Wednesday, February 24, 2021

UPSEAA Lecture 9, Andrew Masigan on PH and VN

A good lecture this afternoon by my friend and fellow BusinessWorld columnist, Andrew Masigan.

Andrew and I would occasionally exchange notes on some economic issues. We would be guests together in some programs of One News Cignal TV in 2019, we had a drink last year.

Andrew gave a half hour, 29 slides presentation at nearly 70 people, many high caliber business leaders and consultants in the audience including some non-UPSE alumni invited by UPSEAA President Jeffrey Ng. Below are some of the important data that Andrew shared, I screen shot them into one table.

The above numbers show:

1. FDI intake, VN 2x of PH.
2. Merchandise X, VN nearly 4x of PH.
3. Services X, PH more than 2x of VN.
4. GDP size, I think VN will overtake PH around 2023
(per capita GDP, VN already overtook PH in 2020).
5. Industrial estates, PH still under endless rural land redistribution (AR) terrorism, VN has none.
6. Raw materials supply, implying VN domestic inv more dynamic than PH in developing such raw materials.
7. Cost to export, border compliance, PH 1.5x than VN.
8. Cost to export, documentary compliance, VN nearly 3x of PH.
9. Household electricity cost, PH nearly 2x of VN.
10. Industrial electricity cost, PH 1.5x of VN.
11. CIT, PH to catch up VN's 20% by 2027.
12. VAT, PH > VN and all others in E Asia.

On #4, IMF projections as of October 2020, PH projected GDP contraction in 2020 was -8.3%, actual is -9.5%. VN projected GDP growth was 1.6%, actual is 2.8%. Even at 1.6% VN growth and -8.3% PH contraction, VN already overtook the PH in 2020 in per capita income, $3,498 vs $3,373.
At actual 2.8% VN growth and -9.5% PH contraction, VN per capita income last yr would be around $3,600 vs PH's $3,300. 

One reason why #9 and #10 happened, VN has more realistic energy policies like not too gung-ho with intermittent, unstable and expensive solar-wind. See table below, from my column yesterday.

From the QnA and Comments at the chat box, it was a great lecture, lots of praises from the audience. Kudos, my friend, great lecture. And good decision, President Jeff, to get him as resource speaker.

See also:
UPSEAA lecture 5, Iggy Sison and Del Monte pineapple farming, March 01, 2020 
UPSEAA Lecture 6, Ferdie Constantino and SMC infra, August 28, 2020 
UPSEAA Lecture 7, Dr. Butch Arroyo, October 17, 2020 
Dr. Iggy Agbayani's UPSEAA lecture 8 , November 04, 2020.

Climate 97, Econ and infra implications of a cooling planet

It's late February already and still raining here in our part of the tropics, thank you La Nina and continued cooling. On normal season in Luzon area, rainy season is June to October, occasional rains in November-December. The rest are dry months.

That "unprecedented, unequivocal man-made" Gorebal warming, where art thou? See the charts...

This year, many cold days and nights were recorded.

Dozens or hundreds of scientific papers published in 2020 alone showing that planet Earth was warmer in the past than today,

Skeptic Papers 2020 (1)
A Warmer Past: Non-Hockey Stick Reconstructions

Skeptic Papers 2020 (2) 
Solar Influence On Climate

Check also these weird stories:

Climate change: Snowy UK winters could become thing of the past 
By Justin Rowlatt  6 December 2020

Snow may not settle in most of UK by end of century, study suggests 
Climate crisis likely to cause warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, says Met Office
PA Media  Last modified on Mon 7 Dec 2020 11.47 GMT

BBC One Planet Special 2007 0302 - predictions of warmer winters, for UK & Northern Hemisphere

Snowjobs are just a thing of the past…er, present 
Anthony Watts   2013February22

Meanwhile, here are the economic and infra implications of a cooling planet:

1. More open pit mining needed, then leave the open deep crater as man-made lake to help store more rain water and reduce flash flood.

2. More dredging of creeks, rivers and lakes to minimize flash flooding.

3. More dams and weir (big and small), more hydro power plants needed.

4. Less solar farms, solar hates shade -- from clouds, rains and tall trees. Solar the most anti-green of all energy sources.

5. Public health, more focus on water- flood- and mosquito-borne killer diseases: malaria, dengue, leptospirosis, etc.

6. Housing, more sturdy high rise structures, less kubo-kubo or bungalow type.

7. Abolish CCC, other "save the planet" bureaucracies and junkets, reallocate public funds for more sturdy roads, bridges, etc.

See also: 
Climate 94, Eat worms and bugs to save the planet, January 15, 2021
Climate 95, Anthropocene, Extended La Nina, carbon tax February 9, 2021
Climate 96, Anthropocene line of Sir Noel de Dios, February 14, 2021.

Monday, February 22, 2021

BWorld 475, Mobility control, growth control, price control

* My article in BusinessWorld, February 16, 2021.

The government imposed a strict lockdown over Metro Manila and other provinces on March 16, 2020. It was supposed to be for two weeks only to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases. The two weeks became two months, and now we are on the 11th month of strict, prolonged lockdown.

