Friday, August 7, 2009

It is all about relationships

There were not many countries that liked George W. Bush. India, however, was one of them. One reason they favored Bush was because he did not pressure them to abide to any carbon emission restrictions. That was easy for Bush to do considering that he did not enforce any restrictions on his on country. At least he was not a hypocrite here.

Anyway, when U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, raised the subject about India abiding to some carbon emission cap to India's minister of environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh, his response was not what she and many environmentalists hoped. He stated, "There is simply no case for the pressure that we — who have among the lowest emissions per capita — face to actually reduce emissions."

He stated further to her, "And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours."

The U.S. in its recent carbon reduction bill passed in the House has some form of tariff to be assessed against goods of countries that do not abide by certain carbon cap requirements.

The problem is that we have spent the last eight years ignoring this issue and now we are taking internal action, but also pressing other countries. Unfortunately, the President cannot always brush off past sins of the prior President by stating that what his country did in the past was not his fault. India looks at America as one country, regardless of who is running it. The actions of one President tend to carryover into to other President. The only thing America can do in regard to pressing developing countries to seek ways to reduce carbon emissions is to demonstrate to the rest of its world its serious commitment to this matter by drastically reducing its own carbon emissions. Some argue that the current bill passed in the House is not enought. In addition, the US needs to share technology with these countries in assisting them to reduce these emissions, which may be more controversial because of intellectual property issues.

This will not by the first or the last time that America will here the above statements from the developing countries. This is going to take awhile. Unfortunately, some believe we do not have enough time to wait patiently for the developing countries to turn around.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why isn't the Green going into Green?

$39 billion of February's $787 billion stimulus bill was set aside for the Department of Treasury for purpose of creating sustainable green jobs for this new green economy. With the unemployment rate at 9.7%, including it being double digits in some states, many are wondering whether or not this money was allocated correctly. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, stated recently in Iowa that he will soon initiate $16 million in spending for green fuels and energy efficiency. Up to June 19th, however, only $5.8 billion of that $39 billion of "green" dollars has been allocated. So what's holding everything up? You would think that the government being the true American spender would be out there spending money like one of the wives from the reality TV Show, the Wive of Orange County.

According to the Economist magazine, before this new sea change in energy initatives, the priority of the Department of Energy, which includes a large portion of its people and money, had been dedicated to handling America's nuclear-weapon stop pile. In addition, the Department has never seen this amount of money in its budget. It takes a up to three months for the Department to approve its current loan program applications for funding various projects. Unfortunately, even though it has increased its staff, the Department of Energy is seeking volunteer experts to assist them in reviewing applications and doing due diligence on the parties requesting such funding.

In the end, it might be a good thing that the government is being forced to take a little more time to spend this money. Who wants to have the government purchasing 100,000 solar flashlights valued at $1000 each.