Stanley's blog

Climate change has at last been recognised as, arguably, the biggest problem facing mankind. The United States is now led by a president who does not share the reluctance of his predecessor.

However, the problems to surmount are enormous and made more complicated by:

· uncertainty as to cause

· uncertainty as to speed

· uncertainty as to technology

· mammoth cost

· who pays

· reconciliation with sustainable development.

There is no single solution.

Only a spectacular breakthrough will produce acceptable results. It is essential to choose specific priority areas which can produce tangible results within a reasonable period.

The first choice is obviously clean coal technology. It is also essential to recognise that climate change is a common problem requiring a common solution.

We begin with a stark fact. There can be no solution without China and China cannot be expected to carry the main financial burden.

The timing could not be worse with the world in economic recession. But the money is there, it just has to be re-allocated (eg from Iraq).

However, a huge investment in clean air technology will also eventually earn profits. How do we create a gigantic public-private-partnership by the US, Europe and China, but open to other members of the G12, which commit themselves to specific percentages of the investment in return for specific equity percentages?

Crazy dreaming? Maybe but it could spark off other ideas one of which may not be so crazy.

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  1. I received the following comment from Eberhard Rhein
    Stanley Crossick

    1. the uncertainties are far less than you believe

    2. the costs are far less colossal also.With $ 500 billion p.a. you can do the job, say twice as much as has been invested annually during 2006-08.

    3. the technologies are there also and being constantly improved. Wind powers almost half of the new electricity plants set up in 2008 in the US and EU!

    4. The financing has to be done privately by thousands of utilities and hundreds of millions of consumers. Public private partnerships make sense, but only on an ad hoc basis.

    Shifting public funds globally does not fit the global reality.

    5. the shift has to come through a combination of government measures in the main emitting countries, making fossil energy more expensive, much more expensive, and putting restraints on the use of fossil energy, e.g. by fixing fuel-efficiency and insulation standards or banning fluorescent lamps. It is the lack of courage of governments and the excessive pressure from economic lobbies that combined constiute the biggest handicap for a faster transition to a fossil-free energy generation.

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