Will the financial storm blow climate action off course?

October 1, 2008

This National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration satellite image, taken August 28, 2005 and released August 28, 2006, shows Hurricane Katrina as the storm’s outer bands lashed the Gulf Coast the day before landfall. Katrina hit on August 29, 2005 and killed more than 1,500 people in four states, flooding 80 percent of New Orleans, where entire neighborhoods are still nearly empty. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/NOAA/HandoutIt took Hurricane Katrina’s battering of New Orleans in 2005 to alert many people to the risks of climate change.  Will the storm in financial markets make them forget all about global warming again?

The financial crisis that may cost the United States $700 billion to fix is likely to shift actions to fight climate change towards cheaper, sure-fire winners such as energy efficiency — such as better insulation for buildings – rather than more exotic long-term projects such as trapping and burying carbon dioxide from power plants. Read the story  here.

The U.N. Climate Panel insists that the world has to act now to avert ever more droughts, floods, heatwaves, more powerful cyclones and rising sea levels. Fixing the problem now will be a lot cheaper than suffering the consequences. A man walks past an electronic board displaying share price movements in Tokyo September 30, 2008. Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell nearly 5 percent on Tuesday to touch a three-year after U.S. lawmakers rejected a $700 billion financial bailout plan, fuelling fears about lasting damage to markets and the economy. Exporters and banks were particularly hard hit, as Tokyo followed the lead of the Dow Jones industrial average, which posted its largest point decline ever and its biggest daily percentage slide since the 1987 stock market crash. REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN)

But Bjorn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, says that the feeling for many people may be: “when it comes down to it, do you want to save your job, or do you want to help people in 100 years’ time by cutting your emissions?”

On another front, the ‘green economy’ may bounce back faster than many sectors because of government-guaranteed revenues for renewable energy, experts also told my colleagues Gerard Wynn and Timothy Gardner. For their story, click here.

What do you think?

2 comments

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Little reported but still true, scientists have reported that surface temp changes on Mars are tracking in the same direction and of very close to the same magnitude as what we are seeing on Earth. This suggests that the root cause of warming of the Earth is variations in the output of our Sun. Hint, Hint, the Sun does not have constant output, it has seasons too, not of the same duration as what we see on Earth. Its output changes over time

Posted by Robert Gammon | Report as abusive

Robert, you mean earth isn’t the only thing that matters in the universe? the fundementalist christians are wrong?
that is just crazy talk… isnt it? or maybe we should pay attention to more than just “blame humans we suck!” ?

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive