Source: Wall Street Journal
News
Oct. 21, 2017

Batteries have emerged as a critical front in China’s campaign to be the global leader in electric vehicles, but foreign auto makers and experts say it is rigging the market to favor domestic suppliers.

Tianjin Lishen Battery Co. here in eastern China recently agreed to sell its battery packs to Kia Motors for the EVs the South Korean company makes in China and is now in talks to supply General Motors , Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen , a supervisor for the Chinese company said.

But that is largely because Tianjin Lishen has little foreign competition.

Foreign batteries aren’t banned in China, but auto makers must use ones from a government-approved list to qualify for generous EV subsidies. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s list includes 57 manufacturers, all of them Chinese.

News
Oct. 20, 2017

When California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed a 10-year extension of the state’s cap-and-trade program this summer, it was heralded as a rebuke of President Trump, who had just announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. While the nation was failing on climate change, the story went, states could succeed. The trouble is that California could leak—like a sieve.

In the decade since Mr. Brown’s predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, first signed the Global Warming Solutions Act, the cap-and-trade program has done little to abate carbon emissions, let alone planetary warming. Under the law, companies in California that emit carbon in their production processes must secure scarce permits for the right to do so. The theory is that this creates an incentive to invest in green power and energy efficiency.

Yet the law’s designers still have not confronted the central conundrum of trying to impose a state or regional climate policy: As firms compete for a limited supply of carbon permits, they are put at a disadvantage to out-of-state rivals. Production flees the state, taking jobs and tax revenues with it. Emissions “leak” outside California’s cap to other jurisdictions.

News
Oct. 18, 2017

If the next recession hit the U.S. this year, more than a quarter of states would be financially unprepared to weather even a moderate downturn, according to a new report.

Fifteen states would struggle in the case of a recession-related tax revenue slump and spike in demand for services, such as Medicaid. They are more than 5 percentage points below the share of funds left in their budgets they would need to tap, according to a new Moody’s Analytics analysis. Another 19 states narrowly fall short.

News
Sept. 28, 2017

U.S. economic output grew at a 3.1% annual rate in the second quarter, slightly stronger than previously thought and marking the best growth in two years.

The estimate, based on revised data released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, replaces a previous tally of 3% growth. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected the estimate to remain 3%.

News
Sept. 19, 2017

The average cost of health coverage offered by employers pushed toward $19,000 for a family plan this year, while the share of firms providing insurance to workers continued to edge lower, according to a major survey.

Annual premiums rose 3% to $18,764 for an employer plan in 2017, from $18,142 last year, the same rate of increase as in 2016, according to an annual poll of employers performed by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation along with the Health Research & Educational Trust, a nonprofit affiliated with the American Hospital Association.

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