7 Aug 18

Daisy Penman

7 Aug 18

Good morning, 

Scientists have warned that the planet could be just decades away from global warming that renders certain areas uninhabitable. This could happen if average global temperatures reach 2C higher than they were in pre-industrial times, research suggests, and findings show that we are already half way there. 

Research by international scientists highlighted 10 “feedback processes” that would kick-in at around 2C of global warming and which would act “like a row of dominoes”, sending the world into a tailspin of catastrophic change. 

The results sound like the setting for a dystopian novel. A “Hothouse Earth” would be created, with temperatures stabilising at a global average of 4C-5C above pre-industrial levels. If this happens, areas of the planet around the equator would be uninhabitable, sea levels would rise to nearly 200 feet higher than they are today, potentially swallowing coastal cities.

With higher than average temperatures set to carry on until October, is it time for us to look at what all this might mean for the future? Many have pointed tothe BBC’s dire warning in 2007 about what a “typical summer’s day” in Britain might look like in 2020, with the temperatures predicted well below what we have seen this year.

Those warnings seemed incredulous at the time, just as the news from these scientists does now. But in the words of climate researcher Dr Phil Williamson: “In the context of the summer of 2018, this is definitely not a case of crying wolf, raising a false alarm. The wolves are now in sight.”

News 

Reports suggest that Britain plans to seek the extradition from Russia of two suspects in the Salisbury poisonings. It is understood that Scotland Yard detectives are confident they have identified the perpetrators of the attack and the planned extradition request is set to place new pressure on the Kremlin following the diplomatic row that erupted after the original poisoning. The initial victims – Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia – survived the attack but Dawn Sturgess, who came into contact with a perfume bottle thought to have been discarded by the attackers, died last month. 

Nicola Sturgeon has warned Theresa May that using a “no-deal” scenario as a negotiating tactic with the EU increases the danger of it becoming a reality. The Scottish first minister’s comments come before a summit between the two leaders this afternoon that is likely to be tense, with government sources dismissing Sturgeon’s words as predictable. The first minister went on to say that no deal would be a “catastrophic prospect”. 

President Rouhani of Iran has accused the US of trying to “create chaos” and refused to meet for talks as a deadline for unilateral American sanctions approached. In a televised address, Rouhani criticised President Trump with a vague threat that the US would “regret” its choices, but stopped short of repeating his previous threat to disrupt shipping in the Gulf. Iran has been shaken by protests against inflation in the past week, with a protester shot dead in Karaj on Saturday.

Business & Economy 

Carillion’s former directors are to face questioning from the Insolvency Service over the collapse of the government contractor. Nearly seven months after the company entered liquidation it announced that it had finished transferring hundreds of contracts to new suppliers to ensure smooth continuity of public services. Officials are expected to spend more time on investigating why the company failed, including a closer look at the role of the former directors. The IS has the power to disqualify people from serving as company directors for up to 15 years if it believes misconduct took place.

Spire Healthcare, one of Britain’s biggest private hospital operators, saw its shares fall below their float price after the company issued a profit warning yesterday. The firm blamed the funding squeeze on the NHS for its low earnings, with fewer NHS referrals and higher investment costs playing a part. Investors had expected earnings to be flat compared with last year, and this shock led the FTSE 250 company’s stock to fall by as much as 27.5% yesterday. The news is a setback for Justin Ash, who was appointed as chief executive last October to revive Spire.

The continued heatwave and the World Cup boosted consumer spending for the third month in a row, according to data from Barclaycard. Spending rose by five per cent year-on-year in July, making this the strongest three-month period in the four years the bank has been collecting the data. Essential spending on food, drink and fuel rose by 8.7% and pubs enjoyed a boost from England’s unexpected run at the World Cup, with spending in pubs rising 16.8% month-on-month. However, retail sales increased only 0.5% year-on-year in July compared to a rise of 1.1% in June, according to the British Retail Consortium KPMG sales monitor.

Markets

What happened yesterday?

The FTSE 100 finished the day up by 0.06% at 7,663.78 while in America the Dow Jones was up by 0.16% at 25,502.18 at closing. Sterling sank to an 11-month low against the dollar, falling below $1.30 as the threat of a “no-deal” Brexit was once again raised.

Tensions between the US and China grew yesterday after President Trump claimed that his tariffs on China were “working big time” and that they were “really hurting [China’s] economy.” The president’s comments come after Beijing threatened tariffs on $60 billion of US imports and the Chinese stock market was overtaken by Japan for the first time in four years, demoting it to the third biggest in the world.

Finals
Hargreaves Lansdown

Interims
Clarke (T.)
Domino’s Pizza Group
Contour Global
InterContinental Hotels Group
Intertek Group
Meggitt
Old Mutual Limited NPV (DI)
Rotork
Standard Life Aberdeen
TP ICAP
Verona Pharma
Zotefoams

Trading Announcements
UDG Healthcare PLC

UK Economic Announcements
(08:30) Halifax House Price Index

Int. Economic Announcements
(07:00) Balance of Trade (GER)
(07:00) Current Account (GER)
(07:00) Industrial Production (GER)
(20:00) Consumer Credit (US)

 

Columns of Note 

In The Guardian, Nesrine Malik dissects remarks Boris Johnson made about the burqa in a column for The Daily Telegraph yesterday. Johnson compared women in burqas to “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”, but did not recommend that Britain follow Denmark’s example and ban burqas in public. Malik is particularly interested in this point, as she sees it as Johnson showing how much sway he believes he has on policy and the opinion of they nation. Malik also lambasts politicians for ignoring the opinions of the women who wear them, saying that burqas have become a code in politics for Muslims in general and she argues that this article shows the Conservative party is in no rush to distance itself from its “Muslim problem”.

In The Times, Clare Foges argues that the EU will always come out on top in Brexit negotiations. She says that the only two realistic outcomes are that the EU wins economically with a deal that is more beneficial to them than the UK, or they win politically, with the UK “crashing out” and serving as a warning to other nations considering an exit. Foges criticises Brexit supporters who believed that this would be an easy deal and says that they forget how much emotion surrounds this issue for those who support the EU - both in the UK and abroad.

Did you know? 

It is generally agreed by historians that the first official parliament was held in Iceland in 930 (the Alþingi), however the oldest continuous parliament is the Tynwald on the Isle of Man, which started in 979 and is still in business today.

Parliamentary highlights 

House of Commons
In recess until September 4, 2018.
 
House of Lords
In recess until September 4, 2018.
 
Scottish Parliament
In recess until September 4, 2018.