Poor countries lose more than rich on environment


by Sunny
5th November, 2009 at 11:35 am    

Reuters reports:

Developing countries said on Wednesday they risked “total destruction” unless the rich stepped up the fight against climate change to a level that even the United Nations says is out of reach.

“The result of that is to condemn developing countries to a total destruction of their livelihoods, their economies. Their land, their forests will all be destroyed. And for what purpose?” said Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping of Sudan, chair of the Group of 77 and China, representing poor nations.

“Anything south of 40 (percent) means that Africa’s population, Africa’s land mass is offered destruction,” he told a news conference.

This is worth emphasising because concerns about the environment frequently brings a charge of racism from right-wingers who say something like: ‘oh, so you want to condemn those poor widdle black and Asian people in Africa/Asia to poverty, instead of encouraging capitalism so they can all buy big houses? Fascist!!!‘.

This argument needs to be killed for the simple reason that poor countries suffer more from our degrading environment and the impact of global warming. Saying that they should be allowed to become rich in the way the west did is thus very dishonest: they’ll die quicker than becoming rich.

The solution would be to encourage a form of more sustainable capitalism that doesn’t mean pillaging of land resources, doesn’t encourage lax pollution controls and gives workers human rights at work.


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  1. pickles

    New blog post: Poor countries lose more than rich on environment http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6463


  2. Nicholas Stewart

    #PickledPolitics Poor countries lose more than rich on environment http://tinyurl.com/yhy84rq


  3. Joe Sosa

    Reuters #Politics Pickled Politics » Poor countries lose more than rich on environment http://ow.ly/15ZKPT




  1. Rumbold — on 5th November, 2009 at 12:28 pm  

    What do workers’ rights have to do with climate change?

  2. damon — on 5th November, 2009 at 1:37 pm  

    Swaziland has the world’s worst life expecaancy, at 39.6 years.
    It needs development to bring it up to be more like Hong Kong and Singapore.

    Most of the science of global warming goes way over my head, but I’m happy to listen to all points of view, like the one Sunny outlined above, and conversations like this (below)
    http://www.battleofideas.org.uk/index.php/2009/session_detail/2511/

  3. David O'Keefe — on 5th November, 2009 at 1:40 pm  

    Rumbold

    If we follow Mr Hundals argument that we need a sustainable form of capitalism to its logical conclusion, the workers must benefit as well as the elite. However if you want to defend the vile maxim of all for ourselves and nothing for others, that is your perogative.

    If you want a greener planet you must have a more equal planet. Green politics must take into account peoples needs, if only to disprove the straw man argument of their critics that they are tree hugging hippies. :)

  4. dave bones — on 5th November, 2009 at 4:10 pm  

    Nice one. We need a more real concept of rich.

  5. Binky — on 5th November, 2009 at 4:15 pm  

    The Lumumbu Stanislaus of Sudan must NOT be confused with Lumumba Kwame Sekou Kenyatta Wa-Benzi Umkonte wa Sizwe [formerly Leroy Carter] Professor of Afrocentric Studies at a distinguished Ivy League university..

    I feel that this ought to be made clear.

  6. Rumbold — on 5th November, 2009 at 6:58 pm  

    David O’Keefe:

    I wasn’t defending or attacking anything. I just cannot see a connection. A greener planet has no connection with equality. For example, carbon emissions fell under the Conservatives as income inequality widened. What we need is proper pricing of externalities.

  7. falcao — on 5th November, 2009 at 9:14 pm  

    sustainable capitalism hmmm it is clear capitalism has failed the worlds poor for decades calling it eco capitalism or sustainable is’nt going to change the status quo. Just look at the bankers who have just awarded themselves fat bonus cheques just a few months after crashing the economy, just shows these crooks and their crooked system will never allow politically there position to be changed no matter who else has to suffer.

  8. Don — on 5th November, 2009 at 9:27 pm  

    A greener planet has no connection with equality.

