Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's Your Problem

A recent article in AlterNet entitled "Who's Funding Global Warming?" offers a perspective of some of the large banks and investment firms that are providing capital to build power plants. Texas, one of the more politically benighted states, is supporting the construction of 11 new coal-fired power plants. TXU, a Dallas utility company, is seeking the permits and the financing to begin construction.

An assortment of environmental groups believe these new Texas plants could generate more CO2 emissions than many small countries, such as Sweden. Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are the three financial institutions that have, for the moment, agreed to acquire the necessary financing, some $11 billion. It is as yet not a done deal.

At the same time, an ever-increasing number of banks and investment firms are backing away from projects that have a negative environmental impact like the proposed coal-fired plants in Texas. It is clear that pressure needs to be continually applied to those institutions that provide funding for these types of projects. "Following the money" may make more sense in many cases than dealing with weak-kneed, ignorant politicians and shortsighted corporations. Applying pressure worldwide needs to be ramped up, individually and collectively on those that provide the financial wherewithal.

But of course the ultimate problem still exists: Where will alternative energy supplies come from? What are we willing to do to get them? What are we willing to pay for them? What exactly does "low-carbon" growth mean?

Luis da Silva, the President of Brazil, recently stated in no uncertain terms that the developed countries need to "stop preaching" to developing countries like Brazil. His country has no intention of destroying the Amazon da Silva indignantly proclaims. He pointed out that drafting climate agreements are easy and what the developed world likes to do, but at the same time has been reluctant to address global warming in a real sense.

President Bush's recent budget submission cuts 2007 spending for efficiency and renewables by 16%.

Some 263,000 people have been displaced in Jakarta, Indonesia because of flooding.

China says it is the developed world's responsibility. They are the principal polluters; they have the primary duty to reduce greenhouse gases.

Briana Cayo Cotter of Rainforest Action Network says, "There is a growing movement around the world to stop global warming and the U.S. has been at the back of the gang and has been holding things up."

But whose problem is it?

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