Institutions and Competition

The smog of war

January 23, 2016

President Barack Obama, seeking to shape his legacy, said that COP 21 makes the United States, which did not ratify the earlier Kyoto Protocol, “the world leader in fighting climate change.”


But Obama will not be around to lead the COP 21 fight, which is not scheduled to start until 2020. By that time  another U.S. president will be campaigning for reelection.


Adding drama to the conversation, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry calls climate change “an existential threat...a matter of life and death." Kerry has assured “poor nations who have contributed almost nothing to the problem" (the causes of global warming) "that Washington will not let them weather the storm alone."


A highly decorated former Navy lieutenant, Kerrry rode out the storm riding Swift Boats in riverine operations in Vietnam. Kerry and his existentialist theory about global warming won't be around to lead the COP 21 fight either. Somebody else will be running the State Department in 2020 when the deal is supposed to take effect.


The International Energy Agency (IEA), an independent organization operating under the aegis of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicatesin an article published in The Independent, that the COP-21deal will require $16.5 trillion in contributions from major powers by 2030 to help parties that have ratified COP-10  meet their voluntary goals of dramatically reducing carbon emissions by that time.


Back in 2012 when still at Goldman Sachs, Jim O'Neill, the creator of the BRIC (now BRICS) model, predicted that the combined GDP of  eight countries-- China, Russia, India, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, South Korea and Indonesia-- will account for about a third of the world economy by 2020. The G7 countries – Germany, the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, France and Italy – will account for just over 40%.”  But it is the major economies who are stuck paying the full tab.


Here is a list of the world's "Top 20 Most Polluted Cities" courtesy of The World Economic Forum and the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO).  .


Delhi, India wins hands down as is the world's most polluted city. It has twice as much pollution as Beijing, the capital of China, which is not even on the list. In fact, as much as western media focuses on China as a major polluter, no city in China is on the "Top 20."  


India has the distinction of  having 13 cities among the "Top 20" Most Polluted Cities" list developed by the WHO. .Pakistan has 3, Turkey, Qatar, Bangladesh and Iran each have one on the list. 


Ironically, western business media has been buzzing up India as the "rockstar" of the Asian economy. heaping praise on prime minister Narendra Modi for policies that now have the nation growing faster than China. But some in the west opine that governability issues indicate that time is running out for "Modinomics." 


It is "politically incorrect" and suggestive of preconceptions to discuss India's pollution problems since the according to environmental experts the problems are thought to be a collateral effect of the western model of economic development that was exported to the subcontinent by the British and the United States.  


What the late astronomer Carl Sagan would have called "trillions and trillions of dollars" that will be soon pouring into the coffers of the UN's COP-21 might be a reminder that karmic notion of "what goes around, comes around." 


In a recent article Russia Behind The Headlines called the financing for COP-21 "shaky."  An article published recently in the prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Tech Review says that most of the technology that is supposed to make COP-21 a global success is also "shaky." 


James Hansen, the "father of climate change" who is a member of the United States Academy of Science has called COP-21 a "fraud" because it lacks a framework for decisive action.


U.S. secretary of state John Kerry rejected Hansen's criticism, noting that 186 nation have submitted independent plans that will lay the groundwork for new investment in sustainable technologies and generate economic growth. Does COP 21 have the makings of a "Green Bubble" that will burst  like the subprime mortage market did in 2007?

Fossil fuels and the petroleum economy aren't going away anytime soon.  The wars, extremist conflicts and genocides that are killing and displacing millions won't be going away anytime soon either.  


Can you see the road (and the fraud) ahead through the smog of war?



Share this article

Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
For business
For researchers
For students