November 4, 2011

Take heart everybody, the situation is actually worse than we think, so there’s no need to panic…yet.

Yesterday, there were a couple of ‘monster‘ reports — one in climate science, the other in economics — that explained in detail why both our environment and our state-of-living is in bad shape, and why the US and the world night be on the brink of some nasty consequences for years of a self-centered lifestyle.
Despite the Rolling Stones’ song to the contrary, time appears not on our side.

From the BBC and that nasty Greek problem — Luc Lampiere, executive director of Oxfam in France, and the shameful Cannes G20 gathering: “There are problems across the planet. The issues that were a victim of this agenda, of this very European agenda, are issues of poverty in the world – issues of food supplies, the fight against climate change…. This is a big failure for leadership from those countries.”
People need to listen and take great action.

(Illustration found here).

As these world leaders fiddle about with themselves, problems beyond the near-petty Euro-zone are reaching bad-news highs.
Especially in climate change, where it butts heads with economics.
Via Time magazine:

The world pumped about 564 million more tons (512 million metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009.
That’s an increase of 6 percent.
That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries — China, the United States and India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.
It is a “monster” increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past.

And once again, that old ‘worse than anticipated’ line:

The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

Finances must come first:

India and China are huge users of coal.
Burning coal is the biggest carbon source worldwide and emissions from that jumped nearly 8 percent in 2010.
“The good news is that these economies are growing rapidly so everyone ought to be for that, right?” Reilly (John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change) said Thursday.
“Broader economic improvements in poor countries has been bringing living improvements to people.
Doing it with increasing reliance on coal is imperiling the world.”

“Really dismaying,” Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University, said of the new figures.
“We are building up a horrible legacy for our children and grandchildren.”

Joe Romm at Climate Progress adds: Chinese emissions now exceed ours by a whopping 50%. They will be double ours by 2010 if they keep on their rapacious, immoral path of weekly coal-plant building — and we keep on our rapacious, immoral path of doing nothing.
No happy campers here.

And the other ‘monster’ in the room is poverty in the US — the Brookings Institution released on Thursday a study which concluded that those living below the poverty line (defined in 2010 as having an income of $22,314 for a family of four) appears to be getting worse, and it’s widespread.
The study says populations of extreme poverty neighborhoods grew by one-third over the last 10 years.
From Reuters:

“You can think of this in two ways: One is how deeply poor someone is and the other is how persistently poor the community is,” said Steve Suits, vice president of the Southern Education Foundation, noting that since the end of the Civil War, poverty has become increasingly concentrated in the South.
In studying the effects of extreme poverty on education, the foundation found that in 2009, nearly 6.5 million children lived in households with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty threshold.
The South accounted for nearly half of the nation’s increase in extreme poverty, it found.
“In 2009, people in extreme poverty was the fastest- growing income group in America,” Suits said.
“Most households in this economy are in jeopardy of falling into poverty or extreme poverty.”
The U.S. Census recently reported the ranks of the poor rose in almost all states and cities in 2010.
About 40 percent of the poor live outside major cities, Brookings said, showing poverty is rolling into the suburbs.
“While large metro areas experienced the largest absolute increases in extreme poverty neighborhoods and concentrated poverty, small metropolitan areas were home to the fastest growth in extreme poverty tracts and the number of residents living in them,” Brookings found.

So that’s one in 15 people are way poor.

Is there any economic solution to climate change?
In creating a robust economy, the future is dark — what good is money is you’re not alive to spend it.

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