Govts invest in environment as way out of economic crisis


“The high emissions, debt-driven, resource intensive (economic) model is dying,” says Mr de Boer, who heads negotiations within the UN climate convention.

“Unlimited growth on a planet with finite resources cannot go on forever,” said Eberhard von Koerber, co-president of the Club of Rome. Reforming economies along sustainable lines, he said, “does not imply a reduction in the rate of growth – only that the growth will be achieved differently”.

China’s 10-point plan, unveiled in November, will target more than $100bn at increasing efficiency, expanding rail networks and “environmental improvements”. See this quick overview of where China is at with energy matters, including renewables.

US President Barack Obama’s plan, scheduled for a Congressional vote this week, will aim to double capacity for alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and biofuels over the next three years.

Speaking at the Globe meeting, former UK environment minister Elliott Morley said that if European governments followed these leads, that could mean a total of $1.5 trillion being targeted at green reforms.

Anders Wijkman, a Swedish MEP, was however critical of the EU. He cited the dilution of the EU’s climate and energy package during December’s European Council summit as an example.

“Half of the 20% (reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020) can be done through offsetting,” he said. “If the ultimate goal is to bring emissions down to zero, then this just postpones the day of action.”

Globe – Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment – is a group of parliamentarians which supports “ambitious political leadership” on issues of environment and energy. It convened this latest meeting in preparation for the G20 summit in April, which the UK will chair.

A report just released by US scientists,ย  sponsored by the US Department of Energy, makes uncomfortable reading regards carbon emissions & trying to tackle resulting climate changes. See BBC article.

Governments are aiming to agree a new global deal on climate change at the next UN climate convention summit in Copenhagen in December.

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19 Responses to Govts invest in environment as way out of economic crisis

  1. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    Love the cartoon. It reminds me that once, back when I programed computers for a living, we had an all day meeting – they even brought in lunch and snacks so we didn’t get distracted by breaks – and all we decided in the end was when the next meeting should be scheduled. I think it was the free food and comfortable chairs in the meeting room that caused the problem. If we’d started half an hour before lunch in a room with only hard plastic chairs to rest in, a decision would have been reached in 15 minutes, tops.

    As to the rest of your post, you left out that President Obama is going to finish off our auto industry by raising CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards from 27.5 mpg to 32 mpg. I’d also point out in response to the quote from von Koerber, that we don’t have limited resources, as advances in science continue to reveal new ones all the time, aluminum and plastic for instance, and since, if we have the collective will to do so, we have practical space travel available to allow us access to the resources of the entire solar system and beyond.

    As to climate change, at least as caused by man, you do realize that there is no such thing? Coldest year in a decade despite increases in CO2 levels and all that?

    Not that any of this will matter until we, as in the world population, get our collective act together to the point where, for instance, people in Nigeria don’t arrest a goat for car theft because it was suspected that the human thief shape shifted to evade capture.

    the Grit

  2. matt says:

    Some people claim their mother-in-laws are really dragons.

    Yes I suspect that the American car industry will have to transform beyond all recognition because you Americans have been living way beyond your means. Bit like trimming fat off all those big fat wobbly tummies. Ha ha ….. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. earthpal says:

    “As to climate change, at least as caused by man, you do realize that there is no such thing? Coldest year in a decade despite increases in CO2 levels and all that?”

    Hi Grit,

    There you go again. That is not proof that global warming doesn’t exist or is slowing down.

    Yes, 2008 was the coldest year in a decade but climate scientists predicted it would be because of La Nina. It’s still been a very warm year compared to the many decades prior to this one.

    As for Obama finishing off the auto-industry, nonsense. He’s pledged $33bn loans to the the industry. And anyway, there should be no need to lose jobs or kill off the industry, there will still be a demand for cars. The manufacturers just need to apply some imagination and some common sense and get moving onto greener car production.

  4. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    True. Not for me, of course, as I pinch every penny until Lincoln screams and I’ve lost 30 pounds over the last couple of years. On the other hand, it seems like I’ve read some reports about you Brits having weight problems of your own ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hi EP,

    Of course it’s proof, well, as close as we can come to it. Ten years of cooling is ten years of cooling, not warming. It’s also not all attributable to La Nina. The center of North America, which is not influenced all that much by ocean temperatures, averaged something like 2F below normal last year, and Siberia, also not significantly affected by ocean currents, has also posted below normal temperatures, which is exactly the opposite of what the CO2/greenhouse gas warming theory would predict.

    I’d also point out that the available data, even when it supports my position, isn’t worth crap, since it only gives the high and low temperatures for the day, which is totally insufficient to measure anything except the high and low temperature for the day. Think of it as determining the average temperature of your oven by only recording the high and low temperature inside it. The day I make pizza will show a high of 500F, and will be classified as warmer than the day I bake a chicken at 350F, even though the pizza only cooks for 20 minutes and the chicken stays in for over an hour.