Making good measurement of mobility changes and restrictions of people and goods is the Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports (GCCMR). There are six areas where mobility changes are measured from the baseline, the median value from the fiveweek period between Jan. 3 Feb. 6, 2020. I chose the area on Transit stations (subway/MRT stations, seaport, taxi stand, highway rest stops, car rentals) because they capture mobility (or lack of it) of people and goods.

Then I compared the GDP (gross domestic product) growth of economies to see any correlation between high mobility control and GDP growth or contraction. Then the COVID-19 deaths per million population (CDPMP) to test the hypothesis that “more lockdown = less COVID cases and deaths.”

The numbers show this general trend: more lockdowns and mobility control leads to growth control and contraction, with little or no impact on controlling COVID-19 deaths. Take note in particular the Philippines, Malaysia, and the UK for strict lockdowns, Vietnam and Taiwan for light lockdown economies (see Table 1).

So the government’s strict, indefinite lockdown is successful only in making the Philippines Asia’s worst performing economy in 2020, and having the biggest contraction in Philippine history since 1947 when GDP figures were first collected.

Now comes the vaccine-pushing agenda, seemingly with little difference from shabu-pushing except that the government is the main pusher for the former.

The Philippines still has a high incidence of communicable diseases like tuberculosis (TB) in Asia. In 2018 for instance, TB incidence in the Philippines was three times that of Vietnam, six times that of Malaysia, and 12 times that of Singapore. Meanwhile, the Philippines had twice the number of deaths by communicable diseases and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions (CDMPNC) in 2016, than Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan (see Table 2).

But now public resources are heavily diverted towards controlling COVID-19 cases, adversely affecting resources to fighting other communicable diseases like TB, dengue, pneumonia, malaria, etc.

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) remains the most consistent group in the country in calling for: 1.) adopting focused protection of the vulnerables, early and home-based treatment of those with symptoms, and, 2.) lifting the lockdown. The group and its members are not anti-vaccine as is said by many groups in the vaccine-pushing agenda. The group believes that innovation and R&D for safe and effective vaccines takes many years, even decades, not just a few months. Thus, mass vaccination should not be hurried. There are many proven, decades-old, off-patent and cheap generic treatments that are existing but sneered at if not demonized by the Department of Health, World Health Organization, and establishment medical groups that do not want to antagonize the health department and the World Health Organization.

What should be hurried by the government is the drastic relaxation of the strictures on the mobility of people and goods, opening up the economy and schools. Domestic flights and public land transportation should not be hampered by very strict requirements and permits as if people are going to Iraq and Syria.

Related to mobility control and growth control are various price controls imposed by the government like the recent pork price control. These are on top of (minimum) wage control, fare control, housing rent control, drug price control, electricity price control (at WESM), and interest rate control. And on top of existing gun control, drugs control, inequality control, and so on. These are government regulatory overreach.

The main functions of government — why it was invented in many societies in the first place — are murder control, robbery control, rape control, abduction control, arson and destruction of property control. Government should penalize and demonize criminals. Government is not justified in imposing new command and control on various aspects of the economy.

See also:
BWorld 472, Subsidies and energy policies under Biden, February 02, 2021 
BWorld 473, Growth, vaccine, ‘Cha-cha,’ and DND drama in UP, February 03, 2021 
BWorld 474, No to indefinite electricity subsidies, February 13, 2021.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Energy 140, Texas blackouts, wind turbines frozen

Some reports here of terrible blackouts for days in Texas and other states in the US during the heavy winter storm this week. But first, here is one article last year praising wind "blowing away" coal.

Texas Power Generation: Did Coal Get Blown Away By Wind?

Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Chief Energy Officer and Ed Hirs, Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Houston Energy Fellows
Jan 13, 2020,10:33am EST

"Power Bills To The Moon": Chaos, Shock As Electricity Prices Across US Explode
Tyler Durden  SUNDAY, FEB 14, 2021 - 9:33

U.S. Energy Crisis Deepens With Nearly 5 Million in the Dark
Brian K. Sullivan and Naureen S. Malik   Feb 15, 2021


Frozen wind turbines hamper Texas power output, state's electric grid operator says
Brandon Mulder  Austin American-Statesman  Feb 15, 2021

People Are Comparing Texas’ Winter Storm To The Day After Tomorrow
EDWARD LAUDER on 15th February 2021 at 11:51 am

Texas Deploys National Guard As 'Grid Chaos' Leaves Millions Freezing In Darkness 
Tyler Durden's  MONDAY, FEB 15, 2021 - 9:12

This Blizzard Exposes The Perils Of Attempting To ‘Electrify Everything’
Robert Bryce   Feb 15, 2021,10:16am EST

The outage of sanity. As Texas freezes in power cuts, the only sure renewable is climate madness 
Melanie Phillips  Feb 16, 2021

Texas Freeze Raises Cost Of Charging A Tesla To $900
By Charles Kennedy - Feb 16, 2021, 12:00 PM CST

Texas frozen wind power – outages ensue, electricity now at unheard of $9000 per megawatt-hour 
Anthony Watts   Feb 16, 2021