    That’s a pretty sweeping statement, Rumbold. It seems reasonable to me that the argument poorer nations need to industrialise to raise the living standards of the desperately poor could, in part, be countered by suggesting that the poor should get a fairer slice of the existing wealth and a generally fairer deal all round.

  9. douglas clark — on 5th November, 2009 at 11:50 pm  

    As the only eternal optimist around here, I’d argue we could have universal living standards better than we have for the best societies in the world right now and a very healthy and species diverse planet.

    You lot have no bloody imagination!

    Step one. Universal demilitarisation. Step two. Give the money over to R & D on the issues we need to solve. Step three. Sit back and laugh at the people of 2009.

  10. dave bones — on 6th November, 2009 at 1:14 am  

    To demilitarize wouldn’t we need a world government?

  11. douglas clark — on 6th November, 2009 at 1:31 am  

    dave bones,

    Not really. What you’d need was a fair number of good Treaties that both parties thought were good for them, err..like Lisbon for instance..rather than the biased Treaties – which were essentially the winners booty after a war. The Treaty of Versailles comes to mind…

    And a fairly obviously beneficial consequence of diverting money into R & D. Like extended healthy life. Which, despite wasting huge proportions of our GNP on soldiers we have managed to show over the last 200 years or so. You probably live twice as long as your family five or six generations ago.

    We know that intellectually, we do not appear to even think it is intuitively possible it will continue.

  12. dave bones — on 6th November, 2009 at 3:11 am  

    If there is such a thing as evolution we must be evolving into something better. I am not sure if I can see how.

  13. Otto — on 6th November, 2009 at 8:20 am  

    I look forward to the bitter winters of a new Ice Age, when we’ll all be burning Treaties to Stop Global Warming to keep warm

  14. Mango — on 6th November, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

    I’m sorry Sunny, but this sort of this Greentard nonsense is keeping the Third World poor and miserable. And by that I mean the lack electricity & clean water and all the the lovely material things that we in the West take for granted.

    I can’t speak for Africa, but in Asia, forests in particular are being destroyed by poor people without electricity looking for firewood. Do you know how miserable it is to cook with wood, coconut husks and/or dried cow dung? The kitchen fills with smoke, envelopes the entire room creating perfect conditions for bronchial problems in children. There’s no romance in this way of life at all.

    Its dishonest of the Greentards to say that the they shouldn’t be allowed to get rich and develop. No-one likes to live in abject poverty, in shacks without proper toilets and clean running water. Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping is just a diplomat on the Greentard gravy train.

    Development and industrialisation (with appropriate environmental safeguards) is what the world’s poor needs. Not hysterical ‘the world will end in 40 days’ climate nonsense from Westerners who already have all the material benefits that the rest of the world also demand.

    What may or not happen due to alleged AGW is less important than making their lives better, now. I think this is Lomborg’s thesis and one I fully agree with.

    Air conditioning, cars and fridges for everyone on the planet and not just for the developed First World!

    Read this from Ghana, from someone living the ‘low carbon’ dream:

    You hate being affluent? Then swap with us
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3771/

  15. Andy — on 6th November, 2009 at 1:37 pm  

    The main driver to global warming is population growth.

    The main driver of politicians to global warming is further taxation.

    They will all make you have low energy lightbulbs yet will actively allow your increase on the free movement around the world which burns an incredible amount of fuel.

    These poorer countries will do nothing for self sustainability. They more often than not are awash in solar energy resources and people. Why are you all not aware of this fact? No matter how much cash we throw at them. It comes to precisely nothing.

    Pickled politics.

  16. douglas clark — on 6th November, 2009 at 4:14 pm  

    Andy,

    They more often than not are awash in solar energy resources and people. Why are you all not aware of this fact?

    I am aware of that. Are you aware of this?

    http://cleantech.com/news/4603/german-firms-leads-massive-north-af

    New Scientist had an article about this recently:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9yuebz

    Well that’s Europe knocked off. You could double the area in deserts and knock off Africa too.

