Most of us grew up watching Saturday morning westerns like ‘The Lone Ranger’, ‘Poncho and Cisco’ and ‘Roy Rogers’. These cowboys didn’t have much money for supplies but they always seemed to have horses to swap. When they wanted a new saddle or rifle a horse trader would come along and they would try to make best deal they could – silver for horseflesh. The new global currency looks like it is going to be carbon instead of silver.In 1997 the United Nations held a meeting in Kyoto, Japan. As part of that meeting industrialized countries agreed to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide being one of them. Greenhouse gasses are human produced by industries and naturally by volcanoes, animals and plants. The excess generation of these gasses through human activities has lead to the greenhouse effect. These greenhouse gasses act like a blanket, which traps heat inside the atmosphere causing a general increase in global temperature. The results of this have been a rise in ocean temperature, shifts in animal and plant distributions and changes in global weather patterns.The agreement reached by 38 nations was to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases from their 1990 level by eight percent between 2008 and 2012. The United States isn’t part of this agreement. It was left up to each nation or group of nations as to how they would implement the reduction.Governments of the European Union have started issuing allowances to firms that produce greenhouse gases. The majority of these allowances will be free but governments can choose to sell up to five percent of them. These allowances are like cash because companies who don’t use all their allowances could sell them on the open market to companies who are running out. Companies who produce more greenhouse gases than the allowances authorize, both allotted and purchased, will be fined. The net effect of this bill is to make it not cost effective for companies to pollute. It can only be hoped that the fine of 100 euros per ton of excess CO2 after 2008 will be enough to make companies think twice.Even though the United States didn’t sign the Kyoto Protocol ‘more than two dozen states have taken voluntary action to reduce carbon emissions.’ These states have already started trading emissions with European countries. This isn’t viewed by these states as a disagreement with the federal government’s policy. These states feel it is in their best interest to follow the Kyoto protocol guidelines. Plus, if they don’t use their allotted quota they can sell it to the highest bidder anywhere on the planet. This is an example of the new global economy based on ecological need not capital generation.I don’t know about you but I think the Lone Ranger might have yelled ‘Hi oh, Silver away’ about this.
Think Global – Act Local!