The Day After Tomorrow – Dallas Edition 
David Middleton  Feb 16, 2021

Texas storm shuttering green energy an 'avoidable tragedy': Ex-energy secretary
Dan Brouillette argues Texas winter storm shows a 'diverse energy supply' is needed
By Talia KaplanFOXBusiness  February 16, 2021

Texas Bans NatGas Exports Out Of State, 7 Million Under 'Boil-Water' Notice
Tyler Durden  WEDNESDAY, FEB 17, 2021 - 17:33

Two Million? Five Million? Real Size of U.S. Blackouts a Mystery
By Lynn Doan  February 17, 2021, 10:40 AM Updated on February 17, 2021, 7:00 PM

Texas: Time To Get Rid Of This Ridiculous Wind Power 
February 17, 2021/ Francis Menton

Texas Spins Into the Wind 
An electricity grid that relies on renewables also needs nuclear or coal power.
By The Editorial Board  Updated Feb. 17, 2021 9:39 pm ET

This Basic Math Shows How Wind Energy Failures Contributed To Texas’s Deadly Power Loss
Daniel Turner   FEBRUARY 18, 2021

One Texas Resident Still Has Power, but His Bill Is Now Over $8,000

Texas Was "Seconds And Minutes" From Complete Disaster
Tyler Durden  THURSDAY, FEB 18, 2021 - 19:22

US power line tensions grow over green energy surge
Stakes rise as electricity grid becomes speedy route to cut carbon emissions
Gregory Meyer in New York FEBRUARY 18 2021

By Jason A. Isaac   FEBRUARY 18, 2021

The Failure Of The Texas Power Grid Is Worse Than You Think
John Daniel Davidson  FEBRUARY 18, 2021

Press Secretary Psaki: Biden Administration Sending Emergency Diesel Generators to Texas
Eric Worrall   February 18, 2021

'How in the world can anyone pay that?': Some seeing electric bills as high as $17K in wake of Texas winter storm
Jason Wheeler  Published: 9:36 PM CST February 18, 2021
Updated: 10:33 PM CST February 18, 2021

Assigning Blame for the Blackouts in Texas
Posted on February 18, 2021  By Planning Engineer

"Disasters Within Disaster" - Death Toll Rises To 30 As Texas Energy Crisis Hits Sixth Day
Tyler Durden  THURSDAY, FEB 18, 2021 - 11:55

Stop Being Ridiculous: A Green New Deal Would Make Snowstorms And Blackouts Worse
Auguste Meyrat  FEBRUARY 19, 2021

Outages Morph Into Outrage As Texans Slapped With "Mind-Blowing" Power Bills
Tyler Durden   FRIDAY, FEB 19, 2021 - 8:35

Profit warning as Texas freeze halts wind farms
Date: 19/02/21Reuters

The Texas Freeze: Why the Power Grid Failed
The state’s electricity system was considered a model. This week’s outages revealed shortcomings in the market structure.
By Katherine Blunt and Russell Gold    Feb. 19, 2021 6:41 pm ET

The Texas Blackout and Preparing for the Past
One lesson of the Texas energy crisis is surely a need to make infrastructure robust to the past in order to better prepare for the future
Roger Pielke Jr.   Feb 19, 2021

Cascend: Data Shows Wind-Power Was Chief Culprit Of Texas Grid Collapse
Tyler Durden   SATURDAY, FEB 20, 2021 - 10:45 

As Texas deep freeze subsides, some households now face electricity bills as high as $10,000
“The last thing an awful lot of people need right now is a higher electric bill — and that’s unfortunately something a lot of people will get stuck with."
By Leticia Miranda   Feb. 20, 2021, 4:52 AM PST / Updated Feb. 20, 2021, 5:06 AM PST

The Texas Energy Disaster
By Andy May  Feb 20, 2021

The blackouts have only just begun


Miscellaneous stories:

Gas up 18% since election, could surpass $4 under Biden
by Paul Bedard, Washington Secrets Columnist |   | February 11, 2021 08:23 AM

Biden’s Drilling Ban Devastates New Mexico While Boosting America’s Competitors
By Kevin Mooney   February 17, 2021

Germany’s ‘Green’ Energy Failure: Germany turns back to coal and natural gas as millions of its solar panels are blanketed in snow and ice
Laurie Foti  Feb 12, 2021

World’s ‘solar and wind capital’ freezing due to snow ‘blanketing millions’ of solar panels (Germany)
Sky News Australia    Feb 14, 2021

UK climate policies are to blame for making fuel poverty worse 
Date: 15/02/21  John Constable, GWPF Energy Editor

GWPF accuses Government of driving up electricity prices and energy poverty
Date: 15/02/21  Press Release, Global Warming Policy Forum

Green Folly: Berlin’s City E-Buses Leave Passengers Out In The Cold…Diesel Buses To The Rescue
By P Gosselin on 17. February 2021

WHO and the “Climate Emergency”
Willis Eschenbach   Feb 16, 2021 

Cost of offshore wind power is high and barely dropping?
February 19, 2021

U.K. Economy Suffers Biggest Slump in 300 Years Amid Covid-19 Lockdowns
By Jason Douglas and Paul Hannon   Feb. 12, 2021 8:17 am ET

See also:
Energy 137, Piki Lopez's climate and energy alarmism, December 26, 2020 
Energy 138, China coal and Europe near blackout, February 01, 2021 
Energy 139, Immediate impact of Biden policies vs fracking, killing Keystone pipeline, February 09, 2021.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

China Watch 42, ASEAN leaders' view of China and US

A good column today by a friend, Dr. Mangahas of SWS,

A survey of Asean thought-leaders 
By: Mahar Mangahas  / 05:05 AM February 20, 2021

Mahar wrote, 

"Asean chooses the US over China. If Asean were forced to align with one of the two, 62 percent in 2021 (up from 54 in 2020) choose the US...
The most trusted major power in the region is Japan (67 percent), followed by the EU (51), the US (48), India (20), and China (16). Japan is trusted for being a responsible stakeholder that respects and champions international law."