    There are potentially good hydoelectric solutions to the Indian Sub-Continents energy needs also which are green.

  17. Andy — on 6th November, 2009 at 6:44 pm  

    Whats all the hoo-haa about water on solar power? Stirling cycle engines need no water.

    The Sun will do what it does. Want to reduce carbon emissions? Easy, reduce the future numbers of people.

    Tough love on Pickled politics..

    Mango
    Why Ghana is poor. Simples. They do not team work and think money begets wealth. Not true! Wealth begets money. They simply do not team work!

    They will still be poor when China has completely developed its land and peoples to the same levels as Japan.

  18. Naadir Jeewa — on 6th November, 2009 at 6:54 pm  

    Mango, thanks for the El Reg RCP-influenced lingo, and great, a link to RCP rag, Spiked.

    The initial concerns over climate change were never a green issue. They were and are still always a socioeconomic issue. 2/3rds of the IPCC reports are devoted to socioeconomic impacts, and a full 100% of the Stern Report is too.

    That environmentalists took up the cause is another thing altogether.

  19. douglas clark — on 6th November, 2009 at 7:16 pm  

    Andy,

    Yes, there were diagrams and the like about various forms of solar to energy transfer in the original article. I could see how some of the others required water as a coolant, but it is certainly not clear how a Stirling Engine does….I’d have thought.

    Wanting to reduce carbon emissions is not just as easy
    as reducing population what with rising GNP, which – in some parts of the world – is a necessity. Unless of course you are talking about population reduction. I’d ask you, and anyone else still reading, is that a more realistic option?

    But it ought to be entirely possible to leapfrog the industrial revolutions’ reliance on fossil fuels at least for large swathes of power needs That ought to gain us the breathing space we need.

    Naadir @ 18. I think it would be fair to say that the initial concerns about a runaway greenhouse effect were a scientific issue long before they became an economic issue. Or a political issue.

  20. Sunny — on 6th November, 2009 at 7:22 pm  

    MAngo, with that post you convinced no one. Nice try though. Linking to Spiked is like linking to Esso to discuss global warming.

  21. Andy — on 6th November, 2009 at 8:10 pm  

    Along with “carbon use” per person; Population reduction is the only realistic option there are. No if’s or but’s.

    Also, per-lifetime carbon usage must be noted.

    Many, for instance will fly across the globe from a warm country and come to live here… In our automated society. For as long as we have central heating.

    In the USA there used to be a company that made a 4 cylinder, swash plate, 100Kw (75hp) stirling cycle motor generator with a 100,000 hour service life between servicing. This motor could be carried in one arm. It ran on any flammable liquid or gas *ahem*. The company went bust a few years ago.

    Fossil fuels carry a huge political clout. You don’t think Any of this will be taken seriously?

  22. douglas clark — on 6th November, 2009 at 9:14 pm  

    Andy,

    Well:

    Also, per-lifetime carbon usage must be noted.

    Yes.

    But.

    If it is possible to largely transition us from a carbon using lifetime to, at least, a carbon neutral one, then what?

    You are losing me…

    You are, I think, pointing out the problems with no corresponding solutions because you see population reduction as the only answer.

    I’d be a fool to argue that fossil fuel lobbies don’t carry enormous clout. Of course they do, and they have to be defeated.

    There are better ways of generating power anyway, rather than through dead matter.

  23. Mango — on 7th November, 2009 at 12:21 pm  

    So Spiked for you is like garlic for vampires, is it? What interests me is the content of the article and the bona-fides of the writer, not the place of publication. Let me help you out with a key paragraph from his article:

    “This was the first time I heard the suggestion that flying abroad should be rationed, or worse still, banned. The denunciation of material comfort is so widespread in the West that even schoolchildren seem to think affluence is an evil. Many people I met in Britain told me that there is less happiness and laughter in British society due to economic development. Some said that Africans are happier than Brits even though they are poorer. I thought that freedom from toil was the centrepiece of economic development, handing anybody the ability to unleash their potential and gain unlimited opportunities: most people in Britain have that freedom; we in Ghana do not.

