Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘environment’

The US Plutocracy’s War on Sustainable Development

Posted by hkarner - 3. November 2017

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, and, most recently, Building the New American Economy.

Billionaire US plutocrats such as Charles and David Koch, Robert Mercer, and Sheldon Adelson have long played their politics for personal financial gain – even if it means boosting inequality at home and blocking sustainable development worldwide. To stop them, US citizens will need to regain the upper hand in electoral politics.

NEW YORK – The US plutocracy has declared war on sustainable development. Billionaires such as Charles and David Koch (oil and gas), Robert Mercer (finance), and Sheldon Adelson (casinos) play their politics for personal financial gain. They fund Republican politicians who promise to cut their taxes, deregulate their industries, and ignore the warnings of environmental science, especially climate science. 

When it comes to progress toward achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the US placed 42nd out of 157 countries in a recent ranking of the SDG Index that I help to lead, far below almost all other high-income countries. Danish author Bjørn Lomborg was puzzled. How could such a rich country score so low? “America-bashing is popular and easy,” he surmised. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can China Replace the West?

Posted by hkarner - 29. Juni 2017

Date: 28-06-2017
Source: http://www.nybooks.com by Gideon Rachman

Jessica T. Mathews MAY 11, 2017 ISSUE
Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline from Obama to Trump and Beyond

Gideon Rachman’s Easternization, his new survey of a transformed Asia, admirably does what so little writing on foreign affairs attempts. It treats with equal facility economics, geopolitics, security, enough history for needed background, official thinking, and public attitudes. Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times, has an eye for the telling statistic and for the memorable detail that makes it stick. He packs an enormous amount of information into a short book and opens windows of understanding for nonexperts onto this immensely important three fifths of humanity. And while not directly concerned with the new American administration, the story he tells shows well why Donald Trump’s foreign policies could end so badly for the United States and for the world.

But Rachman does not, in the end, make a convincing case for the book’s thesis—embodied in its one-word title. The central issue, he writes, is “how the rise in Asian economic power is changing world politics.” His momentous answer is that “the West’s centuries-long domination of world affairs,” stretching back to 1500, “is now coming to a close.” Without doubt, Asia’s economic ascent has been extraordinary, but Westernization—the spread of the West’s influence and values—has rested on much more than its wealth and the military power derived from it. Those other elements—including open governments, readiness to build institutions, and contributions to others’ security and growth—are weak or absent in Asia today. Easternization is neither here nor coming soon. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Wenn Gartenzwerge Umweltpolitik in ihrem Schrebergarten betreiben

Posted by hkarner - 13. Februar 2017

Das Flughafen-Urteil zeigt ein durchgängiges Muster österreichischer Umweltpolitik: dem Standort zu schaden, ohne der Umwelt wirklich zu nutzen.

Österreichische Umweltpolitiker neigen zum sogenannten Golden Plating. So nennen Fachleute die musterknabenhafte Übererfüllung von internationalen Vorgaben. Sehr schön für das nationale Ego, aber man kann damit auch ganz ordentlich auf die Nase fallen.

Wie etwa bei den Kyoto-Vorgaben für die Reduktion von Treibhausgasen: Da hat sich Österreich selbst recht heftige, weit über den EU-Schnitt hinausgehende Reduktionsziele gesetzt – und dann kein einziges Mal eingehalten.

Eine ziemlich blöde Geschichte, denn einmal gesetzte Ziele sind natürlich verbindlich. Deren absehbare Nichteinhaltung hat Jahr für Jahr Strafzahlungen in Millionenhöhe beziehungsweise Millionenausgaben für den Zukauf von Zertifikaten nach sich gezogen.

Bisher war Golden Plating eine ausschließliche Domäne der Politik. Jetzt hat diese Unsitte offenbar auch auf die Gerichte übergegriffen. Die Untersagung des Baus der dritten Piste auf dem Wiener Flughafen durch das Bundesverwaltungsgericht fällt beispielsweise in diese Kategorie. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Greening Digital Finance

Posted by hkarner - 6. Februar 2017

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Mission: Save the Environment

Posted by hkarner - 17. Juli 2016

Photo of Sean B. Carroll

Sean B. Carroll

Sean B. Carroll is Vice President for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His latest book is The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters.

JUL 15, 2016, Project Syndicate

CHEVY CHASE, MARYLAND – Picture this. It is 1966. You are standing in a government office in Washington, DC, watching a uniformed official tell a man in business attire, “Your mission is to eradicate an enemy that has killed more people than both world wars combined. You will have a paltry budget, a small team, and should you fail, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.”

It sounds like a scene from a Hollywood movie. And, indeed, it mirrors the opening scenes of the Mission: Impossible television series that premiered that year. But it really happened, if not in precisely those words. The official was Assistant Surgeon General James Watt; the man with the mission was Communicable Disease Center (CDC) scientist Donald Henderson; and the enemy was smallpox.

The mission certainly seemed impossible. At the time, smallpox was killing as many as two million people, and infecting another 15 million, each year. Yet, like in the series, Henderson and his team at the World Health Organization defied expectations. In just over a decade, smallpox became the first – and, so far, the only – infectious human disease ever to be fully eradicated. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s Three Fault Lines

Posted by hkarner - 1. Dezember 2015

Photo of Jean Pisani-Ferry

Jean Pisani-Ferry

Jean Pisani-Ferry is a professor at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, and currently serves as Commissioner-General for Policy Planning for the French government. He is a former director of Bruegel, the Brussels-based economic think tank.