Amen to this, good points, Mahar. The CCP and Xi Jinping are seen as untrustworthy by ASEAN people. 

(This map from chinasage)
So Trump is correct in pushing back hard on CCP/Xi on many fronts.

1. CN High tariff protectionism.
2. CN large-scale IPR stealing,
3. Using/citing UN Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling in July 2016 on SCS/WPS that it is international water and not China water.
4. CN persecution of Uighur people as genocide.

Any backtracking by the Biden administration on any of these four impt policies will be seen as Biden appeasement of CN communista.

Meanwhile, this paper by a Fellow at the Brookings Institution, is shrewd.

A Superpower, Like It or Not
Why Americans Must Accept Their Global Role
By Robert Kagan  March/April 2021

He wrote,

"The Chinese believe that the United States is in decline, and so do many Americans. The danger is that as Beijing ramps up efforts to fulfill what it has taken to calling “the Chinese dream,” Americans will start to panic. It is in times like this that miscalculations are made."

 "Americans will start to panic" is wrong. The appropriate perspective should be "Americans will start to enforce international rule of law." And that law is the UN PCA ruling -- SCS/WPS is intl water, not China water. And CN nine-dash-line (occupying everything in SCS/WPS except Palawan mainland) is illegal.

In his concluding paragraph, he wrote,

"...the purpose of NATO and other alliances is to defend not against direct threats to U.S. interests but against a breakdown of the order that best serves those interests."

Wrong. The raison d 'etre of NATO is political and military defense of members vs that big power in Europe that's not a member. Which is USSR, now Russia. NATO was formed in 1949, after WW2 and when there was aggressive East Germany vs West Germany, when Poland, Estonia, other East Europe were not friendly to West Europe. 

The Kagan redefinition of NATO purpose is exactly the Dems and arms industry agenda. Endless US taxpayers big defense spending in Europe, subsidize the member-countries if necessary. Trump scuttled that "subsidize European members" policy, he made them pay their dues otherwise US will cut its spending, the Dems and arms industry were very unhappy. Unhappy with Trump and his stop endless wars policy, he must go. As Kagan suggested, Biden should continue the Dems and arms industry agenda, back to their happy days.

That's why I said that Kagan is shrewd. He indirectly praises CN and blames the US. He indirectly advances the Dems and US arms industry agenda in supporting US endless spending in NATO, never mind US taxpayers.

See also:
China Watch 39, Martin Jacques as CN propagandist, Sept. 12, 2019 
China Watch 40, More on US-CN rivalry, December 09, 2020 
China Watch 41, Trump vs Biden policies on China, February 04, 2021.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Constitution and FDIs

A good paper by my other former teacher at UP School of Economics (UPSE), also former Dean of the School and a National Scientist, Dr. Raul Fabella,

On the proposed lifting of the constitutional foreign ownership restrictions
Introspective  By Raul V. Fabella
February 14, 2021 | 5:59 pm

He wrote there, 

"By itself alone, the lifting will not create a tsunami of inward foreign investment as often vehemently but gratuitously asserted. The reason is that attracting foreign investment is like attracting hotel clientele: clients are always comparing packages of offerings...

The problem of being bottom of mind as an FDI (foreign direct investment) destination in the region has many fathers — foremost among them being: the high cost of power, the high cost of logistics, the number of signatures required and time delays in applications, the uncertainty of the regulatory environment, the weakness in the judicial system and the unsettled peace and order — no question but these concerns come higher in the minds of investors than foreign ownership restrictions. These hurdles will not go away with the lifting."

I agree with Sir Raul there. Lifting FDI Consti restrictions is a necessary but not sufficient condition for more FDIs coming in. The main problem of PH bureaucracies and political class is not respecting the rule of law, having frequent double talk, changing rules midway. Sir Raul cited PIATCO fiasco in building NAIA 3. 

I know of two other sectors where FDIs are already allowed with little restrictions, up to 100% ownership but foreigners are still penalized.

1. Mining, Tampakan gold-copper FTAA project by SMI, $5.9B, the single biggest FDI in the country. The mining firm has passed or submitted most or all requirements by the national govt (DENR, BIR, SEC, etc) but LGU, Cotabato provincial govternment, upon the prodding of mostly Manila-based bright boys and girls planet saviors who are anti mining, killed the project because they won't allow open pit mining.

2. Drug price control, affecting mostly multinational pharma. Round 1 in Sept. 2009 under former President Gloria Arroyo and DOH Sec. Duque, round 2 in Feb. 2020 under President Duterte and DOH Sec Duque (again).