    If Westerners are not happy with such great things, perhaps they should swap with us Africans. We would love to have what these people seem to hate. You see, we believe in the material progress of mankind; the vast majority of Ghanaians I spoke to while making Damned by Debt Relief said they want more from life: more goods, more products, more choice. We hate being constantly subdued by nature; we are tired of dying early; we are tired of sleeping in mud huts; we are tired of walking long distances for water, food and fuel; we are tired of doing our washing by hand; we are tired of farming with hoes and cutlasses and waiting for nature to be merciful unto us. You think this way of life is ‘natural’ and happiness-inducing? Then you should try it out.”

    So, I ask again, do you, like me want everyone in the ‘Poor South’ to have cars, fridges and air-conditioning or do you want them to walk everywhere, cook with brushwood and cow-dung and use oil lamps against the darkness?

    On a slight digression, if nasty companies like Esso don’t extract fossil fuels, who will? Greenpeace?

  24. douglas clark — on 7th November, 2009 at 12:40 pm  

    Mango,

    What if I were to say to you that I do want people in the ‘Poor South’ to have cars, fridges and air conditioning? What if I were to say to you that we should do it without fossil fuels?

    I’d like an answer.

  25. Mango — on 7th November, 2009 at 1:20 pm  

    Doug,

    Thanks. We have to use both. Fossils, hydroelectric, thermal, solar, nuclear; the whole combination. If you don’t want the poor countries to use fossils, how will they convert to other forms of energy? Are they to wait until electric cars are useable or continue to use petrol powered cars until electric vehicles powered by ‘clean’ power plants become a reality?

    You can do without fossils if you choose, but you cannot make that decision for people in other, poorer countries.

    You know what I’d pay to see? A greentard activist going to a remote village in Sri Lanka (or somewhere similar) and telling the people there that they aren’t allowed to avail themselves of modern conveniences powered by fossil fuels. For example they have to continue to wash their clothes by bashing them against rocks in the nearby river, rather than use electric-powered washing machines.

    Another example: in my uncle’s village, the most immediate beneficiaries of electrification and permanent street lights were the children. They no longer had to study using foul oil lamps and snake bite injuries were drastically curtailed. You know why? They could see the ground in front of their feet and thus avoided stepping on snakes. The power for the street lighting came from diesel powered electricity stations.

    Similarly, use of gas or electricity for cooking versus wood, cow-dung or coconut husks. A quick google illustrates my point perfectly.

    ‘Traditional’ kitchen for a poor family: http://tinyurl.com/ye2xf3h

    ‘Modern’ kitchen for a poor family: http://tinyurl.com/yh3l9s5

  26. douglas clark — on 7th November, 2009 at 4:42 pm  

    Mango,

    You know what I’d pay to see? A greentard activist going to a remote village in Sri Lanka (or somewhere similar) and telling the people there that they aren’t allowed to avail themselves of modern conveniences powered by fossil fuels. For example they have to continue to wash their clothes by bashing them against rocks in the nearby river, rather than use electric-powered washing machines.

    What I’d prefer to see is someone with a whole heap of money from the World Bank going there, looking at their energy needs and their local geography and determining what could be done in partnership with them.

    If the situation is as bad as you say then it is going to be just about as simple to build a carbon free rather than a carbon dependent infrastructure. There is, for instance, an approximate tidal rise and fall of six feet around Ceylon. Whilst not great, it is enough to generate energy from tidal power. There is also, rather obviously, the potential for solar energy to make a contribution, and with pumped hydoelectric schemes that does not need to be a daytime only resource.

    I agree, obviously, that this only goes to meet the electrical needs of the nation, and I don’t know enough about the country to say for sure, but if you use some of that electricity for irrigation, you could probably grow enough bio-fuel crops, which would let you use the i/c engines that everyone seems to drool over, everywhere. It would also make Sri-Lanka energy independent, which would be a good thing in itself.

