Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This criminal's got it right and environmentalists... maybe not?

7 minute piece on NPR today. Very cool! Give it a listen.

TL;DL version: Brazil's massive rainforest is supposed to be the "lungs of the world." This guy says that if we want his land to be our lungs, we should pay him for that privilege. The US deforested like crazy as it was developing: where do we get off denying Brazil the chance to deforest, and hence develop economically?

So, where do we? I'm stumped.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Flourishing under Limits to growth

Reflecting today on a presentation by Prof. Brian Fath centering on his new book, which looks great. A few thoughts, not really that connected to each other:

1) A list he posted of countries that are giving a relatively large share of their GDP as foreign aid shows Scandinavia near the top. Ok, great, but note that some of those countries are richer than others due to substantial mineral wealth. In other words, they can afford to put out some foreign aid because they're making bank by selling oil. Another, Sweden, is apparently a major arms exporter. Ugh.

2) I'm really curious about how his group models technology, if at all. He's right to point out that most of our effort goes into increasing how much we consume, and that's not going to improve our situation on the earth. At the same time, there is progress made every year about being more efficient every year. Take a look at the graph about halfway down this page labelled "Carbon Intensity of the US Economy." Every year we are doing more with less, and though we'd all like to see more, it's not like no progress at all is forthcoming.

More after the break...