Plus electricity price control at WESM affecting gencos investing in peaking plants. Recently pork price control, etc.

If ever there will be charter change (cha-cha), I wish to see the new Constitution to be as short as possible, something like 10 pages maximum. No details like 60-40 max foreign equity investments in many sectors. All details should be done by legislation.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Climate 96, Anthropocene line of Sir Noel de Dios

My former teacher at the UP School of Economics (UPSE), among my favorite and respected teachers in UP Diliman, Dr. Emmanuel "Noel" de Dios, wrote a paper "Anthropocene", (Feb. 8, 2021).
I wrote a blog post criticizing portions of his paper, 
Climate 95, Anthropocene, Extended La Nina, carbon tax.

I sent it to him and since we're friends, he replied to me and further expanded his belief on the Anthropocene hypothesis. Many people call it a theory (meaning, tested and proven hypothesis) but I don't believe that, it remains a hypothesis that can melt down with many actual world data. I replied back to him and got his permission to post and blog it. Here goes:

Feb. 12, 2021

Dear Nonoy,

Criticisms are most welcome! I thank you in fact for even bothering to read my little piece. Although you may represent a contrary viewpoint, I think you provide a real service in making people aware of the issues involved and the facts they must confront on either side in the process of making a judgement.

Just a minor point though: I realise you have been most involved and informed about the climate change debate. But although climate change is part of the argument regarding human impact on the planet and the decimation of the natural environment, it is not everything -- and I don't think my concern ("alarmism") relies on it alone. The sheer size and spread of the human population and our growing technological ability to reshape the natural environment to our needs is what is at issue. And it would be a problem even in a zero-carbon emissions environment. We would even then probably still continue to destroy forests and natural habitats (e.g., possibly using electric saws and EV tractors) in order to make way for large-scale agriculture, pasture lands; we would continue to level mountains to extract minerals (maybe using fuel-cell baggers), we would continue to expand urban settlements even with "green" buildings, and maintain and care for only the animals that we find consumable or cuddly and cute. Rising human population and the concomitant rise in consumption that goes with rising living standards would still grow faster than the ability of the natural environment to heal or regenerate itself.  Among others, biodiversity, which is the concern of Dasgupta et al. would still be drastically reduced. To be absurd, I suppose with enough technological change one might still imagine a world where flora and fauna might be preserved and catalogued as genetic material in test tubes and reproduced at will for display and enjoyment, using something like Star Trek's Replicator Machine. The question is whether that is the future we imagine not only for ourselves but for  generations to come. How much of the natural environment do we choose to preserve and in what form? That such a question can even be posed is one of the characteristics of this unique period when we have the choice of whether and how to adapt nature to our existence, rather than (as was the case for most human history) of adapting our existence to nature. That was my main point, and I think it is larger than the climate debate, although it includes it.

All the best,

Thank you, Sir Noel.
Me thinks that 7.6 billion people on earth is still small. 15 B, 30 B would still be fine.
Humanity's problem is that there are too many "conservation" concerns like anti-mining. On the other hand, we need more dams, more man-made lakes via open-pit mining and leave the open crater as is, for natural water catchments. Our problem in the PH and other tropical countries is not lack of water but too much water, during the wet season too much flood, water just go straight to human communities then to the sea.

With more vertical housing  and offices (more mining for steel, iron ore, copper, cement,...), the most "green" cities are the developed cities like NYC, Singapore, even Makati and QC. Vertical structures for human settlement and work, manufacturing, hospitals, etc. free up wide land that becomes urban forest park, etc.

As I posted in one chart on life expectancy, the endless "crisis" narratives come in one package. Population crisis, food crisis, hunger crisis, oil crisis, garbage crisis, NCDs crisis, climate  crisis, virus crisis,... ALL false. They are termed as "crisis" and human-made because the agenda is man-made solutions, which are govt, UN, multilaterals solutions. Lousy and corrupt. Very corrupt.

Permission to use your comment above Sir, for another blog post?
Thank you.


Dear Nonoy,

Sure, why not? My constant worry when writing short notes and casual remarks however is that I do not do full justice to the arguments and evidence -- both to support my own side and that of my oppositors. There is almost always more to be said.


More proof that the Anthropocene hypothesis is wrong.

1. Continuing improvement in human lives despite all the endless "crisis" narratives that we read and hear, see this summary from

  • In 1966, average life expectancy was only 56 years. In 2016, it was 72. That’s an increase of 29 percent.
  • Out of every 1,000 infants born, 113 died before their first birthday. In 2016, only 32 died. That’s a reduction of 72 percent.
  • Average income per person rose from $3,698 to over $17,469, or by 372 percent – and that’s adjusted for inflation.
  • The food supply rose from about 2,300 calories per person per day to over 2,800 calories, an increase of 22 percent, thus reducing hunger.

2. No major "extinction of species", an e xample is the Philippine tamaraw, water buffalo endemic in Mindoro island, believed to be "extinct" with zero trace since 1992 -- no sightings, no footprints, no manure, etc.

