Published Jul 12 2009 by Energy Bulletin
Archived Jul 12 2009

World Leaders, the economy & the environment - July 12

by Staff

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Just 96 months to save world, says Charles

Robert Verkaik, The Independent

Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned in a grandstand speech which set out his concerns for the future of the planet.

The heir to the throne told an audience of industrialists and environmentalists at St James's Palace last night that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world.

And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the "age of convenience" was over.

...Charles's speech was described as his first attempt to present a coherent philosophy in which he placed the threat to the environment in the context of a failing economic system.

...Despite his attack on the materialism of the modern age, the Prince has been criticised for his own indulgences, including dozens of staff to run his homes and hundreds of thousands of pounds spent travelling around the world. While his private estates on the Duchy of Cornwall generate record profits his tax bill was lower than the year before.

Last night the Prince said: "But for all its achievements, our consumerist society comes at an enormous cost to the Earth and we must face up to the fact that the Earth cannot afford to support it. Just as our banking sector is struggling with its debts – and paradoxically also facing calls for a return to so-called 'old-fashioned', traditional banking – so Nature's life-support systems are failing to cope with the debts we have built up there too.
(9 July 2009)

Pope Urges New World Economic Order

Rachel Donadio, Washington Post
Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a “world political authority” to oversee the economy and work for the “common good.”

... In many ways, the document is a somewhat puzzling cross between an anti-globalization tract and a government white paper, another indication that the Vatican does not comfortably fit into traditional political categories of right and left.

“There are paragraphs that sound like Ayn Rand, next to paragraphs that sound like ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ That’s quite intentional,” Vincent J. Miller, a theologian at the University of Dayton, a Catholic institution in Ohio, said in a telephone interview.

“He’ll wax poetically about the virtuous capitalist, but then he’ll give you this very clear analysis of the ways in which global capital and the shareholder system cause managers to focus on short term good at the expense of the community, of workers, of the environment.”

Indeed, sometimes Benedict sounds like an old-school European socialist, lamenting the decline of the social welfare state and praising the “importance” of labor unions to protect workers. Without stable work, he notes, people lose hope and tend not to get married and have children.

... Arguably the most environmentally-conscious pope in history, Benedict writes that, “One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use — not abuse — of natural resources, based on a realization that the notion of ‘efficiency’ is not value-free.”
(8 July 2009)

UN chief: G8 must go further on emissions

Andrew Grice, The Independent
Developing countries agreed last night to limit the rise in global temperatures due to climate change but rejected pleas by rich nations to sign up to a specific target to cut their carbon emissions.

A day after G8 leaders agreed to reduce their emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, nine developing nations, including China, India and Brazil, made clear a long, hard negotiation lies ahead if a new global deal on climate change is to be struck at crucial talks in Copenhagen in December...

...Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary General, criticised G8 leaders for not going further by setting interim targets for 2020 and to finance efforts by developing nations to embrace low carbon technology. He said: "The leaders of G8 must be aware of their historical responsibility for the future of humanity. There must be bold and ambitious targets so we can seal the deal."...

(12 July 2009)