NOV 30, 2015, Project Syndicate

PARIS – Ten or 20 years ago, the existential question facing the European Union was whether it still had a purpose in a globalized world. The question today is whether the EU can respond effectively to major external shocks.

Europe’s neighborhood is poor and dangerous. South of Gibraltar, income per capita drops more than fivefold. War has recently raged in Ukraine. The Israel-Palestine conflict has continued for more than 50 years. And the war in Iraq barely ended before the mayhem in Syria commenced.

For several decades after World War II, Europe could afford to overlook what went on beyond its borders: security was the business of the United States. But things have changed. The US retreat from Iraq signaled the limits of its engagement, and the problems in the EU’s immediate neighborhood – not just in Syria, but also to the east and the south – are now knocking on its door. So it would seem that the EU’s top priority should be to protect itself and help stabilize its environment. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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James Lovelock: ‚Saving the planet is a foolish, romantic extravagance‘

Posted by hkarner - 1. Juni 2015

Date: 01-06-2015
Source: Newsweek

Lovelock ccJim Lovelock, environmentalist, scientist, and celebrated proposer of the Gaia hypothesis, has always taken the long view of Earth’s future. So it feels appropriate that he should have retired to a coastguard’s cottage perched above Chesil Beach on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast – so called because 180 million years of geological history lie exposed along its cliffs and coves.

This shoreline is constantly eroding. In the winter storms of 2013, Lovelock’s cottage was cut off for four days when the road leading to it was washed into the sea – not that Lovelock, whose latest book is entitled A Rough Ride to the Future, needed any reminder of the precariousness of our world. A decade ago, he predicted that billions would be wiped out by floods, drought and famine by 2040. He is more circumspect about that date these days, but he has not changed his underlying belief that the consequences of global warming will catch up with us eventually. His conviction that humans are incapable of reversing them – and that it is in any case too late to try – is also unaltered. In the week when the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change reported that the world is still miles off meeting its 2030 carbon emission targets, Lovelock cannot easily be dismissed.

There are other doomsayers. What makes this one so unusual is his confounding cheerfulness about the approaching apocalypse. His optimism rests on his faith in Gaia – his revolutionary theory, first formulated in the 1970s, that our planet is not just a rock but a complex, self-regulating organism geared to the long-term sustenance of life. This means, among other things, that if there are too many people for the Earth to support, Gaia – Earth – will find a way to get rid of the excess, and carry on. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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IMF Estimates Trillions in Hidden Fossil-Fuel Costs

Posted by hkarner - 20. Mai 2015

Date: 19-05-2015
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Use of coal in China and India surpasses savings as governments slash traditional energy subsidies

The IMF released a report on Monday about the hidden health and environmental costs of fossil fuel use.

WASHINGTON—Consumers should be paying a whopping $5 trillion more a year for energy to cover the hidden health and environmental costs of using fossil fuels, the International Monetary Fund said Monday.

Vitor Gaspar, head of the IMF’s fiscal affairs department, which produced the report, called the estimates shocking and “one of the largest negative externalities ever estimated,” referring to costs that aren’t factored into prices.

The fund said policy makers must start capturing those costs—valued at roughly 6% of global gross domestic product—in fuel prices now to curb the damaging effects, encourage greater energy efficiency and prevent a mounting toll on human health.

The report said the costs—largely fueled by the ballooning use of coal in China and India—far surpassed the savings gleaned in the past year as governments cut traditional energy subsidies. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Climate Science Is Not Settled

Posted by hkarner - 21. September 2014

Date: 21-09-2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal

We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin

The crucial scientific question for policy isn’t whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will.

The idea that „Climate science is settled“ runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don’t know, about climate. I have come to appreciate the daunting scientific challenge of answering the questions that policy makers and the public are asking.

The crucial scientific question for policy isn’t whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will. Geological and historical records show the occurrence of major climate shifts, sometimes over only a few decades. We know, for instance, that during the 20th century the Earth’s global average surface temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Crazy Climate Economics

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2014

Date: 12-05-2014KRUGMAN4

Source: Paul Krugman

Everywhere you look these days, you see Marxism on the rise. Well, O.K., maybe you don’t — but conservatives do. If you so much as mention income inequality, you’ll be denounced as the second coming of Joseph Stalin; Rick Santorum has declared that any use of the word “class” is “Marxism talk.” In the right’s eyes, sinister motives lurk everywhere — for example, George Will says the only reason progressives favor trains is their goal of “diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.”

So it goes without saying that Obamacare, based on ideas originally developed at the Heritage Foundation, is a Marxist scheme — why, requiring that people purchase insurance is practically the same as sending them to gulags.

And just wait until the Environmental Protection Agency announces rules intended to slow the pace of climate change.

Until now, the right’s climate craziness has mainly been focused on attacking the science. And it has been quite a spectacle: At this point almost all card-carrying conservatives endorse the view that climate change is a gigantic hoax, that thousands of research papers showing a warming planet — 97 percent of the literature — are the product of a vast international conspiracy. But as the Obama administration moves toward actually doing something based on that science, crazy climate economics will come into its own.

You can already get a taste of what’s coming in the dissenting opinions from a recent Supreme Court ruling on power-plant pollution. A majority of the justices agreed that the E.P.A. has the right to regulate smog from coal-fired power plants, which drifts across state lines. But Justice Scalia didn’t just dissent; he suggested that the E.P.A.’s proposed rule — which would tie the size of required smog reductions to cost — reflected the Marxist concept of “from each according to his ability.” Taking cost into consideration is Marxist? Who knew?

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