Monday, June 23, 2008

Environmental Reading Assignment

Photo: Rio Cachoeira, coastal Atlantic forest, Paraná, Brazil by John Maier

India's Growth Outstrips Crops. A similar dynamic to elsewhere in the world: basic ecpnomic rapaciousness.

In the UK, lots of doubters about the cause of climate change.

Freeman Dyson, in the New York Review of Books, discusses William Nordhaus' recent book on climate change policy.

A new report at Policy Exchange on carbon capture.

Ocean heat content revisions. The NY Times also reports.

More on the trashing of the oceans.

Fighting for wild apple forests in Kazakhstan.

Kudzu as biofuel?

My own thinking and teaching on environmental issues links poverty, development, and economic "growth," and questions of justice to environmental harms. At Dissent, the philosopher Thomas Pogge discusses the avoidable nature of global poverty and the legerdemain of much of economic thinking, arguing that,
The analysis shows that the problem of world poverty is both amazingly small and amazingly large. It is amazingly small in economic terms: The aggregate shortfall from the World Bank’s $2/day poverty line of all those 40 percent of human beings who now live below this line is barely $300 billion annually, much less than what the United States spends on its military. This amounts to only 0.7 percent of the global product or less than 1 percent of the combined GNIs of the high-income countries. On the other hand, the problem of world poverty is amazingly large in human terms, accounting for a third of all human deaths and the majority of human deprivation, morbidity, and suffering worldwide.

Most of the massive severe poverty persisting in the world today is avoidable through more equitable institutions that would entail minuscule opportunity costs for the affluent. It is for the sake of trivial economic gains that national and global elites are keeping billions of human beings in life-threatening poverty with all its attendant evils such as hunger and communicable diseases, child labor and prostitution, trafficking, and premature death. Considering this situation from a moral standpoint, we must now assess growth—both globally and within most countries—in terms of its effect on the economic position of the poor.
And, finally, from Pruned, "a new Kiribati."

1 comment:

Planet Earth said...

we are next to Kiribati. No doubt we all will disappear very soon.