    As to our auto industry, I don’t think you understand the business, or business in general. To do so, you have to keep in mind the old saying, “the customer is always right.” If people don’t want tiny overpriced fuel efficient cars, and they don’t, there’s no reason to manufacture them. The real problem our auto industry has is the excessive overhead imposed on them by labor unions, not that they aren’t making cars people want. If our Government insists on deciding what vehicles they should produce, then that same Government is going to have to shell out billions of dollars every year to keep them in business. Thus, common sense would say that the Unions should be kicked out and Government should back off and let the free market work. You should note that, in recent years, our car makers have offered a variety of “green” cars, but the public hasn’t been all that willing to shell out the extra dollars to buy them. Go figure. Who would have thought that average people wouldn’t be willing to pay more for less in support of an unproven ideology?

    the Grit

  5. earthpal says:

    Ten years of cooling is ten years of cooling, not warming. Itโ€™s also not all attributable to La Nina.

    Ten years of cooling! Gasp! And the Earth is how old? Personally, I think it’s more sensible and accurate to look at longer term trends but you go ahead and base your opinion of the past ONE decade. Sorry Grit but I trust the scientists and their overwhelming consensus on climate change.

    And La Nina has lowered global temperatures. It’s a normal and well-accepted natural cycle of events. Even NASA agrees with me.

    As to our auto industry, I donโ€™t think you understand the business, or business in general.

    Well Grit, I probably don’t know what I’m talking about but some common sense wouldn’t go amiss. The US car industry has been producing huge gas-guzzlers for decades now and if their products are so wonderful, why is the industry going down the toilet and begging for state bail-outs? I’d say it’s less to with imposed overheads and more to do with mismanagement, greed and dire sales figures. The people simply aren’t buying the growingly unpopular huge gas-guzzlers any more. Partly I’d say due this is to the recession but it’s also likely that they’ve discovered their enviro-consciences.

    (You only need to look at Toyota for a lead; the largest car manufacturer in the world now and they produce the most fuel efficient cars . . . and they’re not small and wimpy).

    It makes common sense (and good business sense) to focus on fuel efficiency now. And it seems that some of your car-makers agree with me because fuel-efficient cars are on top of their list. And very optimistic they are about it all too so keep smiling Grit, Obama isn’t going to kill your auto-industry, he’s just going to make it cleaner . . . and the Earth will be all the better for it.

  6. the Grit says:

    Hi EP,

    Well, if you want to look at longer trends in global temperature, then there have been several times in the distant past, and even in the not so distant past, where they were higher than today, and without any possibility of human activity being the cause. Keep in mind that the Global Warming claims are only based on 100 years of supposed warming, so 10 years of cooling is 10% of the time span being discussed. Oh, and if the greenhouse gas = warming theory is true, those 10 years are also the ones with the highest concentrations of said gas, but the temperature isn’t climbing.

    As to scientific consensus on the subject, there is none. For that matter, the area of discussion isn’t really a separate science, and if you check into the backgrounds of those who claim to be “climate scientists” you will generally find that their degrees are in something else. James Hansen, for instance, who is the NASA scientist behind Al Gore and the IPCC, holds a degree in astronomy, not climate science. Along the same line, if you check into the background of most of the Global Warming proponents, you’ll find that they weren’t “climate scientists” until that area of study started getting massive amounts of Government research funding. And, I’d give you 5 to 1 odds that, if Government interest shifted to funding research into Global Cooling, the “consensus” of the “scientific community” would shift over night. Can you say, “show me the money?” I thought that you could. For example, even though the “consensus” is that Global Warming is real, included in our new save the world financial stimulus spending bill, is $400,000,000 for the study of Global Warming. To which I would ask, if the science is settled, what is there to blow four hundred million dollars on?

    As to common sense and big business, all I can say is oil and water; the two don’t mix. You have to keep in mind that our large businesses have been woven into the Government web for decades, to the point where common sense no longer applies. Our Big Three car makers, for instance, have been at the mercy of the UAW (United Auto Workers) union for decades. That’s by Federal law. Our Government had determined that the union has a legal right to a monopoly on labor in that industry. This means that, when combined with our insanely high tax rates on business, second highest in the world, even though our cars are more appealing to consumers world wide, between labor costs and taxes they’re over priced enough to make people purchase cheaper, but not as well wanted, vehicles.

    As to gas guzzlers, sorry, but those are the vehicles that most people want. Think about it. Sure, most people would like to have a small commuter car – easier to park, save on gas, etc. – but most people also need a general purpose vehicle which can comfortably transport several people and/or lots of stuff, and, on occasion, be be something you want to ride in for a road trip of several hundred miles.

