While scientists had been expecting it for some months, the news yesterday that an iceberg four times the size of Greater London had broken away from Antarctica left them wondering what the dramatic calving means for stabilisation in the region and triggered a debate into whether the advance of climate change played any part in the collapse.
At more than 6,000 km² in area and containing a trillion tons of ice, it represents one of the biggest ever icebergs recorded having fragmented from the Larsen C ice shelf in West Antarctica. Although experts said there will be no immediate impact, with global sea levels not expected to rise, a general fear has been expressed that this process has sped up the destabilisation of the ice shelf and we could see what David Vaughan, director of science at the British Antarctic Survey, calls a “dramatic acceleration” of the glaciers behind them. This was the case in both 1995 and 2002, when a rise in the sea level resulted ice shelves had broken in other parts of the region.
A lack of environmental data on Larsen C means the extent to which climate change affected yesterday’s development remains in doubt. While there are some who are convinced global warming contributed, the general consensus appears to be that there isn’t enough conclusive evidence at this stage.
With Larsen C now following Larsen A and B in experiencing a significant ice break despite being subjected to cooler temperatures than its southern cousins, puzzlement amongst environmental researchers has been heightened. However, thanks to yesterday’s dramatic development, they now have what NASA's Tom Wagner calls a “natural laboratory” to study how the ice shelf responds and to better understand the ice, air and ocean factors at play in the Antarctic Peninsula.
The UK government will today publish a long-awaited bill that will bring all European Union laws onto the UK statute book. The Repeal Bill will ensure the same rules apply in the UK after Brexit, while giving UK parliaments the power to change them. Brexit Secretary David Davis has implored all parties to “work together”, with the bill expected to face a difficult passage through Parliament when it is debated in the Autumn.
Donald Trump last night defended his beleaguered son Donald Trump Jr as possible ties to Russia continue to engulf his administration. The US president took to Twitter to defend his son for agreeing to a meeting with a Russian lawyer to get information on Hillary Clinton. Trump’s pick for FBI director, Christopher Wray, declared that Trump Jr was wrong to meet with Russian officials and should have instead notified the federal law enforcement agency. (£)
Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been sentenced to nine and a half years in prison after he was convicted of corruption charges. The charges relate to claims Lula received an apartment as a bribe in a corruption scandal linked to state oil company Petrobras. Lula, who was wildly popular during his eight years as president until 2011, denied any wrongdoing and claimed the trial was politically motivated.
Business & Economy
The chair of the US Federal Reserve has said the US economy was strong enough for interest rates to continue increasing despite concerns over falling inflation. While the increase will remain lower than previous economic cycles, Janet Yellen’s approach has been interpreted as doveish by the markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial index reaching a fresh all-time high of 21,535. In a contrast to Yellen, Ben Broadbent, a close ally of governor Mark Carney, said the Bank of England was not ready to raise rates. (£)
Google yesterday secured a rare legal victory in Europe after a court in Paris ruled the internet giant did not have to pay €1.1bn (£970m) in back taxes. Google had been accused of illegally routing sales in France through Ireland in order to avoid paying higher corporation tax. However, the case ruled that the internet search firm's Irish subsidiary was not liable for tax in France.
Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed a £3.65bn ($4.75bn) settlement with the US Federal Housing Finance Agency in what has been viewed as a big step towards clearing the legacy of its involvement in trading toxic US mortgage-backed debt before the financial crisis.
What happened yesterday
A bounce in oil and mining shares helped the FTSE 100 close 1.19% higher yesterday. Antofagasta rose by 3.1% and a 0.4% rise in the price of Brent Crude helped towards a 1.9% rise in BP shares.
The announcement of a “significant” oil discovery off the coast of Mexico contributed towards the 35.1% hike in Premier Oil, while shares in Carillion continue to fall, down 26.6%.
On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.3% against the dollar to trade at $1.2887. It also saw a rise against the euro, up 0.8% to 1.1294 euros.
AdEPT Telecom, Dart Group
Babcock International Group, Burberry Group, JPMorgan Income & Capital Inv Trust, Sports Direct International, Telford Homes
ASOS, Babcock International Group, Premier Oil, SSP Group
UK Economic Announcements
(00:01) RICS Housing Market Survey
Int. Economic Announcements
(07:00) Consumer Price Index(GER)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(13:30) Producer Price Index(US)
Columns of Note
Writing in The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland said that Theresa May’s biggest misjudgement during her year as Prime Minister has been the decision to ally herself with Donald Trump. He says that the most recent controversy surrounding Donald Trump Jr only serves to show once again that May’s eagerness to become the President’s biggest foreign friend was a severe miscalculation on the part of the prime minister.
Christian May, editor of City A.M., writes this morning that the City of London should be viewed as a key asset that can play an integral role in EU exit negotiations rather than an “entity that can fight its own political battles”. Declaring the capital as the “engine room of the British economy”, May encourages his namesake in Downing Street to include the City as part of her delegation in Brussels as Brexit talks get underway.
Did you know?
One per cent of the earth’s supply of wood is used by IKEA on an annual basis. The Swedish company make around 100 million pieces of furniture every year.
House of Commons
Transport (including Topical questions)
Business questions - Andrea Leadsom
House of Lords
Changes to the application of the Barnett formula to Wales and Scotland arising from additional financial provision for Northern Ireland
Restoring the Northern Ireland Executive
Local government finance and arrangements beyond 2020
In recess until 3rd September.
House of Commons
No business scheduled
House of Lords
No business scheduled