2006/11/24

Now where did I put that $500B?

Of all the scary things I read this past week, the one that really gave me the shivers (figuratively speaking, of course) was James Hansen's comments to Reuters that the world has just a decade to take meaningful action to combat global climate change. After that it'll be too late. Ten years folks. Not 50 or 20, but 10! Before your children reach adulthood. Really 8. Because after all Bush is still President for another two years.

You may recall that Dr. James Hansen, a climatologist, is director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has the distinction of being the man who blew the whistle on Bu$hCo attempts to silence NOAA and NASA climate scientists. So...is he a man to be trusted? Yeah, probably.

Coincidentally, the New Yorker ran an article in its Nov. 13th issue about a recent report that estimates the total costs of seriously addressing climate change--with a goal of stable emissions by 2050. Sir Nicholas Stern, head the British Government Economic Service, and his team put that figure at 1% of the annual global gross domestic product or about half a trillion dollars.

Expensive? Perhaps. But minor ducats compared to the cost of doing nothing. "Now where did I put that $500 billion. Oh...I know. I spent it on a f*cking war!"

15 Comments:

One can only hope that Hansen was somehow wrong in his calculations. Equally as scary, is the number of politicians from both parties, who could make a difference, who are solidly lodged in business' pocket.

In order to stop the problem, it is going to require global cooperation, not just one country. And that's one big reason why so much of our industrial base is offshore now. Environmental laws where they relocated are nonexistent, or winked at.
I made it! I haven't been able to load this page in at least a week and I don't know why. Maybe because I'm in Europe. On my PC at work it seems to get stuck on rpc.blogrolling. The Mac at home at least gets through.....eventually, but I am a very impatient person.

Now to the post. I wonder how we get India and China on board in any effort to stabilize emmissions. I mean, how do you get China to install scrubbers on their coal burning plants? I think the answer is, you don't.

This is not to say that the western world should not be doing all it can to turn the tide, but I think the abilty to pressure countries like China and India to follow the lead are quite limited. Do you know of any theorists who have addressed this problem in any meaningful way?
I guess we can stop buying goods from China. Would be good for the economy and would put pressure on them to rethink their position. I suspect an embargo would hit them really hard, because "all" they know how to do is produce cheap cheap labor.
Ah...waxing nostalgic of half a trillion dollars...our grand children's grandchildren will be asking the same question I'm afraid.
TFWY, I agree with you on the global cooperation thing. And Praguetwin is very correct in pointing out how important it is to get the US, China, and India on board.

But...there is also a huge measure of personal responsibility in this. We all need to be moving to a more "energy-stingy" lifestyle. Changing the world begins at home.

(By the way Praguetwin...I feel your pain and am working on a solution.)
Romunov, I would hurt China, but they could hurt us back by refusing to by more US debt.

Windspike...seems that I'm perpetually waxing nostalgic on the $.5T thing. Doesn't it?
What are you, some kind of leftist? LOL...I've been doing some template tweeking this weekend my self.

As for the post, that's chump change:

"Rumsfeld said on September 10: 'According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions'"

BTW: Wouldn't it be interesting if all blogger aligned their templates to reflect their political leanings...left side bar vs right sidebar vs icky three column centrists...
Environmentally sound products will arive on the American marketplace, just as soon as corporations figure out they can charge the consumer more money for them.
Fred...I like your idea about the templates. That way we'd automatically know what we'd stumbled onto and could just leave the way we came...or stay and join in. Brilliant.
We have got to make this a global issue and tackle it as one world, and what I do not get, is this; Just how much freaking profit will be lost if we make the necessary changes, and how much will be gained in new technologies and new jobs. You can bet that it would work out better in the long run, but corporations have such short-term thinking. It is absurd. It is absurd that we would be willing to ruin the world because a few huge corporate conglomerates would lose a few pennies on their stock shares. Absurd. Great post.
"Really 8." That would be funny if it were so alarming. (Nice touch, though!)
Karena is right on... it is so absurd. Paradigm shifts are in order where they matter most.

Frederick, what a frightening link... to think that every few minutes, the Pentagon spends a couple of million dollars and that as much as 25% of that goes unaccounted for?

I can think of some good uses for billions of dollars... college education for anyone who wants it? Environmental action? Funding some REAL homeland security? There are too many good uses to count!
Fred..."some kind of leftist"? I am the THE leftist.

You know how when the oldest person dies, they announce who's now the oldest person? Well...when Fidel Castro dies, there will be announcements about my ascendance to the position of "the-most-left".

Lew...I'd pay more.
Karena, Snave...global yes! But also local and individual. The most powerful tool for forcing change in consumption is the individual doing what they can to change their own habits.
The world as we "think" we know it is already gone. The only way to "save" our environment is to quit doing anything at all. Even then, it won't ever be the same, but the planet would adjust. Eventually. It is WE that are on our way out. I wonder how long before that happens...?

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