Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Here is a selection of the environment-related points from US President Barack Obama's Inauguration Speech on 20 January 2009
"Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet."
"We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age."
"With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet."
"To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds."
"And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it."
Read the full speech at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/us/politics/20text-obama.html
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Unfortunately, it is highly questionable whether a government campaign to spur “green jobs”
would have net economic benefits. Indeed, the distortionary impacts of government intrusion
into energy markets could prematurely force business to abandon current production
technologies for more expensive ones. Furthermore, there would likely be negative economic
consequences from forcing higher-cost alternative energy sources upon the economy. These
factors would likely increase consumer energy costs and the costs of a wide array of energy-
intensive goods, slow GDP growth and ironically may yield no net job gains. More likely, they
would result in net job losses.
The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is an innovative new measure that shows the ecological efficiency with which human well-being is delivered around the world. It is the first ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which country by country, people live long and happy lives.
The Index doesn’t reveal the ‘happiest’ country in the world. It shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The nations that top the Index aren’t the happiest places in the world, but the nations that score well show that achieving, long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources is possible. The HPI shows that around the world, high levels of resource consumption do not reliably produce high levels of well-being (life-satisfaction), and that it is possible to produce high levels of well-being without excessive consumption of the Earth’s resources. It also reveals that there are different routes to achieving comparable levels of well-being. The model followed by the West can provide widespread longevity and variable life satisfaction, but it does so only at a vast and ultimately counter-productive cost in terms of resource consumption.
The Happy Planet Index (HPI) strips the view of the economy back to its absolute basics: what we put in (resources), and what comes out (human lives of different length and happiness). The resulting Index of the 178 nations for which data is available, reveals that the world as a whole has a long way to go. In terms of delivering long and meaningful lives within the Earth’s environmental limits - all nations could do better. No country achieves an overall ‘high’ score on the Index, and no country does well on all three indicators.
H/T: RFF library blog