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Climate Change Economics

by Climate Change Economics LLC

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Our glaciers are shrinking


Editorial by Barry Piacenza

Climate Change Economics LLC - November 15, 2011

For some time now we have been living in a world where national governments have been caught up in denial tactics regarding climate change. We can look at this from past perspectives of what happens when denial, on an important set of issues that affected large populations and nation states. Invariably, the outcomes of these processes led to scarcity, high prices, limited resources, and tactical strikes to find resources (the US war in Iraq is a 21st century example to secure that countries oil production capability1. Canada to secure an even larger supply of oil is asking the United States to permit to build the Keystone XL Pipeline to secure the Canada Tar Sands petrochemical source. Recently the US State Department postponed the decision to 2013.Another larger carbon source to be emitted into the Earth’s already burdened atmosphere. It is interesting that tar sands are now important as the United States is withdrawing its troops from Iraq since the Iraq Parliament denied the Status of Forces Agreement which was led by factions loyal to Moktada al-Sadar which increases the Iranian influence in Iraq. Which brings about a question - who will fill the largest United States Embassy costing $1billion dollars we built in the Green Zone in Baghdad? So what does this have to do with Climate Change? The burning Question is who gets the OIL? More fossil fuel.

The fact that we allow climate change to go forward, unabated, ignoring solutions being urged by the scientific community that outcome will be either a war based on these scarcities, or a further human tragedy based on income, status, wealth, versus persons without these capabilities. This will lead to the carnage of the well-to-do surviving and the less well-to-do perishing, no matter where they may be or what country they may be on the planet. If the negative scenario in the Iraq – Iran issue goes forward this could complicate oil source issues there by increasing tensions. The hope is that the Arab Spring will have an impact on the region thwarting the Iran – Iraq issue and the increased pressure on oil as a war factor.

Given the fact that economic regulatory processes, particularly in the United States are returning to a trend similar to the 19th century, a time where we saw economic bubbles. The rich fortunate enough to get in at the bottom and leave before the bubble bursts, i.e., the tulip bubble of the Dutch, the American panic of 1893, among other carnages of capitalism. We have seen financialization combined with the withdrawal of the controls of the Glass-Steagall Act and other regulatory control mechanisms which lead The United States into a world of boom bust cycles, reminiscent of the 19th century. Which inevitably result in the resource wars, of the 19th and 20th centuries. One can readily critique these in the books by Kevin Phillips, such as The "Disaster Stage" of U.S. Financialization - April 7, 2009 and others.

One does not need to be an astute student of history, to understand that we live in a time where we do not understand the outcomes of our technologies, particularly in warfare, as was seen in World War I. That war saw the use of the machine gun, nerve and chemical agent weapons, the tank and WWII with the advent of the atomic and hydrogen bombs. Even if we substitute the wars of economics, to the physical wars of the 20th century, we still may not understand the outcomes of our actions. Whether they be diplomatic or technological unintended outcomes are always a part of any circumstance. None the less it is my hope that we will break with the traditional march of history and solve our climate change circumstances before we pass a tipping point of no return.


1The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World', Alan Greenspan . “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil”.Peter Beaumont, and Joanna Walters, NewYork, The Observer, September 15, 2007