Mark Hertsgaard writes about how the planet is in bad shape and people have resigned to passivity ignoring the problems hoping that things will magically take care of its self. He says what we need is a Global Green Deal: a program to renovate our civilization environmentally from top to bottom in rich and poor countries. To get it done first we have to understand three facts about the reality facing us. First, we have no time to lose. Air pollution is down in U.S.-big environmental problems like climate change are getting worse and faster thus we have to change our ways profoundly.
Second, poverty is central to the problem. Four billion of the six billion people face deprivation. Our challenge is to accommodate this mass ascent from poverty without wrecking the natural systems that make life possible. Third, we have in hand most of the technologies needed to chart a new course. Increased efficiency-doing more with less-will enable us to use fewer resources and produce less pollution per capita, buying us time to bring solar power, hydrogen cells and other futuristic technologies on line.
Efficiency packs a financial punch. Super-refrigerators use 87% less electricity than older standard models while costing the same. An example like this lead even such mainstreams like AT&T and NEDO to predict that environmental restoration could be a source of virtually limitless profit. The idea is to retrofit our farms, shops and factories. The economic activity would be enormous. It would be labor intensive, yielding more jobs than investments in fossil and nuclear power.
But this transition will not happen by itself. Too many entrenched interests stand in the way. For example every year the U.S. buys 56,000 new gas cars from Detroit. Under the Global Green Deal, Washington would tell Detroit that from now on the cars have to be electric or hydrogen fuel cell cars. This would work if the Government stood firm. The Global Green Deal, must not be solely an American project. China, India with ambitious development plans, could themselves doom everyone else to…