article by Lili Fuhr, Deputy Director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Center for International Environmental Law.


Debunking Solar Geoengineering

BERLIN – As climate chaos threatens the Global North and the lifestyles of the world’s richest people, we might expect to hear elites demand a rapid exit from reliance on fossil fuels. Instead, a controversial idea is coming to the fore: dimming the sun. Advocates claim that through science fiction-like methods, known as solar geoengineering, we can dial down the planet’s thermostat by decreasing the amount of energy that reaches the atmosphere. The idea has gained enough traction for rich philanthropists to notice and for the White House to fund research. There’s just one problem: it’s a recipe for disaster.

One technological proposal currently making headlines is Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI), with advocates claiming releasing aerosols into the upper atmosphere and bouncing sunlight back into space would reduce surface temperatures. This idea is gaining traction at a time when some contend that we should be working on a plan B because it is too late to limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius as agreed in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. But giving up this ambition would be a gift to carbon polluters, as International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol recently explained, and the notion that solar geoengineering could ever be a plan B is false and dangerous.

Experts have repeatedly debunked the idea that we can “control” the earth’s thermostat. The world’s foremost authority on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has warned that solar geoengineering is not a credible solution. Climate models show that masking global heating with sunlight reduction could bring massive changes in atmospheric circulation and alter rainfall patterns – such as the monsoon – with especially pronounced effects in countries that are already experiencing increasingly severe and frequent storms, droughts, fires, and other climate-related events.

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POPULAR ON APOSTO

Aposto Tech gathers the best articles on technology at Aposto, curated by our editors.


The Napoleons of Big Tech

By Bill Emmott

LONDON – Companies have long had to manage “key person risk,” even taking out insurance against the possibility of losing top executives through death, illness, or injury. But the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX, Meta’s plummeting share price, and the chaos at Twitter following its takeover by Elon Musk suggest that “key people” can pose a very different kind of danger. Call it “Napoleonic founder” risk. Perhaps investors and lenders should be demanding a premium to cover the risk that a star entrepreneur will one day become an egomaniacal dictator, burning money along the way.

The risk is not new, of course. Business history is full of executives going rogue with corporate funds, and of successful entrepreneurs failing to realize that mature, publicly traded companies are not their personal playthings. But with each business cycle, it seems, old lessons must be relearned.

Following the dot-com crash at the turn of this century, the storied American investor Warren Buffett famously quipped that “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” Such is the modern business cycle: it flows eternally from optimism to pessimism, and from boom to bust. Yet Buffett might have added that the optimistic high tides are the moments when precautions must be put in place. Once you have been confronted with the naked truth, your money may already have been lost.

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FINANCE

Aposto Finance gathers the best articles on finance at Aposto, curated by our editors. Topics include micro and macro economic developments, market reports and more.


Can India Fulfill Its Potential?

By Carl Bildt

STOCKHOLM – In 2023, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country. And while China has already passed its demographic zenith and begun to age, India’s ascent will continue for decades.

To be sure, after abandoning its socialist model in 1991, India has struggled to boost its economic growth, whereas China’s four decades of “reform and opening” have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and brought high-income status within sight. As a result, its economy is now six times larger than India’s, and the difference between the two countries’ basic infrastructure is glaring. But with Chinese President Xi Jinping moving his country back in a more statist direction, growth has slowed substantially.

Meanwhile, India’s economy has been outpacing most others this year, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems determined to put his country on a path to close the gap with China. This fall, India surpassed the United Kingdom to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, and recent estimates suggest that its current policies and growth rates will make it the third-largest national economy in a decade or so. While its projected growth rate for 2023 is below that of 2022 (5.9% compared to 6.9%), a rapid ascent up the global economic ladder remains well within reach.

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FURTHER READING

Aposto Business offers the best articles on business at Aposto, curated by our editors. Topics include micro-mobility, future of work, energy, green economy, consumer products, marketing and more.


Founders who got it wrong: Major layoffs at tech companies

In recent weeks, Amazon has become the first publicly traded company in the world to lose 1 trillion dollars in market capitalisation. The tech giant's shares fell 4.3% on November 9, with its valuation falling to nearly 879 billion dollars after closing the day with a record market capitalisation of 1.88 trillion dollars in July 2021. About 1 week later, the company's CEO Andy Jessy said in an e-mail to employees that ‘the annual evaluation process is more difficult than ever due to the difficulties in the economy’ and that the layoffs, which will affect 10,000 people, will continue in early 2023.   

Amazon wasn't the only company in the tech sector where alarms went off, as rising inflation, rising recession concerns, tight monetary policies, and below-expected financial results led to a decline in tech stocks. Companies that planned to cut spending to prepare for tough times started to downsize their workforce. According to information in Layoffs.fyi, which tracks the layoffs, 145 tech companies announced their layoffs in November, while the number of tech workers who lost their jobs reached 45,265.

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