Friday, June 5, 2009

Economics As If the World Mattered

(Image above is part of the US Energy Information Administration article on Greenhouse Gasses and Climate Change)

The current economic crisis has slowed the progress on international cooperation by the G20 on the objectives outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, the IPCC is moving ahead with its scoping meeting in July in Venice, and there's a global movement afoot to use sustainable strategies to create a viable foundation for global financial reinvestment. From their website:

The IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental body set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its constituency is made of :

* The governments: the IPCC is open to all member countries of WMO and UNEP. Governments of participate in plenary Sessions of the IPCC where main decisions about the IPCC workprogramme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. They also participate the review of IPCC Reports.
* The scientists: hundreds of scientists all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC as authors, contributors and reviewers.
* The people: as United Nations body, the IPCC work aims at the promotion of the United Nations human development goals

The evolving strategies are outlined by Peterson Institute for International Economics Monitor, and basically commit to tackling the economic crisis and the climate crisis as a synergistic manifestation of the out-of-control industrial and financial practices of the past:

"Excessive US consumption financed by excessive Chinese savings and investment is reflected in both countries' burgeoning carbon footprints, as well as current economic challenges. American consumers purchased SUVs and McMansions on the back of cheap credit while Chinese industry over-invested in steel, cement, and aluminum production on the backs of Chinese household savings."

This page references Testimony before the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, US House of Representatives on January 15, 2009. This approach appears to be headed towards becoming offical US and global policy, which means that regulations, funding and US government strategies will move towards supporting the crucial and necessary major reduction of carbon emissions from the largest current global source, the USA. Our government has now accepted responsibility for its role in producing most of the carbon implicated in global warming, which becomes an opportunity for leadership by the US in sustainable economic growth. Accordingly, local planning and financial structures will be able to follow regenerative strategies that produce sustainable communities. This will also spur other countries such as Canada that have hooked their compliance with emission levels to US targets.