Tamaraw seen again at Mindoro park 
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:00 AM June 27, 2019

Back from the Dead: 5 ‘Extinct’ Animals That Were Not-So-Extinct When Rediscovered in 2019
By Staff Reporter  Jan 04, 2020 07:33 AM EST

3. Human sustainability, humans keep improving food production capability. Having several billions people more in the planet can be fed even with same area of agri land. Top chart coarse grains yield per hectare, lower chart cereals yield per hectare. There is overall increase through time across many countries.

4. Nature, mining sustainability is also happening. See these big land area developed countries, their mining production is mostly in the positive territory than negative/contractionary territory.

5. Construction sustainability also happening. See cement production in tons of three big population Asian countries (Indonesia data not given).

More data available if one will dig them more. Bottomline -- we are far from that Anthropocene hypothesis, where human activities have significant, adverse impact on the planet's ecosystems and climate. Maybe when human population has reached 100 billion. But at 7.8 billion estimated 2021 population, still far out. Anthropocene hypothesis is driven by endless crisis and alarmism narratives, which are all lousy. And corrupt.


UK cold weather: River Thames freezes over for first time in 60 years - PICTURED
By STEVEN BROWN    15:26, Fri, Feb 12, 2021 

Climate change is making extreme cold much less likely, despite the UK plummeting to -23°C
Simon Lee, University of Reading,  February 12, 2021 

See also:
Climate Tricks 93, Solar cycle and another attack on Willie Soon, May 11, 2020 
Climate 94, Eat worms and bugs to save the planet, January 15, 2021
Climate 95, Anthropocene, Extended La Nina, carbon tax (Feb. 9, 2021.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

BWorld 474, No to indefinite electricity subsidies

* My column in BusinessWorld, February 8, 2021.

The issues of no disconnection for months, and electricity subsidy for the “lifeline” consumers extended for another 30 years until 2051, have elicited varied reactions from many legislators, energy players and the public. Here are recent reports on this subject plus related stories published in BusinessWorld.

1. “Due process not followed in FiT adjustment, NGO claims” (Feb. 1).

2. “NREB confirms higher quota for contracted RE power” (Feb. 5).

3. “Palace approves two more months of no disconnection for poor power consumers” (Feb. 5).

4. “Decarbonizing for a better working world” (Feb. 1 and Feb. 8).

5. “Regulator notifies 81 utilities of potential violations in second half of 2020” (Feb. 8).

Report number 1 is about Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (LKI) pressuring the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) not to give a high feed-in tariff (FiT) allowance especially for solar and wind projects. In 2014, FiT for solar and wind were only P9.68/kWh and P8.53/kWh, respectively. In 2021, these will be increased to P11.28/kWh and P9.90/kWh, respectively.

Lots of favoritism is given to solar and wind, with high guaranteed prices for 20 years via FiT even if overall power generation rates are falling. In 2020 for instance, the customer effective spot settlement price (ESSP) at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) was only P2.45/kWh, the load-weighted average price (LWAP) only P2.41/kWh. And solar-wind will get P11.28/kWh and P9.90/kWh. Lousy cronyism.

Report number 2 is about the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) recommending the Energy Department to increase the minimum level of electricity contracted from renewable energy (RE) developers from the current 1% to 2.5%.

This will be burdensome for distribution utilities (DUs) which they will pass on to consumers. RE, especially solar-wind, is not cheap, it is expensive because it is unstable and intermittent, needs huge batteries, needs ancillary services from big diesel gensets as back-up power, which automatically raises the cost.

NREB now speaks as a big lobbyist for big solar-wind developers. Any public consultations done on how much additional cost consumers will endure and absorb? None as I know of. There are existing market-based schemes that promote RE, like the green energy option program (GEOP) under RA 9513 (RE law of 2008), and retail competition and open access (RCOA) under RA 9136 (EPIRA law of 2001). So why would NREB and big solar-wind developers impose higher punishment for the consumers? Get lost, guys.

Despite sweetheart schemes for RE like FiT, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, priority dispatch to the grid under the RE law of 2008, solar, wind, and biomass still contribute very little. In 2019, latest national data from the Department of Energy (DoE), these three intermittents combined contributed only 3.2% to total power generation. In 2020, data from the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) show that these three intermittents contributed only 4% of total power generation in the Luzon-Visayas grids (see Table 1).

Report number 3 is about extending the “no-disconnection” policy for lifeline consumers (those using 100 kWh/month or less) by two more months, and bills in Congress and Senate that extend the lifeline rates and subsidies until 2051, next 30 years.

These are energy socialism policies. No disconnection even if lifeline consumers do not pay their electricity bills for more than one year is the government removing household responsibility and passing this as private sector responsibility. It will adversely affect everyone in the power sector — DUs and electric cooperatives (ECs), generation companies (gencos), the transmission company, the banks that lend to these companies, etc.

I saw the statement issued by the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (Philreca) on Feb. 4. They are correct in saying that “If electricity consumers default on their utility bills payments, then, the DUs will eventually default as well to its power suppliers.”

Congress and NGO lobbyists that push for “no disconnection for lifeline consumers” forget or ignore that the private firms are themselves suffering from the pandemic too. Legislators and politicians pushing this are trying to look good with other people’s money.

