As some of my more regular readers will be aware, I have been re-reading Nicholas Stern’s book “A Blueprint for a Safer Planet : How to Manage Climate Change and Create a New Era of Progress and Prosperity”.
He signed the book for me : “zero carbon or bust”, at his Book Launch at the London School of Economics, which, I think, shows his commitment to the “Defining Challenge of our Age” (now, who exactly said that first ? And about what ?)
My copy of Stern’s book is now littered with underlinings, symbols and notes. There is much to rejoice in, but also much to unpick. My second reading of the book has produced much fertile pondering, even though it still sent me, literally, to sleep on several occasions.
Here’s an example that kept me awake : Stern uses the results of the Eliasch Review of October 2008 to claim that direct global public spending of $15 billion per year could cut deforestation in half.
“Eliasch Review into deforestation”
As part of a proposed package of public funding for Climate Change “mitigation” (“solving” Climate Change), Nicholas Stern writes this :-
Chapter 8 : “The structure of a global deal”
“What are the potential sources of the international public funding for a global deal ? The broad answer must be the overall public revenues, principally taxation. That may not be great news for the finance ministers of the rich world, but these are expenditures from the public purse that make eminent sense. To say we cannot afford it is nonsense. Public revenues in rich countries are usually 30 – 40% of national income : 0.3% from the 30 – 40% (representing around 1% of government expenditure) for a global deal is money well spent. The returns in terms of climate security compare very favourably, in my view, with security benefits provided by defence budgets, which typically run at ten times this figure, around 10% of government expenditure in rich countries…”
One of the main concerns in the field of rainforest preservation has always been the near impossibility of the guarding of a borderless, widespread, undervalued, essential resource, which is what forests are.
“‘We are fighting for our lives and our dignity’ : Across the globe, as mining and oil firms race for dwindling resources, indigenous peoples are battling to defend their lands – often paying the ultimate price : John Vidal, The Guardian, Saturday 13 June 2009 : It has been called the world’s second “oil war”, but the only similarity between Iraq and events in the jungles of northern Peru over the last few weeks has been the mismatch of force. On one side have been the police armed with automatic weapons, teargas, helicopter gunships and armoured cars. On the other are several thousand Awajun and Wambis Indians, many of them in war paint and armed with bows and arrows and spears…”For thousands of years, we’ve run the Amazon forests,” said Servando Puerta, one of the protest leaders. “This is genocide. They’re killing us for defending our lives, our sovereignty, human dignity.””
Well, since the desecration of the world’s forests is contributing roughly 20% of the excess Carbon Dioxide emissions to air, shouldn’t we be paying more attention ?
I have often wondered who or what is the new “enemy” in the world of the military hawks. Perhaps they could properly adopt the idea that Climate Change is the next big threat. I mean, reducing 20% of the world’s CO2 emissions using the human resources of the sector that commands only 10% of the world’s budget seems like a Carbon finance director’s dream.
And who better to be sent to remote places with the appropriate equipment and training to survive and thrive in difficult environmental settings ? I suggest that the official New Enemy is declared to be Global Warming, and that the world’s military forces are deployed to guard the rainforests around the world.