    Even if the World Bank wouldn’t fund it without expecting a return, it would still be worthwhile.

  27. Mango — on 8th November, 2009 at 2:41 am  

    Douglas,

    All excellent points (especially irrigation, biofuels etc) with one tiny little problem. Money. I know that they’re even looking at nuclear power options. BTW, the kitchen example isn’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Its awful.

    I’ve added captions to the kitchen pic to highlight how it works and you’ll see my point even more clearly – hopefully!

    http://img211.yfrog.com/i/slkitcheninfo.jpg/

    But for most people, they want and need their lives improved now. That includes the incredibly useful personal transportation device, commonly called a car. You wonder why its drooled over? Personal transportation at a time of your own choosing rather than relying purely on mass-transport. Or should cars just be reserved for the rich?

    p.s. this reminds me to ensure that I buy all the ‘high food miles’ produce I can, so that farmers in Africa and Asia have a chance of leading a decent life – unlike the Ecotards who’d have us all stop buying food from overseas.

  28. damon — on 8th November, 2009 at 4:47 am  

    I agree with much of what Mango says. It’s a pity (for me) that I find the science of climate change way too complicated. Because, then when people say things like Sunny said about:

    Linking to Spiked is like linking to Esso to discuss global warming

    ….I’m left standing there with no comeback.
    I’ve been trumped by someone waving their science degree at me when I couldn’t even get an O level in it.

    Though I do think that Spiked mocking the likes of Plane Stupid, and those direct action twerps who invade power stations and climb to the top of the cooling towers is fully justified.

  29. Trofim — on 8th November, 2009 at 10:14 am  

    Mango @ 27
    “p.s. this reminds me to ensure that I buy all the ‘high food miles’ produce I can, so that farmers in Africa and Asia have a chance of leading a decent life – unlike the Ecotards who’d have us all stop buying food from overseas”.

    And will you continue to do so as the price of oil rises and as competition for food and water hots up over the next 20 years, as it is almost bound to if the population rises. And what if the third world farmers prefer to, or have to feed their own populations first? Have you listened to Farming Today? Have you looked up “food security” or “Defra”?

    This year the best plums you can get in Britain, from round Evesham and Pershore had to be left to rot or thrown away because, as one grower told me, young people won’t eat anything with a blemish on or a scab or a hole where a wasp has had a nibble. They’d rather have the pristine Californian plums carted 7000 miles. Pristine, because they’ve had more dousings of fungicide and insecticide. Pristine but half the flavour. Appearance is so important to youngsters.
    I think that having to import 40% of your food, is not a particularly handy state to arrive at.

  30. Mango — on 8th November, 2009 at 12:19 pm  

    Damon,

    There are good and bad articles in Spiked, as there are on this blog and the one I linked to is excellent.

    It makes some irrefutable points about how the West’s eco/green obsession is hindering industrialisation & development in the poor South. The whole point about science is that nothing is truly settled or agreed upon – especially not something contentious as global warming. e.g. Greenpeace wanted to ‘ban’ chlorine. A naturally occurring compound, listed in the periodic table! Jeez!

    Trofim: the first thing to do is to ignore the doom mongers, who, from Malthus onwards have been consistently proven to be wrong. I buy locally produced food when I can (e.g. local meat, fresh fruit etc, especially Kent cherries when they can be found) but I also buy food from overseas. e.g. air-freighted Asian vegetables, fruit (Pakistani mangos, a particular favourite) etc. If we were to agree to your argument, the Scottish whiskey industry would be dead. They make Whisky in Japan (and they love their whiskey in Japan), so why import more from Scotland?

    You rightly bemoan the UK consumer rejecting ‘imperfect’ fruit & veg. Again, we know how this process was allowed to happen, over 20-30 years….

    “….the past 20 years, the EU-wide marketing standards have restricted over 36 types of fruit and vegetables – with only the “finest” looking produce being permitted to sit on our grocery shelves. This has resulted in around 20 per cent of perfectly edible produce being excluded from general sale and wasted.”
    http://tinyurl.com/yeftc58

    DEFRA & food security? You’re ‘aving a larf, aintcha? I suggest we look at EU farming policy and the disgraceful CAP for examples of incredible waste & over-production.