Report/opinion number 4 is extending climate alarmism and RE cronyism agenda. If we look at our rich neighbors in the ASEAN like Singapore and Malaysia, they hardly care about having more intermittent energy in their electricity grid. The share of solar-wind in their total electricity generation in 2019 was less than 0.5% (see Table 2).

Report number 5 seems serious but there are no details given. These could be related to accumulated bills that run to tens of thousands because there were no monthly billing and collections from March to May or June.

The proposed electricity subsidy to lifeline customers until 2051 is wrong. A rich household with rooftop solar and which uses little electricity from the grid — below 100 kWh/month — is not a “lifeline” customer and hence, does not need a subsidy. A rich household in an expensive condo that uses all energy-efficient appliances and lights and consumes below 100 kWh/month is not a “lifeline” customer and hence, does not need a subsidy. And even poor households are already given monthly cash allowances by the government, have free healthcare, free education, so they hardly deserve additional electricity subsidy.

Endless subsidy policies promote mendicant and state-dependency thinking. They corrupt people’s values that individual and household responsibility can be erased because the government can always coerce and enforce corporate responsibility as a substitute. Not good.

See also:
BWorld 471, The US and world economy these past four years, January 24, 2021 
BWorld 472, Subsidies and energy policies under Biden, February 02, 2021 
BWorld 473, Growth, vaccine, ‘Cha-cha,’ and DND drama in UP, February 03, 2021.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Climate 95, Anthropocene, Extended La Nina, carbon tax

My former teacher at the UP School of Economics (UPSE), Dr. Emmanuel "Noel" de Dios, wrote a paper yesterday, Feb. 8, "Anthropocene",
Sir Noel is a very intelligent economist and academic, I have high regards for him.

But when it comes to climate papers, he seems to join the climate alarmism crowd. In his paper for instance, he wrote,

"The urgent problem of the human impact on the planet is the subject of two significant reports that appeared early this year: the first is the UNDP’s 2021 Human Development Report (HDR) titled Human development and the Anthropocene[2]; the second is The economics of biodiversity, a review led by the eminent Cambridge economist Partha Dasgupta... Both reports question whether the current manner that humans relate to nature can be sustained. (Short answer: no.)"

The UN Development Program (UNDP), sometimes called as "UN Developing Paper", follows its mother multilateral UN in producing new scary alarmist Frankenstein climate stories every single year. Humanity's relationship with nature is not sustainable? Big joke. As human population expands, nature is not bothered and supports more human modernization. Here are two quick proof...

Sir Noel further wrote,

"... wanton destruction and degradation of natural assets... a consensus now seems to emerge that the point of no return is fast approaching, if it is not already past...."

Not correct. Are there more flood, more storms, stronger storms, today than decades or hundreds or thousands years ago? 

Recent data say No. See these two charts, (a) global storm frequency, and (b) accumulated storm energy/strength, from 1970-2020. Nothing so scary so alarmin frankeinsteinin in the climate.

Meanwhile, the current La Nina seems to be inspired by the current indefinite lockdowns around the world. So La Nina is also moving towards indefinite cooling. US NOAA projections as of yesterday from 40 models show La Nina extending beyond the "ber" months of 2021.

On sea ice, north and south, Arctic sea ice seems to be below average, but Antarctica ice is much much above the average.

Meanwhile, here are some reports on US President Biden's climate plan:

Joe Biden’s business allies discuss ways to pay for infrastructure plan, including a carbon tax

Yellen says Biden is "fully supportive" of carbon pricing
Jan. 22, 2021

Joe Biden unveils $2 trillion green infrastructure and jobs plan


See also:
Climate Tricks 92, Using the virus to push climate alarmism, March 27, 2020 
Climate Tricks 93, Solar cycle and another attack on Willie Soon, May 11, 2020 
Climate 94, Eat worms and bugs to save the planet, January 15, 2021.

Covid 24, Lockdown damages in the Philippines

Some recent reports on the econ damages of strict indefinite lockdown in the Philippines.

Economic recovery in Philippines hinges on kids leaving lockdown 
January 26, 2021 

“The example of other countries might shed some light. In Singapore, where schools reopened relatively quickly after the circuit breaker period in June, overall retail sales have already returned to near pre-Covid levels by November,” said Euben Paracuelles, Singapore-based economist at Nomura Holdings Plc.

PH GDP seen to grow 3 percent in 2021, 'best case' at 4 percent
Jan 28 2021 01:17 PM

… best-case scenario at 4 percent with a smooth COVID-19 vaccine rollout and increased government spending on infrastructure and agriculture.

Alvin Ang, director of Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development, told ANC's Market Edge on Thursday… 

Moody’s Analytics downgrades 2021 PHL GDP 
February 1, 2021

MOODY’S ANALYTICS downgraded its growth projection for Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 to 4-5%, much lower than official forecasts, citing the lack of fiscal support for the economy and the uncertainty surrounding vaccine acquisition.

Philippine economy seen shrinking anew in Q1 
Lawrence Agcaoili - February 1, 2021 - 12:00am

Bank of the Philippine Islands chief economist Jun Neri said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) may contract mildly in the first quarter. “It seems consumer confidence is starting to show a more meaningful recovery based on the mobility data in the last six weeks of 2020.

