Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Financial Market Distraction

In the Weapons of Mass Distraction category, let's look at one area our gaze is being diverted from. US taxpayers are being asked to bail out a failed sub-prime/derivatives/debt insurance Ponzi scheme to the tune of $700 billion, with no actual supporting evidence that it will do any good, or even more good than eventual harm, to a faltering and inherently unsustainable industrial growth economy.

When compared to the grossly inflated value of the entirely ephemeral derivatives market, which is well over $400 trillion worldwide, the bailout is hardly even a drop in the bucket -- but it will fill some golden parachutes even if they're not directly deposited into CEO accounts. It will be interesting, in a very morbid way, to see what sleight-of-hand they use to do this.

In the meantime, catastrophic climate destabilization (global warming) is increasing faster than predicted in even the dire reports. According to the international consortium of scientists, Global Carbon Project, in 2007 carbon released from burning fossil fuels and producing cement increased 2.9 percent over that released in 2006 -- up to 8.47 gigatons. This puts the world on track to see 11 degrees F warming by century's end, when it is pretty well acknowledged that 4 degrees F will put us over the edge of environmental tipping points.

While some industrialized nations have almost levelled out on greenhouse gas emissions (no decrease, though) the developing world has doubled theirs (we gotta get those shiny consumer trinkets from somewhere). Add to this the fact that the world's natural carbon sinks, the oceans and forests, dropped another 3% this decade in the amount of carbon they could absorb, i.e. they're full.

In a September 22, 2008 report, Britain’s Climate Trust suggests companies could drop a total worth of $7 trillion in value if they don't address climate change-related risks. Thats an order of magnitude more financial risk than the current Ponzi crisis.

So, let's see... where should we invest our money? Into doing everything we can to thwart and mitigate sea level rise and species extinction (including our own), or to bailing out the crooks and liars who are propping up the paradigm that's causing the destruction?

Beam me up, Scotty.

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