Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Climate Change and Green Economics

This week, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon confirmed what the rest of the world knows and some of our own government won't admit, that Global Warming is real, that we, yes "we", are the cause and the consequences of non-action are serious. This was in an OpEd for the Washington Post that ran the day the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meeting in Bali started.

Secretary General Ban ended his column with a call for action.
Our job, in Bali and beyond, is to shape this nascent global transformation -- to open the door to the age of green economics and green development. What's missing is a global framework within which we, the world's peoples, can coordinate our efforts to fight climate change.
I can understand what he means by "green development". The need for additional technologies is well documented. People are investing in solar, wind and wave technologies at an increasing rate. Just the need having a distributed electrical grid tying together these many sources of power rather than a hierarchical grid controlled from a few power plants and throttle points is a substantial challenge.

The data referenced by Secretary General Ban indicates that the potential is surprisingly robust.
Growth need not suffer and, in fact, may accelerate. Research by the University of California at Berkeley indicates that the United States could create 300,000 jobs if 20 percent of electricity needs were met by renewables. A leading Munich consulting firm predicts that more people will be employed in Germany's enviro-technology industry than in the auto industry by the end of the next decade. The U.N. Environment Program estimates that global investment in zero-greenhouse energy will reach $1.9 trillion by 2020 -- seed money for a wholesale reconfiguration of global industry.
However, I am not sure if the Secretary General has the same definition of "green economics" as I do. In fact, I am sure that I don't have a good definition of that term. It is, however, a term that we had better come to know if the Green Party is to participate in governance at any level.

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