    I’d rather trust the Taleban with farming policy than DEFRA. It seems that the Welsh farmers aren’t too keen on DEFRA’s latest piece of madness, either. http://tinyurl.com/y9hd4mz

    Sunny, I hope you’ll join my campaign for Air conditioning, cars and fridges for everyone on the planet and not just for the developed First World!

  31. Trofim — on 8th November, 2009 at 1:17 pm  

    While there is no doubt that the EU has played a part, just as importantly it is yet another manifestation of an increasingly prevalent world view which sees human beings as delicate, fragile creatures, and the lack of knowledge on the part of many people as to where food comes from. Fruit that goes rotten on trees now wouldn’t have been when I was a lad, because it was scrumped by us. The little girls on the other side of the fence at the top of my garden, to whom I had the temerity to speak without undergoing official screening recently, told me they shouldn’t really be there, because their mum said there were dangerous stinging nettles up the garden. Needless to say, although she has several plum trees, the fruit rotted and dropped off. Possibly she didn’t know they were edible. They hadn’t got a little label on saying “This is a plum”.

  32. douglas clark — on 8th November, 2009 at 1:18 pm  

    Mango,

    Thanks for your comments. I obviously agree with you completely on the money front. I have two, I hope, related point to make about this.

    First off, if this map is accurate, then the nations that are most at risk of climate change are clustered around the Indian Ocean, and extends across a wide swathe of sub Saharan Africa. Sri-Lanka itself is, as far as I can tell, in the highest risk category.

    http://www.maplecroft.com/climateChangeReport.php

    (You need to scroll down a little.)

    It would seem to me that continuing to advocate a global carbon based economy means that, for nations like that, you are almost playing dice with God. You are assuming that anthropogenic global warming is not a risk, and your gamble, for that is what it is, is not just for the economic welfare of the people that are most likely to be effected but for their very lives, and in many cases the land they live on. I’d rather not gamble.

    Moving on, it also seems to me that, with the exception of India, and to a lesser extent Pakistan, these are almost all very poor countries. If we are to bootstrap them into the 21c then energy investment ought to be directed as much at risk reduction as power generation. But I do not see these as exclusive objectives.

    There are charts and graphs that show, fairly clearly, that GNP and power usage are positively related. (Both reduced to a per capita basis).

    What they do not, and this is a point that has been hammered here ad nauseum, is account for the economics of externalities. By which I mean that a company that derives profits from say plastic manufacture, ought to be accountable for the economic damage it does outwith it’s balance sheet. The example I have in mind is this one:

    http://www1.american.edu/ted/MINIMATA.HTM

    But nations are as guilty of this as corporations. It is simply that the externality is half a globe away and in a country of which we know very little.

    Anyway, that is where I am coming from.

  33. Mango — on 8th November, 2009 at 11:54 pm  

    Thanks for that info you gave in the map. It does look grim, if it comes to pass as predicted. But try to see it from the point-of-view of those who need their lives improved now and not in some distant, uncertain future. i.e. the gas or electric powered cookers (as a metaphor, if you like) and you’ll see why I totally go with Lomborg’s argument of the money being wasted to climate change scams being better spent on a host of other measures (including the ones you mentioned) to immediately and materially improve the lives of the poorer parts of the planet.

    Anyone still not convinced, try this experiment at home to re-create the authentic cooking with firewood experience. Just use plenty of old newspapers (the Guardian burns particularly well) to make a fire, place your pot on some bricks (see picture above) to boil an egg.

  34. douglas clark — on 9th November, 2009 at 12:44 am  

    Mango,

    I’d like to say, before I say anything else, that this has been amongst the the most give and take discussions I have had on here. I thank you for that.

    I too want their lives improved right now! I’d like to see some of the stuff I talked about earlier being implemented today. There are some, fairly simple things that can be done, solar cell technology which can provide power, right now.