    This, by the way, is where people in other countries loose understanding of what the American driver needs. Really, what’s the longest drive you can take in England? Or any country in Europe? In the US, it can be 3,000 miles coast to coast, and in my State, Tennessee, for instance, it’s 450 miles end to end. At 65 miles per hour with stops for gas and food, that’s all day, and not many people want to do it in a cramped economy car.

    As to the business sense of fuel efficient cars, no. Sure, when there are sudden and drastic shits in gasoline prices, some people will over react and jump to buy tiny fuel efficient cars, but really, if you stop to think, anyone who can afford to spend $30,000 or more on a car, can afford to spend an extra couple of thousand on fuel per year. The key here is to consider what one gets for their initial investment of $30,000. When you compare American cars to Toyota cars, the American side give you the comfort of knowing that you are supporting a couple of over paid union workers, and the Toyota option gives you more value for your dollar. If, by the way, you really think that fuel economy is a selling point, you should watch the current ads on TV, that emphasize performance and don’t mention fuel economy much at all.

    In other words, good business means trying to offer a variety of products which tempt everyone to buy, not having Government limit what people can buy. Really, if your environmental cause has any true merit, it will gain popular support in the long run, and if you can’t wait for other people to make up their minds about your demands, then I’d mention that Hitler didn’t have much long term luck with that attitude.

    As to Obama and the auto industry, of course he’s not going to kill it. Oh, no. What he’s going to do is close our borders to free trade in that commodity, and limit our choices of automobile purchases to what ever we can get the labor unions to make. And that, I would point out, will have absolutely nothing to do with fuel efficiency. There are, if memory servers, several old tales about making a deal with the Devil, and this falls right in there.

    As to the Earth being better or worse depending, it’s easy to say but hard to prove. Bring it.

    the Grit

  7. matt says:


    I only see you talking ’10 years of cooling’. Give us links to scientists/studies coming to this conclusion please.

    American car industry closing down its borders? No. Thousands are employed in Japanese car plants in the US. Chrysler have just done a deal with Fiat.

    However I do agree that consumers travelling great distances do want bigger cars but they don’t need to be 4000-5000cc; 2500cc is perfectly fine.

    The Toyota Prius has been doing well regards sales. However, they, like every other car maker have been closing plants and laying off workers and delaying new investment. Toyota has for example delayed building a new Prius plant in Japan.

    Reading this week in the IHT from a guy who worked at top level in the car industry all his life, that he sees only six big car conglomerates survivng this current mess. A big shake out is happening. As to what cars we end up with from this we’ll just have to wait and see.

    But as we know from you Grit, you prefer travelling long distance by train. So do I. Maybe you should be campaigning in that vein.

  8. matt says:

    Thanks Stephan. And of course Australia right this moment is going through its hottest weather for 100 years; 40C!

  9. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    As to Global Warming, you might notice that there’s $400 million in the Stimulus bill working its way through our Congress to study climate change, which, if it’s settled science, seems a bit lavish.

    Oh, you asked for a link,

    where you can plainly see that the United States isn’t included in any “global warming,” and is fact cooling. You should also note that the areas getting colder are inland, and not affected dramatically by ocean temperatures.

    As to the American car industry, you’re right about foreign owned plants in the US. Heck, the State I live in, Tennessee, is a right to work State, meaning that individuals have the right to work in a plant that has a union, without joining said union, so we have several such plants located here, and at least one GM spin off. However, our new leader is in the pocket of the unions, and is already working to expand their size, and they are totally against importing anything.

    Still, my overall point was that manufacturers should be allowed to produce what people want to buy, not just what the Government says they can make. If I want to waste my money on a car that gets 5 MPG on the open road, that’s my business. I’d also point out that once the Government gets to tell us what cars we are permitted to choose from, how long will it be before They are deciding what size TVs we need, what food we can eat, how many children we can have, and pretty much everything else?

    As to trains, I love them. Well, unless I get stuck waiting for one at a road crossing. And I do promote them at every opportunity. I wrote this in a recent post:

    as to rail transportation, Memphis has a nice new Amtrak station (with a police substation sharing the parking lot so you donโ€™t have to worry much about parking your vehicle) where one can catch an inexpensive ride most anywhere in the US. I can, for instance, travel in comfort from Memphis to New Orleans – and thatโ€™s on the train from the song which is cool – for less than $100. Sure, departure times are limited and it might take an hour or three longer to get there on the train than on a plane, but you donโ€™t have to be body searched to get on, the food in the dinning car is MUCH better, and there are several stops along the way where one can get off and catch a smoke. The problem is, like many Government programs and services, while they spend billions on making them available, they forget to allocate money to advertise their existence! Idiots!

