Gone Green
Aug 01, 2008
By FLYP Staff

We all live carbon-intensive lifestyles, even true believers who try to be green. Greenlife, a company that is in the energy efficiency business, provides an easy way to measure your—or your employer’s—direct carbon footprint. Greenlife is also one of the growing number of companies that help you through offsets to “neutralize” your impact on the environment.

Take a look at how much carbon you are contributing to the problem: http://www.greenlife.com/individual/site/user/site.php?module=page&pageid=822.

Today this is a number that none of us know. Tomorrow it might be the number that determines how we must live.

Jul 31, 2008
By FLYP Staff

The collapse of the Doha trade talks might be a precursor of what will happen in next year’s Copenhagen meeting that is supposed to define a post-Kyoto approach to climate change. (The U.S. never implemented its Kyoto commitments, since President Bush refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification.)

The Doha talks had survived several near death experiences over the seven years of negotiation, but finally succumbed to a shouting match between China and the U.S. Essentially, the fight was over whether major developing countries (read: China and India) should get protections that developed countries no longer enjoy (read: U.S. and Europe). Similarly, one of the flash points on the road to a new global environmental agreement will be China and India’s demand that they make less substantial commitments to reducing carbon emissions than the U.S. and other developed countries.

The problem is simple. The U.S. is far and away the largest per capita carbon dioxide producer, reflecting high living standards and hydrocarbon-intensive lifestyles. However, China now produces more carbon dioxide, reflecting what happens when you multiply years of very rapid economic growth by a huge population. Should China and the U.S. make similar reduction commitments, which would almost certainly mean slowing China’s development more than it would mean reducing Americans’ living standards?

The Chinese have consistently said that they and other emerging countries have as much right to develop in the 21st century as we do and the Europeans did in the 20th century. That’s an easier proposition for most people to agree with than its corollary: we should live differently so the Chinese can live like us. Even a President Obama would have a tough time selling that proposition.

Of course, if the scientists are right, sooner rather than later we won’t have much of a choice in the matter.