Skip to main content
December 22, 2009 – The post-Copenhagen verdict runs the gamut from “By George, we’ve got it!” to “The sky is falling!” depending upon whom you believe. My hope and my prayer is that it is a beginning, one upon which we will shortly build. One note to readers: when you hear that the United States is advocating a 17% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, be mindful that we use 2005 emissions as our starting point. The rest of the world uses 1990, as stated in the Kyoto Protocol. When we convert our reduction
to a starting point in 1990, the reduction works out to be 3 – 4%. Call it what you like. It’s not enough. That’s why Copenhagen must be considered a beginning only.

My hat is off to the thousands of delegates who worked tirelessly to bring us this far.

One attendee came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. Perhaps you heard: George Soros, the billionaire investor, has proposed that developed countries lend money they received in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) back in September. The money would be loaned back to the IMF for the purpose of funding climate-change projects in the developing world. Soros’ approach is based upon the belief that the $150 billion loaned to rich countries could be put to far better use in poorer ones. The recipient countries would use the money for reduction of carbon emissions. While he anticipates some recalcitrance on the part of the U.S. Congress, he told media his idea had received an initial go-ahead from developed countries. Poor countries have insisted for quite some time that they will need help in meeting the challenges of climate change.

It seems to me that this idea ought to be exhaustively pursued. Certainly the underdeveloped countries deserve the chance to contribute to a better outcome not just for their own citizens, but for all humankind. Left to their own devices, theirs can only be a growing sense of futility and resentment. Being included as partners in a fight in which, surely, we must all partake, gives them not only a chance to make an impact for the greater good, but to take pride in their achievements. Who can say who will have the next great idea? That person may very well reside in Gambia, Bangladesh, or New Guinea. Everyone needs and deserves the chance to make a difference. How much better it would be if these global citizens could be counted among the heroes instead of the charity cases.

I plan to write to President Obama at to express my support for this excellent idea. Why don’t you do the same?


Popular posts from this blog

New World Environmental Leader?

March 5, 2017 - China's coal consumption dropped for the third year in a row in 2016.  This, coupled with the country's shift away from heavy industry, could well portend cleaner air and water. As you know, cleaner air in China means cleaner air everywhere. With a population of 1.35 billion people, China currently produces twice as much carbon dioxide in the form of emissions as the United States.

Given that the US has a population less than 1/4 the size of China's, their emissions would quadruple our own, if their standard of living matched ours. Thank goodness it doesn't. Be aware, however, that the government of China is transitioning to an economy based on consumer spending. That could spell trouble.

In the meantime, China's National Bureau of Statistics indicates that China's coal consumption fell by 4.7 percent in 2016. Coal's share of total energy consumed fell to 62% in 2016, from 64% in 2015. In the United States, by contrast, the government pledge…