    I’m also working on a post about what the Government should be spending stimulus money on, and that’s a complete reworking of our rail system. I’m thinking that $825 BILLION should at least get us started, and the production necessary to make new trains, rails, signals, and all the rest would perk up all sorts of industries. Heck, even our Big Three car companies could get in on the act making passenger car interiors and rail line maintenance equipment. Switching from air travel to rail would also improve our national security, since crashing a train into a building is a difficult challenge at best. Oh, and switching trains to alternative fuels would be a much less expensive task than doing the same for cars.

    I’m thinking it’s an idea thats time has come, and I’m working on collecting the back ground information needed to support it. I’ll let you know when I get it done.

    the Grit

  10. keithsc says:

    But Grit your link only talks about one year of cooling not ten which you have been claiming. Even then it says for that year the US temperature was 0.2 degrees above the average temperature for the century – not below the average. So somehow you have turned one year that has been cooler than the rest in the decade which has been the warmest decade to ten years of cooling. How?

  11. matt says:

    Keith, Grit is just mumbling away to himself there and beating himself up in the process! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Grit, I completely agree with you on using all those car factory employees’ skills to improve on the US rail track network & for new rolling stock. I’ve been thinking the same thing for the UK, but with making wind and under water turbines instead. It’s just so obvious to you & me, but not the government.

    I hereby propose we take over our prospective countries at a predetermined time in the future, so we can knock some sense into the situation!

  12. britandgrit says:

    Hi keithsc,

    If last year was cooler than others then, obviously, that is global cooling. Really, if the Global Warming fanatics can pick a starting point from which to compare yearly average temperatures, which just happens to be at the end of a cold spell, then why can’t I select my own point of comparison?

    Hi Matt,

    If the news over here is correct, then you’re covered in the worst snow fall of the past two decades. Not the best time I would think to be singing the praises of Global Warming ๐Ÿ™‚

    As to the rest, I agree. And, while I do at times imagine myself as Emperor, I also admit that I’d be a bad choice for the job. Really, I’m kind of lazy, drink too much, and have a tendency to put things off until the last minute. All of which makes me think that I’d fit in well with our current Government, but not be well suited as a replacement ๐Ÿ™‚

    As to new energy sources, at least our countries have started the process, and, honestly, we’re doing a pretty good job of it. It’s a big hill to climb after all. I am, however, still of the mind that space based solar collectors are the best general solution to our our energy needs, which brings up that taking over the government thing again. Oh well.

    Oh, and if you come across any information on under water turbines I’d be quite interested in seeing it. We don’t have tides here, but the Mississippi River certainly has plenty of energy at this location that’s just waiting to be harvested.

    Go trains,
    the Grit

  13. matt says:

    See; Tidal Power and Severn estuary energy plans for starters.

    On the other thing, what we want from you Grit is a link to a world temperature graph for the last 100 years that shows declining readings, put together by a reputable organisation . Have fun!

  14. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the links. As to the rest, why pick the last 100 years? Meaning, of course, that by choosing the appropriate base year it’s easy to say that we’re either warming or cooling depending on one’s political objectives. Not that we actually have raw data sufficient to prove either case anyway, even if we ignore the fact that average global temperature is a meaningless statistic and not properly calculated. Oh, and how are you doing in that record setting snow over there? ๐Ÿ™‚ Global Warming can really be a bitch.

    the Grit

  15. matt says:

    Australia isn’t doing well at all right now Grit. We here in the UK are having a normal winter for a change but that has caught everyone out because we have got used to extremely mild winters.

    You still not providing that link Grit. I’d say it’s because you don’t have one!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    What, you want me to make up a graph? Sorry, that’s a job for “climate scientists.” But you still ignore my point that there is no reliable temperature data for the last 100 years. There’s not even reliable temperature data for last year.

    If, however, you just have to have a link, take a look at this one

    and get an idea of just how bad the data supporting Global Warming is.

    the Grit

  17. the Grit says:

    Hi again,

    I made a second comment so I wouldn’t set off your spam trap.

    Here’s another link that might be of interest to you,

    Where you’ll find that our Government has $600,000,000 in the stimulus bill they are about to push through, all destined climate studies. About this I would say two things. If it’s all settled science, why are we blowing that much money on further study. Also, I’d point out that should the “climate scientists” discover that there is no Global Warming, then the money flow goes away, as do their cushy jobs which is hardly a confidence builder to trusting their word.

    the Grit

  18. keithsc says:

    Hi Gritt the second link isn’t working. The first one does show how difficult it is to get totally accurate figures but there are more accurate observations being made now than ever before and the trend supports Global Warming. You seem to be saying that the science isn’t proved because the evidence isn’t there but also objecting to the fact that more money is going into studying it. Isn’t that contradictory? Shouldn’t you want more money to be spent on making more accurate readings if you are so unconvinced by the evidence we have?

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