Feast for Thought

Not pontificating. Only trying to bat on the side of the environment. And ethics. And simple living. And slowing down. (And trying to learn and practise before preaching or teaching...)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Greed and cowardice "cooked the planet"

Our daily newspaper carries Nobel laureate Paul Krugman's column, and I used to wonder why the happenings in Wall Street and Washington DC should jostle with much more serious local issues in the op-ed page.
For a change, today's piece (a part of it placed below), "Who cooked the planet?" is more globally relevant than the other pieces in that column thus far.
(it appears that the online version of this newspaper no longer carries the same column, only the print edition does)
"....it wasn’t the science, the scientists, or the economics that killed action on climate change. What was it?

The answer is, the usual suspects: greed and cowardice.

If you want to understand opposition to climate action, follow the money. The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines.

Look at the scientists who question the consensus on climate change; look at the organizations pushing fake scandals; look at the think tanks claiming that any effort to limit emissions would cripple the economy. Again and again, you’ll find that they’re on the receiving end of a pipeline of funding that starts with big energy companies, like Exxon Mobil, which has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting climate-change denial, or Koch Industries, which has been sponsoring anti-environmental organizations for two decades.

Or look at the politicians who have been most vociferously opposed to climate action. Where do they get much of their campaign money? You already know the answer.

By itself, however, greed wouldn’t have triumphed. It needed the aid of cowardice — above all, the cowardice of politicians who know how big a threat global warming poses, who supported action in the past, but who deserted their posts at the crucial moment.

There are a number of such climate cowards, but let me single out one in particular: Senator John McCain.

There was a time when Mr. McCain was considered a friend of the environment. Back in 2003 he burnished his maverick image by co-sponsoring legislation that would have created a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. He reaffirmed support for such a system during his presidential campaign, and things might look very different now if he had continued to back climate action once his opponent was in the White House. But he didn’t — and it’s hard to see his switch as anything other than the act of a man willing to sacrifice his principles, and humanity’s future, for the sake of a few years added to his political career.

Alas, Mr. McCain wasn’t alone; and there will be no climate bill. Greed, aided by cowardice, has triumphed. And the whole world will pay the price."

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2 Comments:

Blogger Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Swarna:)

This is essentially because the politicians look for four of five years during which period they have to make enough money to last generations.They are not really bothered about climate change although some of them pretend to be say something to satisfy people that they are doing something to prevent it. Lot of words but no no real action and in the meanwhile they will try to siphon a lot of money to their private coffers in the name of activities to prevent global warming.

Industries have to show profit on a yearly basis for the survival of the management and therefore they are not bothered how they make it.

Future generations will suffer but these people are not really concerned about future generations. I wonder what will be the situation in the next 15 or 20 years when most of us will be alive and face the consequences of our own short sightedness.

Things are quite serious and Al Gore in his documentary AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH has clearly shown the evil consequences of global warming.

Best wishes to you and your family:
Joseph

29 July, 2010  
Blogger monisha mehta said...

hey , nice blog , like it ,
won't be nice if i u can clickover to my blog page too ,
& post some suggestion

04 August, 2010  

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