Airlines at NAIA try to avert bankruptcy 
Rudy Santos - February 1, 2021 - 12:00am 

Before the pandemic, for instance, Philippine Airlines (PAL) flew around 290 to 300 flights per day including those of their hubs at the Clark and Cebu-Mactan international airports.

Now, the company flies only 90 flights per day and carrying only 40 to 60 passengers in an aircraft that could load up to 300 and 400 passengers, respectively.

Neda chief says PHL can further ease mobility restrictions to restart economy 
By Cai Ordinario  February 2, 2021

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila and nearby areas costs the economy P700 million in wages and salaries daily. This cripples consumption and hinders the growth of the Philippines economy.

Chua said the government has already extended a P1.258 trillion or 6.7 percent of GDP from the start of the pandemic. Together with the reform bills, the total assistance from the government will reach P2.567 trillion or 13.8 percent of GDP.

PH full economic recovery may take 4-5 yrs: Biz leaders
Bruce Rodriguez, Feb 03 2021 09:03 PM

Calixto Chikiamco, president of the Foundation for Economic Freedom, said the country's GDP per capita may only go back to pre-pandemic levels within 4-5 years if economic reforms do not push through.

He added that regaining the lost value of the local economy may take two to three years.

PH ‘urgently’ needs to reopen economy as retrenchments pile up, employer group head says 
Feb 04 2021 01:21 AM

According to Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, the country "relies too much on lockdowns" and restrictions to curb the pandemic, arguing the casualties of the deadly disease were far fewer than the number of cases in the Philippines.

"Nakikita ko 'yong mga listahan na di ko alam kung opisyal or what, 'yong mga ibinebentang kompanya, 'yong mga kompanyang nagbabalak magsara, nakakatakot," he said.

Office space vacancy rising, rental fees falling 
By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla - Reporter / 05:20 AM February 05, 2021

Metro Manila’s office property space is moving past the 10-percent vacancy rate for the first time in more than a decade and may remain at the double-digit level in the next two years amid a challenging environment brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, property consulting firm KMC Savills Inc. said.

Leasing activity continued to falter all throughout the metropolis with almost 75,300 square meters of Grade A office space vacated in the fourth quarter of 2020. With 1.1 million sq m of office space on tap for 2021, KMC Savills sees more pressure in the market.

Pandemic to raise number of poor in Philippines 
Czeriza Valencia - February 8, 2021 - 12:00am

Meanwhile, mandatory vaccine for all Filipinos for various diseases from TB to measles, rotavirus, HPV, etc. may soon become a law. Anti-Covid vaccine not mentioned yet.

House OKs bill expanding mandatory immunization program on 2nd reading 
By ERWIN COLCOL,  February 2, 2021 7:48pm

Only 2% of Muntinlupa residents willing to be vaccinated 
Feb. 5, 2021

And as of today Feb. 9, some 26 countries and economies have reported their 4th Qtr 2020 GDP. The PH is 4th worst:

Azerbaijan -12.4%,  Spain -9.1%, 

Kyrgyztan -8.6%,  Philippines -8.3%,

Austria -7.8%,   Italy -6.6%, 

Portugal -5.4%,   France -5.0%, 

Czech Rep. -5.0%, Belgium -4.8%, 

Mexico -4.5%,   Germany -3.9%, 

Singapore -3.8%,   Russia -3.1%

Hong Kong -3.0%,   Sweden -2.6%, 

US -2.5%,  Indonesia -2.1%, 

S. Korea -1.4%,   Latvia -1.4%,

Serbia -1.3%,   -1.2%,

Uzbekistan 1.6%,   Vietnam 4.5%,

Taiwan 4.9%,   China 6.5%.

A refresher in macroeconomics:

GDP = C + I + G + (X-M).

Where: GDP is the amount of flow of goods and services in a year, C is household consumption, I is investment (private) and G is government consumption. (X-M) is exports of goods and services less imports of goods and services. 

During normal years pre-Covid, C is about 65% of GDP, it's huge. I is about 23% of GDP and G is only about 12% of GDP. (X-M) tend to cancel each other. 

So when you have strict prolonged lockdown, C and I are heavily affected and they constitute about 85% of GDP, so that even if G expands to 15% or 20% of GDP during lockdown, it won't be enough to pull up the entire economy. And so you have huge GDP contraction or "negative growth".

At -9.5% GDP contraction in 2020, PH needs to grow at least 10.5% in 2021 to be at the 2019 level of GDP size. If we grow only 10% or less, we would be at slightly higher level 2018 GDP size. Govt targets 7% but most private banks and investors see only about 4-5% growth this year, so we would be at 2018 level. We lost 3 years equivalent of economic activities. Many hotels, restos, provincial buses, provincial resorts, etc have near zero output 2020 to 2021 when they were growing briskly in 2019 and previous years.

Prolonged, strict lockdown is evil.

See also:
Covid 21, P140.5 billion vaccine budget, January 12, 2021 
Covid 22, Deaths from vax, Studies on lockdowns don't work, January 17, 2021 
Covid 23, Lockdown and travel restriction story, Manila to Mindoro, February 04, 2021.