Kyoto Protocol Convention

Kyoto Protocol Convention (Photo credit: Marufish)

The opening sessions of the United Nations Climate Change meeting in Doha, Qatar witnessed the United States resisting pledges of steeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.  U.S. Deputy climate envoy John Pershing stated, “President Obama was sticking to his 2009 goal of cutting emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020″.  Even that target was rejected by the U.S. Senate.

The United States’ refusal to back the Kyoto Protocol has been joined by China, Russia, Japan and Canada, leaving the European Union and Australia as the larger countries supporting the pact, along with ore than 100 developing countries and Kyoto backers.  The recent protocol dropouts agree with the position of the United States that “it is meaningless to extend cuts under Kyoto when big emerging countries have no curbs on emission”.  It is for this very reason that the United States never ratified the Kyoto Protocol.  The worry here is that without extension of the Kyoto Protocol, there only would be national actions without any legally binding UN pacts.

With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and its ever-increasing price tag still on the minds of Americans, along with the acknowledgement of key political figures that climate change and global warming are harsh realities that need urgent attention, it is evident that Americans are ready to tackle these issues.  Additionally, President Obama pledged to do more to address the issues of climate change in his second term.  With or without the Kyoto Protocol, it is important that we as citizens educate ourselves on the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, keeping dialogue on the forefront.  More than ever, we must demand that our elected officials commit to plans to upgrade failing power grids and outdated infrastructure and to implement solutions for cleaner and more efficient energy.  Now is the time for America to take the lead and be the driving force to effect change so that we live green, be green.

Source for this article:


The Alliance of Institutional Investors, a coalition of the world’s largest investors have called on governments to focus on climate change and to strongly support investments in clean energy.  This group stated in an open letter that “rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions and more extreme weather were increasing investment risks globally”.

The alliance’s call for governments to address the issue of climate change more aggressively precedes the start of the United Nations climate talks in Doha, Qatar where approximately 200 countries will convene with the goal of extending the Kyoto Protocol, which is the existing plan adopted by developed nations to curb greenhouse gas emissions and is slated to expire at the end of this year.

The alliance notes that governments can effectively address climate change and cleaner energy by adopting the proper policies that would make investment in clean and efficient energy attractive to institutional investors.  It also voiced the urgent need to issue “strong carbon-reducing policies”.  The letter came with a dire warning that failure on the part of governments to act to address climate change with its warming trends would result in extreme weather occurrences becoming more typical and costly as recently witnessed with Hurricane Sandy.

Hopefully, the United Nations climate talks scheduled for 11/26 through 12/7 will be productive and will result in the establishment of global collaborative policies and plans to aggressively attack the problems of climate change.  With the support of institute investors, governments can expect to make huge gains in the fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions and create cleaner energy efficiently so that we all can live green, be green.

Source for this article:

Climate change

Climate change (Photo credit: jeancliclac)

Last night, during his victory speech, President Obama made note that in the coming years we must take notice and attempt to neutralize the threat posed by global warming. Of course, this raises the question of how this will be undertaken and how it will affect the economy. When we looked at this election cycle, we did not see climate change brought up as a campaign point, so to sketch out the next four years, we must look at the past four. With regards to climate change and the economy, we can see some key areas that Mr. Obama has at least focused on, if not attempting to enact policy, namely fuel efficiency, green energy and jobs, high-speed rail, and oil subsidies. Let’s take a quick look at each one of these and see how the President’s policy regarding them could affect the economy.
The Obama administration set new standards in fuel efficiency. These standards will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light duty trucks by the model year 2025. These standards are projected to save US consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump, while decreasing US oil consumption by 12 million barrels.  The adoption of these measures alone will cut down on one of the most painful costs for American families, allowing them to spend more on more beneficial sources of consumption. Furthermore, these standards increase incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as charging stations. These incentives could help to reduce costs, and as such, decrease barriers to entry into the market. Government assistance also could help propel the US into the coveted position of world leader in the electric vehicle market. The President has made a point to increase exports and promote electric vehicles, and this certainly could play into this.
Concerning green jobs, the President had in the past secured a tax credit for clean energy jobs, research, and production. Many manufacturers awaited the outcome of the elections with trepidation, as Gov. Romney stated multiple times he would end all subsidies to green energy. We will likely see the President push for a continuation, if not an expansion, of these tax credits over the next four years. Justification for these subsidies would be the infant industry theory, wherein the industry would likely not survive for the time being without the subsidies. Another green sector in the economy would be mass transportation. The Administration has laid plans for national high speed rail lines in the past. The stimulus included funds for the upgrading of creating “high speed railroads” as they are known in the rest of the world. The Administration will likely push for high speed rail for both economic and political reasons. Politically, the promise of jobs and a more centralized connection and access to major population centers could entice blue collar voters to go Democrat in rural and economically depressed counties.
Finally, the President has made a continuous push over the last year to end subsidies for oil and gas companies. While it was not discussed much in the election, the fiscal cliff is still on the horizon. It presents a perfect opportunity for the President to press for an end to oil subsidies. Simultaneously extending and or increasing green energy tax credits, while getting rid of oil subsidies, could give the green energy market more of an advantage and make costs of production and prices more competitive.
Regardless of what’s undertaken, transitioning one’s economy is a difficult task. Climate change is very much real, and it presents a very credible threat to our standard of living and economy. However, it also presents new opportunities for economic success. We can either go down with the sinking ship that is fossil fuels or we can jump ship and transition to a green economy. The US has been the hegemonic power for the past century because of its economic might, which has been driven by an innovative spirit and position as the most competitive player on the world stage in the most important industries. For the 21st century, that is green energy. I believe the Administration sees it this way, yet the realities of the world may replace restrictions on what can be done. The President has made climate change an issue.  now he must convince the people and Congress it really of the same.

Sources for this article are:

By Sean McGuire

Green living can be incorporated into so many areas of everyday living—even in the selection of alcoholic beverages.  With a little research, it is possible to find several green spirits that are produced in an eco-friendly manner and with a commitment to educate workers in organic production techniques.   Also, many of these spirit makers participate in renewable energy programs, such as the use of windmills for electricity, to produce their products.  A few to mention include Square One Vodka, VeeV Acai Spirit and Papagayo White Rum.  The first, Square One Vodka is produced in Idaho using distilled water from Treton Mountains, a Rocky Mountain range.  Because it is made from chemical-free organic products and distilled water, this vodka requires a shorter-than-normal fermentation period.  The final product has a fresh and distinct taste, along with a very smooth finish.  The second company, VeeV Acai Spirit produces its product, which is 60 proof alcohol from winter wheat grain and antioxidant-rich acai berries harvested in Brazil.  The VeeV Company is strongly committed to protecting the environment.  The majority of its employees drive hybrid vehicles and all product packaging is recyclable.  The third product, Papagayo Rum, has the distinction of being the world’s first organic rum.  It is single estate (only produced in one estate in Paraguay).  The founder’s objective is to help sugarcane farmers by paying them livable wages and educating them in organic farming techniques. 

The addition of organic vegetables and fruits to cocktail recipes gives spirits delectable flavors while promoting green living.  Popular organically grown vegetables and fruits that complement organic spirits include cucumbers, cilantro, basil, blackberries and thyme, just to name a few.  An internet search for organic cocktails and ingredients yields many entertaining and appetizing concoctions that is sure to enhance summertime barbecues and dinners, making it a pleasure to eat green, drink green, live green, be green.