Re: Washington Post editorial "A Green Pragmatism"
- On Sun, 4 Jul 2004 P. Neuman self only writes:
> On Sun, 4 Jul 2004 Tom Robertson writes:--------- Forwarded message ----------
> > ~~ 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!
> Pat N
From: "Tom Robertson" <t1r@...>
To: "EnergyResources" <email@example.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 ~~~~~~
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
how the expense of mitigating them should be apportioned. The difficulty
rising to this challenge is illustrated by the fractious relationship
between the environmental movement and the World Bank. The most recent
between the two sides -- centering on the bank's lending to extractive
industries, especially oil -- shows that some environmental groups
in a utopian, denounce-everything mode. The bank is rightly fighting
The latest clash begins with an independent commission set up at the
behest, which recently published recommendations on mining and oil
Many were reasonable: The commission stressed the advantages of using
renewable fuel; it pointed out that extractive industries have often
corruption; and it emphasized that people living around such projects,
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
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
billion people have no access to electricity, and 2.3 billion depend on
and other "biomass" fuels, which cause deforestation and pollution.
potential fuel source is hydropower, but the environmental movement has
resisted construction of dams. Other options include wind and solar
but telling poor countries to solve their problems by those means is
hypocritical, given that rich countries have taken only baby steps in
direction. Oil and coal will remain central to development, with or
the World Bank's backing. To pretend otherwise is to imply that the
countries in the world must shoulder the cost of fighting global warming.
By getting involved in oil and coal projects, moreover, the World Bank
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
it travels through or to the people who live in the region. The World
has also overseen the creation of an institution controlled partly by
Chadian nongovernmental organizations and partly by the government to
that oil revenues reduce poverty; if Chad's government proposes to spend
money on something that won't benefit the poor, the new body
has the power to veto it. It is too soon to say whether this experiment
succeed in disciplining Chad's corrupt and autocratic rulers. But the
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
they had the moral high ground. The bank had almost no environmentalists
its staff, a crazy position for an institution that financed risky
infrastructure projects in a hundred countries. But having pushed the
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
best hope that these will be responsible; but, partly for fear of NGO
criticism, the bank has financed only one new investment in coal
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
The best thing to hit the Internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
Surf the Web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!