Monday, May 9, 2011
SIMPLE SOLUTION ESSAYS: Preaching to the Choir
Is global warming a liberal and academic conspiracy? Yes, says Charles Krauthammer in his 30May08 editorial in the National Review. The Wall Street Journal on 7June2008 reported that the Copenhagaen Consensus Center, featuring a blue-ribbon panel of economists with five Nobel Laureates, picked climate change mitigation as #30, and last, of thirty world priorities. The Journal did not mention that Bjorn Lomborg, the founder of the Center, is author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and noted critic of global warming. We've all seen liberal equivalents. How, then, to get both sides to interact and work together?
First, the bad news, for the past few days have been ominous and depressing with regard Peak Oil and Global Warming:
1. At the national level, our unemployment rate saw the biggest monthly jump in 22 years, the price of petroleum experienced the highest one day increase of $11/barrel to an all time high of $138.54/barrel, the Dow Jones plummeted by nearly 400 points, and the U.S. Senate killed the climate change bill.
2. The International Energy Agency reported that a sum of $45 trillion (not billion, trillion) will be required to combat global warming. Nobuo Tanaka (right) is executive director. Then, of course, there was that Scandinavian announcement of the insignificance of climate mitigation.
So what do they all mean? First, there are credible individuals and organizations sincerely at odds. Why did the Democrat-controlled Senate pass on the climate? Republicans are reluctant to take the problem too seriously and Democrats thought that the legislation was lukewarm at best. That is decision-making? Anyway, cap and trade is a compromise. A real carbon tax has to be the answer. All in all, not terrific, but not bad, either.
Second, the combined hammer of Peak Oil and Global Warming is finally beginning to affect the global economy, as stock markets are beginning to dive and joblessness is rising. Protests about energy and food prices are sprouting. Worse, it is appearing that our national policy promoting ethanol from corn is exacerbating the situation.
Third, the reasonably cautious International Energy Agency suggesting $45 trillion to do something about climate change is sobering, as the total annual world defense budget is only $1.2 trillion. That's bad enough, but decision-makers are not even close to agreeing on any societal response. Well, on to Japan in July, for the G8 nations will supposedly focus on the environment. Don't hold your breath, though, for the previous meeting only led to a nuclear agreement and some consensus about climate change becoming an issue around mid-century. The world energy ministers, kicking off the Hokkaido Summit, reacted to the jump in oil prices by tepidly pleading with OPEC to increase production. President Chakib Khelil (now Masoud Mir Kazemi of Iran, right) immediately responded with a sure we'll consider your input...when we next meet in September.
Okay, how, then, to bring all callings to operate as a unified choir? There is a fatal flaw in our society: we can't make strategic decisions until it is too late. I've tried with inspiration (see my posting on "Well, Barack, we have a problem...) and fear (SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth, Chapter 5, “The Venus Syndrome”). Maybe what we need is good, old fashioned, diplomacy. While it might be too late by then, POTUS #44 Obama will host the G8 Summit in that upcoming fateful year, 2012, and, perhaps, the world might then be ready for his ultimate challenge.
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