Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: "Lighting a Billion Lives" & Looking at Climate Crisis as "a Massive Market Failure"

Image: Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: "Lighting a Billion Lives" & Looking at Climate Crisis as "a Massive Market Failure"

One billion people can get electricity for the first time for little more than the cost of one month's war in Iraq, said Rajendra Pachauri, the head of a Nobel peace prize-winning U.N. panel of climate scientists.
Pachauri is supporting a campaign "lighting a billion lives", led by India's Energy and Resources Institute, to furnish people without access to the grid with electric lanterns powered by solar photovoltaic panels. ...
Some 1.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity.
Pachauri compared the $15 billion cost of providing solar-powered lights to a billion people with a reported cost of the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq of $12 billion a month.
He described that perceived mis-match in resources as "one of the biggest tragedies that the world can be guilty of".
Reuters, 3-11-08

One way to look at the climate problem is through the lens of the market. If you do, only one conclusion is possible -- the climate change problem is a massive market failure, a failure of market mechanisms to factor in future costs of a change in climate in real time prices.
Because of that failure the industrialised countries have changed the atmosphere so drastically that climate is changing already now. Because of that failure the world economy, if unchecked, heads for disaster. ...
The massive loss of biodiversity is another example of market failure. The market cannot by itself price the future costs of the extinction of this or that organism, and so we destroy thousands of species each year that might be very useful to humanity.
These massive challenges influence political and economic thinking. It's getting more and more obvious that only government intervention on the national and international level can steer the world economy and its markets -- nobody seriously thinks of eliminating markets -- in a more sustainable direction.
If you observe closely what is happening in Kyoto and post-Kyoto processes, it is clear that the governments of the world are influenced by ecological economists like the U.S. professor Herman Daly. That must taste like sweet revenge for Daly. Once he headed the environmental division of the World Bank, but he left because he felt that the basic philosophy of the Bank was incompatible with his thinking.
Ecological economy wants primarily that the economy has a sustainable scale relative to the ecosystems on which it relies. That is exactly what the climate negotiations try to realise.
John Vandaele, Inter Press Service, 3-11-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

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For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

Want to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.

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