The message is clear. Global climate change must take its place alongside those threats -- conflict, poverty, the proliferation of deadly weapons -- that have traditionally monopolised first-order political attention. (Kofi Annan, AFP, 11-15-06)
A global externality can best be dealt with by a globally agreed tax rate. This does not mean an increase in overall taxation, but simply a substitution in each country of a pollution (carbon) tax for some current taxes. It makes much more sense to tax things that are bad, like pollution, than things that are good, like savings and work….(Joseph Stiglitz, Miami Herald, 11-15-06)
Hard Rain Journal 11-16-06: Annan and Stiglitz Urge Leaders to Face Risk
By Richard Power
Global warming is the number one national security issue of our time (well, it is tied with nuclear proliferation), and it is the one about which the least has been done.
Here are two powerful statements of principle and practicality, one from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz:
UN chief Kofi Annan demanded that world leaders give climate change the same priority as they did to wars and to curbing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Annan made the appeal as he launched a three-day gathering of environment chiefs, tasked with stepping up action against global warming. In his valedictory speech to the annual meeting, the UN secretary-general painted a sombre tableau about the effects of climate change, especially on impoverished countries that were least to blame for it. And he lacerated the fast-shrinking minority of politicians or scientists who still denied there was any threat as "out of step, out of arguments and out of time." Climate change imperils agriculture through drought and coastal cities through rising sea levels, poses a health threat by spreading mosquito-born disease and could lead to billion-dollar weather calamities, said Annan….Annan declared: "The message is clear. Global climate change must take its place alongside those threats -- conflict, poverty, the proliferation of deadly weapons -- that have traditionally monopolised first-order political attention." Bob Egelko, Climate Change Is as Serious as WMD: Annan, Agence France Presse, 11-15-06
Some suggest that because we are not certain about how bad global warming will be, we should do little or nothing. To me, uncertainty should make us act more resolutely today, not less…
To an economist, the problem is obvious: Polluters are not paying the full costs of the damage they cause. Pollution is a global externality of enormous proportions. The advanced countries might mean Bangladesh and the disappearing island states no harm, but no war could be more devastating.
A global externality can best be dealt with by a globally agreed tax rate. This does not mean an increase in overall taxation, but simply a substitution in each country of a pollution (carbon) tax for some current taxes. It makes much more sense to tax things that are bad, like pollution, than things that are good, like savings and work….
Although President Bush says he believes in markets, in this case he has called for voluntary action. But it makes far more sense to use the force of markets -- the power of incentives -- than to rely on goodwill, especially when it comes to oil companies that regard their sole objective as maximizing profits, regardless of the cost to others….
The good news is that there are many ways by which improved incentives could reduce emissions -- partly by eliminating the myriad of subsidies for inefficient usages. The United States subsidizes corn-based ethanol, and imposes tariffs on sugar-based ethanol; hidden in the tax code are billions of dollars of subsidies to the oil and gas industries.
Most important, price signals that show the true social costs of energy derived from fossil fuels will encourage innovation and conservation.
Small changes in practices, when replicated by hundreds of millions of people, can make an enormous difference. For example, simply changing the color of roofs in warm climates to reflect sunlight or planting trees around houses can lead to great savings on energy used for air conditioning. Joseph Stiglitz, Global Warming: Don't Ignore the Risks, Miami Herald, 11-15-06
Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"
There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.
Hard Rain Journal 11-12-06: Climate Crisis Update -- Greatest Challenge is Overcoming Denial and Greed that Cloud Minds and Close Hearts
Hard Rain Journal 11-02-06: Climate Crisis Update -- What Bush, Cheney, Bork & Starr Don't Want the US Electorate to Know About Global Warming
Hard Rain Journal 10-27-06: Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update -- The Economic Cost of Continued Denial
Hard Rain Journal 10-25-06: Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update -- Are You Ready for Global Eco-System Collapse by 2050?
Hard Rain Journal 10-21-06: Climate Crisis Update -- Bad News from Armenia, Good News from Germany & Oregon, & More Proof for Those who Still Doubt
Hard Rain Journal 10-16-06: Climate Crisis Update - The Cost of NOT Coping with the Challenges of Global Warming
GS(3) Thunderbolt 10-11-06: Climate Crisis Update -- How Bad It Is, and What To Do About It
Hard Rain Journal 10-1-06: Climate Crisis Update -- Xangsane and The Elephant in the Dark
Hard Rain Journal 9-26-06: Climate Crisis Update -- Global Warming & The Nuclear Option, A Convergence of National Security Issues
Hard Rain Journal (9-24-06): Climate Crisis Update -- News on Farmers, Home Builders and Small Business Owners from Costa Rica and the UK
Hard Rain Journal 9-19-06: Climate Crisis Update – Gore Articulates The Profit in Prophecy and The Return on Reality
Hard Rain Journal 9-15-06: Climate Crisis Update – If You Have Children, or Care About the Future for Any Reason, You Should Read These Five News Items
Hard Rain Journal 8-28-06: Six Ways for the US to Fight Global Warming
Hard Rain Journal 8-17-06: Typhoon Season Intensifies, Canada Starts to Slide into Denial, New Study Offers Insight on Global Warming Impact
Hard Rain Journal 8-2-06: North Korean flood toll thought to be 10,000, Agence France Press reports
Hard Rain Journal 7-27-06: Killer Heat Waves, Massive Blackouts -- You Were Warned 3 Years Ago
Hard Rain Journal 7-26-06: NRDC Reports on Global Warming's Direct Threat to 12 National Parks in Western USA
Hard Rain Journal 7-24-06: Five Stories about the Reality of Global Warming, Is Continued Denial Criminally Insane?
Hard Rain Journal 7-21-06: Heat Waves in Europe & US are Direct Consequences of Global Warming
Words of Power #25: Lost Symbols, Part II -- The Rainbow Serpent Hisses, Lessons about Sustainability & Survival from Darfur, Senegal and Ecuador
Hard Rain Journal 6-27-06: Global Warming, Bush's Alleged "Incompetence," and the So-Called "Conservative" Agenda
Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm
Words of Power #7: Global Warming Is A Security Threat To Your Family & Your Business
Words of Power #1: Truths Salvaged from Post-Katrina Debacle
Global Warming, Energy Security, Environmental Security, Alternate Energy, Sustainability, Green Power, Renewable Resources, Climate Change, Weather, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, Extreme Weather, Crisis Management,Joseph Stiglitz, Kofi Annan,Richard Power, Words of Power