Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Farce called "Going Green"

US President, George Bush grudgingly acknowledged that global warming was real in a recent, nationally televised speech ("The State of the Nation"). He suggested a 20% reduction of oil consumption by contemplating "mandating" certain "mileage standards" that automobile manufacturers have to adhere to. And consequently, the American media is saturated with incredible stories of the "oil" president becoming the "green" president.

Companies such as Walmart are trying to do their bit for the environment by stocking more energy efficient lights and "increasing the efficiency of their vehicle fleet by 30%". [A story from CNN]. Oh, and Hybrids and "flex-fuel" vehicles are being sold by everyone from Toyota to GM. Watching the TV here, you would get the feeling that the world is in safe hands.

The bottomline is that all this is a mere pittance. A nothing which shall only delay Armageddon by a couple of years, if at all. [If one were to go by certain estimates]. Perhaps from 2050 to 2052. I might conk off in 2051, but most people won't be so lucky. Let us get this very, very straight: If at all there is a climate change problem facing the world, It's the Americans, the British, The Japanese, the Germans, the South Koreans etc... (the first world, essentially) who are responsible for it. The Americans, more so than anyone else - they have the highest per capita emissions in the world. The average American pollutes the world more than any living entity has ever polluted the earth until now. [Take this wikipedia article with a pinch of salt. Kuwait and Quatar etc. are small export (to the US) oriented industrial countries. And the Virgin Islands is a US colony] The Americans, essentially got the planet into this mess.

They got us (humans and all other living species on this planet) into this mess. They should help get us out of this. But the Americans are actually making money out of it. The American people are nice, well intentioned people. They feel for the planet and they will do anything to save their planet. So, when they are sold eco-friendly products priced slightly higher, they go ahead and buy them. They get that warm feeling in their heart: they believe they are helping make the world a better place. The capitalists have realized that "green" is actually a selling point. They have realized that putting a price tag on that warm feeling is actually profitable. So, they are making more green products.
Corporate America voluntarily going "green" makes a token difference in actuality. It makes a larger difference in perception. The people perceive Walmart as a green company and give it a larger business.

The solution to this mess lies, to a great extent, in the Hands of the spineless (in this respect) US administration. There is only one solution. It is the most obvious solution - a solution that Al Gore dares not dare mention in his documentary ( An Inconvenient Truth). The solution is to impose a significant "green" tax on petrol (or Gas, as it is known in the US). If fuel were priced at $4.50 a gallon in the US (double the current rate) - then emissions would plummet. Innovation in efficiency would get an incentive, as would innovations in alternative energy technologies. That's how to use markets to keep tabs on pollution.

One can see why Mr. Gore dares not suggest this - he would be committing political suicide if he did . No more "Gore for president" ever. How dare someone try to raise taxes in the US? How dare some conscientious soul ever force the Americans to stop stealing the future of the planet?

The west (this applies more to the US than to Europe) is not serious about actually doing anything about Global Warming. It is serious about looking like it is doing something about global warming - so that its people can think that it is doing something about global warming. And if the West can get the people to think it is doing something about g.w. without actually doing anything - then, bully for it. Because, in a real democracy, it's what people think that matters - and not what is really happening. You see, Gore might go ahead and win the damned Nobel Peace prize - despite skirting the real issue - the hedonistic overindulgence of the west.

You know what I think? The world will go "token green". Global warming will change the world as we know it. And Fox News will still deny it.
We all know democracies are not perfect. The response of democracies to this crisis shows us again how imperfect they are.

1 comment:

Radha said...

You know I am starting to like all your blogs again, (Ahem...yeah - there were a few hiccups earlier, but lets forget that, shall we?)...Your blogs are accurate(with links, et al), to the point and bold...

Good Going...and keep it up...