Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Climate Change Civil War: Ecological vs. Eco-illogical

We live in a time where there is battle between two hemispheres - North versus South. As each of our rich and poor nations make it through each day, the melting at the poles increases. Now industrial North does not want to fully shell up the cash to help the South lessen their emerging carbon impact. Those third world Southerners have HIV, malaria, malnutrition, and sanitary daily threats presently diverting them to invest in the future. The Northerners are just coming out of the worst recessions in half a century where jobs and extra money are scarce. Many of these Northerners are skeptical question whether we need to act in the first place and in investing in carbon trading pollution control measures. This is a time to paraphrase Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, “testing whether any nation can long endure.”

In early December, over 60 newspapers each wrote editorials on climate change. Many in the media cite the facts despite the complex science. Humans must act to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years.

Now in the United States, there is another civil war in decision making divided by the red and blue states. Both Republicans and Democrats work the democratic process to get in the short run the best deals to satisfy their voters. Our climate change clock is ticking down fast and alarming us for long term solutions. Not just is our free world in jeopardy but the fate of our natural world we survive on is in question. What is in jeopardy requires substantial fiscal investment of trillions of dollars to abate this planetary crisis. Our global civil war, is a battle field were ecological and eco-illogical must fight it out. For example just the conflict for food and water is already going from bad to worst.

We have fight wars of "poverty", "drugs" and "terrorism" why not on our country's greenhouse emissions? The United States is still on the fence to showing we are really serious player. We want a good environment however our economy is more important. Also there are many doubts of what is best way to proceed.

The decisions of we the people, our President, Congress and American domestic politics is holding the planet in peril. Thus far in the debate we represent the greatest per person users and polluter. Can we clean up our share? Now the rest of the world looks to us to see how we define need from greed in the use of resources and our investment into a green economy. We are in many levels engaged in various civil wars both here and abroad. The question is will we endure finding ways to resolve our conflicts or will this division result in an ultimate loss of our ecological world by eco-illoggical decisions.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

“Copen” or “Hopen” for Climate Change in Denmark?

World leaders are supposedly considering serious emission control measures to combat climate change. However, translating this rhetoric into reality is something of international concern. Little focus has been made on what are the best management strategies that will lessen our dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. Also how will monitor and enforce such measures given the magnitude of this crisis?

First the “cap” and “trade” will not best address this problem since a “cap” and “tax” is a more effective combating this problem. Many leading economists and financial experts have voiced the flaws with “cap" and "trade". Also how and who will enforce this measures? For example, governments in India and China — which is the world's biggest carbon emitter — have resisted draft proposals that would allow for international verification of data. Just look at USA’s environmental enforcement measures to see why there should be concerned.

Presently the Obama administration is proposing a 17% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 with levels in 2005. China has pushed a target that would allow its carbon dioxide output to continue to grow with its economy, though at a slower pace. Most European countries have offered more ambitious cuts. However, this will cost trillions of dollars in a global market trading system. And we open the doors for massive corruption, greed and fraud without neutral third party monitoring.

Who is going to enforce any international agreements and how is this going to be measured? Ray Weiss, a geochemist at San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He studies atmospheric pollution and says the numbers at the core of the debate in Copenhagen are flawed. Specifically, he says the cuts that countries including the USA are proposing in greenhouse gas emissions are difficult to measure and highly susceptible to manipulation by government officials and companies. In a study last year, Weiss and colleagues took air samples and found that levels of nitrogen trifluoride, an industrial gas 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide as an atmospheric warming agent, were four times above what industry estimates had suggested. He says that monitoring equipment must be significantly upgraded around the world to prevent similar fudging of data if a deal is reached in Copenhagen1.

Bjorn Lomberg, a Danish economist, says the problems reflect a "failed strategy" in the last two decades of international environmental talks."Conferences like Copenhagen allow the politicians to go back home and say 'We've got a deal!' but then the targets are almost never kept," says Lomberg, who advocates more research and development of clean energy sources to solve environmental problems2.

Copenhagen talks have been called “Hopen”hagen for a reason. Are these the best life saving measures for future generations? Please world leaders go beyond your present half measures to get real. Awaken and create a practical future blueprint. Otherwise I am "hopen" and "copen" humankind is not being lead off a cliff.

1Brian Winter, After climate talks, scientists worry about enforcement, USA Today, 12/10/09, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-12-10-copenhagen_N.htm
2Ibid