Australian not alone. Australia is not alone in going to the Poznan conference on climate change without a firm commitment to reduced emissions targets. The world financial crisis has weakened the resolve of many nations to take bold steps against climate change. “The financial crisis will have an impact on climate change,” said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Sunday. “You already are seeing around the world a number of wind energy projects being pushed back.”

In Europe it is the Germans now leading the way in trying to get the European Union to delay the introduction of more stringent rules aimed at increasing fuel efficiency and decreasing CO2 emissions from cars. Der Spiegel reports that the Union has long been planning to introduce strict rules on the amount of CO2 cars manufactured in the 27-member bloc are allowed to emit. The German Environment Minister, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, seems to be leaning toward a compromise. He suggested over the weekend that rules under consideration to mandate maximum automobile emissions of 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2012 be pushed back to 2015 — though at the same time insisting that the much stricter 2020 goal of 95 grams per kilometer be maintained.

A return to news. The hysteria has departed — at least from page one. The Daily Telegraph

There is now quite a different tone in the way politics is covered as the new editor Gary Linnell puts his stamp on things.

I hope he is rewarded by increased sales.

Now, if he could only do something to counterbalance the distorted opinions of Piers Akerman …

A charming host. Sydney Morning Herald editor Alan Oakley has come in for plenty of flack for sacking Mike Carlton as one of the paper’s Saturday columnists but he showed last night he is not a small minded fellow. The radio star was one of the golden oldies that Oakley invited to the dinner last night at the old Parliament House to mark the retirement of that real star of the Saturday Herald Alan Ramsey. I am pleased to report that while the weekly musings are disappearing there is every likelihood of a book from the political journalist that the politicians love to hate.

Some frank truth telling. Some remarkable truth telling from within the financial markets is reported this morning by Alan Kohler in Business Spectator. The story quotes a newsletter from the mighty firm of Goldman Sachs JB Were admitting that analysts “seek to curry favour with management in order to preserve their information networks” and that analysts need to manage their “reputational risks”, so they “engage in herding behaviour”.

Evidence of the impact that these factors have on the recommendations firms give to clients is given by comparing the firms’s own prediction of companies as a whole with those for individual stocks. For 2009 Goldman Sachs JB Were is predicting that overall earnings of industrial companies will decline by 15 per cent. However the “bottom up” analysts (that is, those who look at individual companies) are, in aggregate, still forecasting profit growth next year of 3 per cent and 11 per cent for 2010.

Peter Fray

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