"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Monday, July 2, 2007

US equivocation called costly from business perspective

Many interesting points are made in an opinion piece appearing in the Austin Statesman recently, by Michael Webber, the associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the UT's Jackson School of Geosciences. Webber's piece is entitled The U.S. lacks direction in climate change fight. It argues that failure of US leadership has direct economic and political costs.

The premise:

Since President Bush came to Washington, he has ceded control of the climate issue to Europeans. The result is a power vacuum that hurts American interests while setting up a bonanza for France and other countries that take hard-nosed, businesslike approaches to the issue.

What's especially confusing is that a majority of Bush's political allies, including energy trade associations and religious leaders, call for the kind of action outlined in the German proposal. Even major greenhouse gas emitters such as ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell and Duke Energy have said the time for debate is over and the time for action is now.

The conclusion:

With the decline of America's perceived moral leadership worldwide, global climate change could be the perfect remedy. It is our free pass to better foreign relations and higher profits.

It's time for America to lead again. If we act swiftly and earnestly, we can minimize the risks of outright disaster, improve our standing in the world and profit handsomely. That's the kind of strong, pro-American leadership we deserve.

It's an interesting way to put things. I wouldn't phrase things that way myself. An important point of note for me is that even from a corporate/competitive point of view it can be argued that US policy is inadequate.

Thanks to the Jackson School of Geophysics Quarterly for the link.

No comments: