Falling fossil fuel prices create a climate change opportunity

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Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

The recent and sharp fall in fossil fuel prices, thanks to new extractive techniques, will not last forever. It is high time to think about its threats and the opportunities.

In the short term, lower fossil fuel prices are terrible news for autocrats and kleptocrats whose survival depends on the resource rents created by higher prices. Read more…

APEC’s first 25 years and the road ahead

Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computers are lined up at the media center ahead of APEC China 2014 at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, 4 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

APEC leaders will meet in Beijing in November, 25 years after the APEC process was launched in Canberra in 1989. Some early hopes have been met, while others have been dashed. Read more…

Welcoming China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank initiative

Chinese workers pave rails at a construction site of Chengmianle. China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank initiative will be launched this year. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

In October 2013, just before the APEC meeting in Bali, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The bank will be launched this year, possibly when APEC leaders meet in Beijing.

This new development bank can help fill the vast unmet demand for productive economic infrastructure, especially in the emerging economies of Asia. Read more…

A role for APEC: accelerating investment in economic infrastructure

Construction workers move stainless steel at a building site in Beijing. APEC leaders can agree this year on steps to promote infrastructure investments. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

The world has a huge demand for economic infrastructure, including better transport and communications among economies. The world economy is performing well below its potential and, in 2011, Indonesia alerted APEC and G20 leaders to the significant potential benefits of meeting this demand. In the short term, new investment would help to further boost demand, while current low rates of interest provide an excellent opportunity to invest in economic infrastructure that would raise long-term productivity and integrate economies. Read more…

RCEP will help get Asian integration back on track

Leaders from ASEAN pose for a photo during the opening of the two-day World Economic Forum on Asia Thursday, May 22, 2014 at the financial district of Makati, east of Manila, Philippines. (Photo AAP)

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

Asian interest in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) process is rising. It is now perceived to be far better suited to Asia than the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is dominated by the interests of the United States. After recent failures to conclude United States–Japan market access negotiations, the proposed TPP is no longer expected to lead to comprehensive trade liberalisation. And, on closer inspection, so-called ‘platinum standards’ are seen to suit rich economies while limiting the ability of emerging economies to compete. Read more…

Seizing the global infrastructure opportunity in Indonesia

Workmen bed down the reinforcing for an elevated roadway in Jakarta on 14 April 2011. In recent years Indonesia has begun to build institutions that will help the nation’s infrastructure development. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Mahendra Siregar, BKPM, Andrew Elek, ANU, and Maria Monica Wihardja, World Bank

Five years after the 2008 global financial crisis, the world economy is still operating well below capacity, largely because of serious policy mistakes in ‘advanced’ economies. Extraordinarily loose monetary policy has not been enough to counter the perverse fiscal austerity forced on the Eurozone by Germany and on the United States by the Tea Party. This combination of macroeconomic policy settings is not only inefficient — it is also unsustainable. Read more…

The potential role of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

This picture, taken on 8 August 2013, shows men looking at a new suspension bridge being built over the Yangtze River in China. Chinese President, Xi Jinping, recently announced the creation of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

China’s president, Xi Jinping, announced the creation of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) just before the October 2013 APEC meeting in Bali. If the new bank is managed professionally to finance commercially viable investments in economic infrastructure, it can begin to correct a very significant failure of global financial markets. Read more…