    [And I'd have to try to determine the nuclear cycle all over again, but it is possible to generate nuclear energy without hitting the lack of useful Uranium. We used to have a very good nuclear physicist around here for that sort of stuff.]

    I suppose, at the end of the day, it is neither my call nor your call. These are betting terms, by the way…

    But the question ought to be put in a way that recognises that, at least sometimes, folk could avoid a lot of transitional pain if they just jumped to modernity rather than embracing the 19c. I have seen old films of my city, Glasgow, in the 1950′s, and it was a disgrace of locally generated pollution, smogs and shit. London lost huge numbers of people through it’s early ’50′s smogs. It took a lot of deaths to get the laws changed.

    Lets hope we can do bit better, no?

    And I am convinced that we should be getting people away from what horrifies you, right now.

  35. Mango — on 9th November, 2009 at 1:53 am  

    Douglas,

    I also appreciate it. It makes a change from the ‘firing from fixed positions’ stuff. Don’t get me wrong. On clean environments, reducing pollution, emissions, waste recycling, removal of dangerous chemicals from foods etc, I’m with you 100% because its proven and immediately improves our lives.

    But power generation, as always (for poor countries) comes down to cost. In SL, for instance, Iran’s just agreed to fund a new petroleum refinery & hydroelectric station. Both of these power stations will aid rural electrification – at least 1,000 villages. Who will argue against the petroleum-driven power station?

    http://www.nation.lk/2009/11/08/news1.htm

    Solar power provision in tropical, sun-drenched poor countries (or rather, the lack of it) has always puzzled me. Why aren’t solar panels more widely available? Is it (again) a question of cost? I was recently in Turkey and most houses had solar panels on the roof for hot water provision.

    I know what you mean by the jump to modernity. The massive uptake of mobiles (in Third World countries), often bypassing the landline stage is proof of this, isn’t it?

    On a completely digression, I know that China gets a lot of stick from the usual suspects for it’s poor HR record. But I wonder if the Chinese have something to teach us with this:

    http://tinyurl.com/mwj43d

    Full story: http://tinyurl.com/yle9ugp

    What do you think? :)

    p.s. I made a mistake about The Grauniad. The Sun burns better.

  36. douglas clark — on 9th November, 2009 at 1:30 am  

    Mango,

    Forgive me for saying this. Whilst I can appreciate that Sri Lanka is poor, the deal with Iran strikes me as a two edged sword. To what extent do you see the hydro deal being just a sweetener to dependency on petrochemicals?

    It strikes me as a bit odd too that solar power isn't used so much. I'd have thought that, assuming they are looking to the future, that most oil producing nations ought to be investing in this technology. Given their locations and open skies they could forget about what's under the ground and look at the photons falling on it instead.

    There is this map. Again, you have to scroll down *sigh* which shows just how little of the Earths surface you have to cover to meet our global energy needs. It can't be that hard, can it?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2

    On the subject of bankers. No. I just want them all exported to some sort of non money economy, much like you might get at the South Pole. ;-)

    You are completely correct in seeing the jump to mobile phones as an example of bypass.

  37. Mango — on 9th November, 2009 at 5:35 am  

    Douglas,

    I think SL will always prefer energy independence (who wouldn't?), so hydro power is v. important. But oil simply can't be discounted – in fact they're starting drilling & exploration off the NE coast, now that the LTTE's been crushed.

    Iran, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, India – these countries stood by SL (weapons, supplies, intel & credit) in the last bitter stages of the Eelam War 4, whilst the EU lectured and pontificated about human rights. The US isn't too happy about Iran, but SL (as a small country) has to play a very subtle game, balancing the demands of various great powers.

    Here's a superb account of how SL beat off EU-instigated HR bullying at the UN:
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KE27Df0

    Here's a solar powered cooker which deals with many of the problems I've mentioned about firewood etc. So stuff is happening, albeit slowly.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7991654.stm

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