THE FUTURE OF FINANCE BLOG

Inextricably Linked to Int’l Relations. So Why Isn’t Climate Change Being Debated Tonight?

October 22, 2012

With the third and final debate scheduled for this evening, we undoubtedly will witness the first presidential debate in the United States of America since 1984 in which Climate Change is not part of the national debate, according to Brad Johnson in his post at Climate Progress. Instead, both candidates are competing to see who is the most aggressive supporter of the fossil fuel industry in a misguided quest for energy self-sufficiency on supplies that will ensure our long-term demise. Obama is running radio ads in key swing state Ohio touting his record supporting coal.

A sober conversation last week with a friend who is a clean technology venture investor outlined how bloody the clean tech sector is in the United States thanks to a perfect storm of natural gas prices collapsing due to massive over-investment in fracking, largely by foreign energy companies, China selling solar panels at negative gross margins, the global recession caused by the financial collapse, and now the end of certain government subsidy programs.

On October 19, conservative columnist David Brooks wrote a column, “A Sad Green Story” in which he reminds us that the oil and gas sector is investing $490 billion a year in exploration, despite our scientific understanding that we need to leave 80 percent of the proved reserves we already have in the ground if we are not to exceed the 2 percent warming threshold scientists advise could likely be the tipping point to catastrophic warming. As Brooks concludes, “Global warming is still real. Green technology is still important.”

We are literally moving backwards on the most important issue to ever face humanity.

I recently listened to solar entrepreneur and Carbon Tracker Chairman Jeremy Leggett’s talk from a forum hosted by Breakthrough Capitalism, a new initiative out of Volans based on the ideas in sustainability pioneer John Elkington’s new book, Zeronauts: Breaking the Sustainability Barrier. It’s an honest, realistically hopeful, yet sober assessment again of the state of challenge to transform our energy system to a regenerative system based on renewables. I recommend listening to it here.

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