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Re: Washington Post editorial "A Green Pragmatism"

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  • P. Neuman self only
    ... From: Tom Robertson To: EnergyResources Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 16:19:21 -0400 Subject:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2004
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      On Sun, 4 Jul 2004 P. Neuman self only writes:
      > On Sun, 4 Jul 2004 Tom Robertson writes:
      > >
      > > ~~ EnergyResources Moderator Comment ~~~
      > > I, and I hope you-all, will soon have more to say
      > > about the following.
      > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~
      > >
      > > washingtonpost.com <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
      > > A Green Pragmatism
      > > Sunday, July 4, 2004; Page B06
      >
      > My say:
      >
      > THE WORLD IS IN CRISIS DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING!
      > Financial incentives-ConserveNow!
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClimateArchive/message/229
      >
      > Pat N
      >
      --------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: "Tom Robertson" <t1r@...>
      To: "EnergyResources" <energyresources@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 16:19:21 -0400
      Subject: [energyresources] Washington Post editorial "A Green Pragmatism"

      ~~~~~~~ EnergyResources Moderator Comment ~~~~~~~~

      I, and I hope you-all, will soon have more to say about the following.

      ~~~~~ EnergyResources Moderator Tom Robertson ~~~~~~

      washingtonpost.com <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
      A Green Pragmatism
      Sunday, July 4, 2004; Page B06
      AT THE END of its long march from the fringe to the mainstream, the
      international environmental movement confronts a challenge. Now that the
      world has accepted the basic message that the environment matters,
      campaigners have to move beyond denouncing everything that has an
      environmental cost; they have a duty to say which costs are most serious
      and
      how the expense of mitigating them should be apportioned. The difficulty
      of
      rising to this challenge is illustrated by the fractious relationship
      between the environmental movement and the World Bank. The most recent
      clash
      between the two sides -- centering on the bank's lending to extractive
      industries, especially oil -- shows that some environmental groups
      continue
      in a utopian, denounce-everything mode. The bank is rightly fighting
      them.
      The latest clash begins with an independent commission set up at the
      bank's
      behest, which recently published recommendations on mining and oil
      projects.
      Many were reasonable: The commission stressed the advantages of using
      renewable fuel; it pointed out that extractive industries have often
      stoked
      corruption; and it emphasized that people living around such projects,
      who
      put up with the environmental risks, should be consulted during project
      design and should benefit from the proceeds. In responding last week, the
      World Bank's management accepted these ideas. But it refused one of the
      commission's demands: that it should completely cease lending to oil and
      coal projects.
      This last demand overlooks the facts that poor countries need energy and
      that the alternatives to oil and coal may not be preferable. More than
      1.6
      billion people have no access to electricity, and 2.3 billion depend on
      wood
      and other "biomass" fuels, which cause deforestation and pollution.
      Another
      potential fuel source is hydropower, but the environmental movement has
      resisted construction of dams. Other options include wind and solar
      power,
      but telling poor countries to solve their problems by those means is
      hypocritical, given that rich countries have taken only baby steps in
      that
      direction. Oil and coal will remain central to development, with or
      without
      the World Bank's backing. To pretend otherwise is to imply that the
      poorest
      countries in the world must shoulder the cost of fighting global warming.

      By getting involved in oil and coal projects, moreover, the World Bank
      can
      improve the chances that they will be well managed. In Chad, for example,
      the bank has overseen the development of an oil field that environmental
      groups predicted would be disastrous. The construction of a subterranean
      pipeline has been completed safely, with minimal damage to the rain
      forests
      it travels through or to the people who live in the region. The World
      Bank
      has also overseen the creation of an institution controlled partly by
      Chadian nongovernmental organizations and partly by the government to
      ensure
      that oil revenues reduce poverty; if Chad's government proposes to spend
      oil
      money on something that won't benefit the poor, the new body
      theoretically
      has the power to veto it. It is too soon to say whether this experiment
      will
      succeed in disciplining Chad's corrupt and autocratic rulers. But the
      bank
      is at the forefront in grappling with the curse of oil in developing
      countries; mandating its withdrawal from the sector would be misguided.
      A quarter-century ago, when environmentalists first attacked the World
      Bank,
      they had the moral high ground. The bank had almost no environmentalists
      on
      its staff, a crazy position for an institution that financed risky
      infrastructure projects in a hundred countries. But having pushed the
      bank
      to set up a large environmental department and to embrace stringent
      environmental safeguards, the NGOs ought to understand the scope of their
      own victory. Today the bank's involvement in energy projects represents
      the
      best hope that these will be responsible; but, partly for fear of NGO
      criticism, the bank has financed only one new investment in coal
      production
      in the past three years. The real worry is not that the bank is doing too
      many oil and coal projects. It is that it should be doing more of them.
      C 2004 The Washington Post Company


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