While most people consider nature to be priceless, economists have recently attempted to place dollar values on the services ecosystems provide.
It is not just coal whose use is targeted by the EPA; fracking technology has unleashed a boom in natural gas, but the Obama Administration has nominated an enemy of natural gas to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Ron Binz regards it as a “dead end” because he too is a believer in carbon capture and storage. His answer to a non-existent global warming is “renewable” energy sources such as solar and wind. Solar currently provides 0.01% of the electricity fed to the grid and wind provides just 2%. FERC oversees much of the gas business and could effectively deter the growth of this industry with all of its attendant benefits from jobs to the reduction in the cost of electricity.
As Maurice Strong who spearheaded the 1991 Rio Earth Summit wrote in the U.N.’s Conference on Environmental Development (UNCED) report: “It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle-class … involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and convenience foods, ownership of motor vehicles, small electric appliances, home and work place air- conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable .… A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmental damaging consumption patterns.”
“Green grabbing involves novel forms of valuation, commodification and markets for pieces and aspects of nature, and an extraordinary new range of actors and alliances. Pension funds and venture capitalists, commodity traders and consultants, GIS service providers and business entrepreneurs, eco-tourism companies and the military, Green activists and anxious consumers, among others, find once unlikely common interests.”
This week Naderev M. Sano of the Phillipines delegation made a tear-filled speech to COP 18 in Doha, Qatar. In contrast to the delegates wrangling for national advantage, the shameless rent-seeking of the carbon profiteers and the left-wing agendas of the radical NGOs, Mr. Sano projected a refreshing sincerity. Sadly, he is sincerely wrong.
The real danger is treaties, laws, regulations and taxes imposed in the name of preventing global-warming catastrophes that exist only in computer models, horror movies and environmentalist press releases. These political schemes will exacerbate and perpetuate poverty, disease, unemployment and economic stagnation.
The rich kids are trying to push Africa around, bullying African countries into accepting their opinions and, even worse, adopting their “solutions.” Africa should resist the moral and psychological pressure being exerted on it to agree to binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Any such agreement would place African countries at the mercy of rich UN nations without any benefit accruing to Africa.
Soon, the Comission is due to wrap up the current debate on energy efficiency measures, introducing a GDP based paneuropan standard, somehow intended to be applicable all over the continent. Quite a daunting task, and not surprisingly, both business, Green NGO's and national governments are rather sceptical. This article sums up a lot of the debate.
Sun power, large-scale, will not be viable as a major energy source for a long time, especially not in industrialized countries, and certainly not in huge, governmental projects.
by Einar Du Rietz You get Tosca instead. It’s a pity I could not use the brilliant headline from this article: Apocalypse Not, by Matt Ridley, in Wired Science. It sums up a lot. “Over the five decades since the success of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 and the four decades since the success of the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth in 972, prophecies of doom on a colossal scale have become routine. Indeed, we seem to crave ever-more-frightening redictions—we are now, in writer Gary Alexander’s word, apocaholic. The past half century has brought us arnings of population explosions, [...]
Oil prices might go up and down, and as for the price of petrol, in most of Europe it's a matter of taxes. When I was a kid, in the 70's, I was told there was some sort of Oil Cricis, and then with everything happening in the Middle East and today it's Syria - and still Iran - and the Arctic...Well, those are all problems, but check out this article on the real situation concerning oil. "As the energy expert Leonardo Maugeri contends in a recent report published by the Belfer Center at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, [...]
Ask me about a Doom Sayer or Dr Killjoy, and I'll direct you to Greenpeace. First, the problem was that the poles were melting (they are not, in any lasting way) and that the polar beers faced extinction (the population is increasing). Then, the prospect of drilling for gas and oil in the Arctics, possible partly because of technological innovation, and partly by some more accessible areas, became the problem. For the green activists (if I used a more proper word, I guess they would sue me), fidning targets seems to be the overall priority. Greenpeace is trying to kick out [...]
"Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world," reads the top banner. Thank you very much, but I'll stick to the part that belongs to me, while - also - doing my modest share in trying to persuade other people to please not make a mess of the rest of the world.
The Rio+20 World Environmental Conference has come and gone. The “Plus 20” comes from the fact that it took place twenty years after the first such conference, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Between these dates, I was a delegate at the 2002 world environment conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ever since 1992 I have watched the eco-evolution taking place.
by Einar Du Rietz The Rio circus has barely started and already, reports are streaming in on plans for international taxation schemes, close to police power for the UNEP…believe me, the list will be longer. For regular reports from our team in Rio, check out www.cfact.org . Meanwhile, in Europe, the environment ministers don’t want to appear less bold. Reports Euractiv: “The EU’s 27 environment ministers have set out the key elements of the bloc’s environment policy for decades to come, calling for “an ambitious and compelling 2050 vision for a green Europe” that decouples economic growth from environmental degradation.” Lot’s [...]