Date: Thu, Nov 27, 2008 at 3:56 PM
Subject: Editorial - The emperor and the nightingale
The emperor and the nightingale
Editorial by John Psaropoulos
he world has recently demonstrated an awareness of itself as a single economic system. Following the collapse of the US housing market over the last year and a half, the central banks of Asia, Europe and North America co-ordinated the launching of the largest fiscal aid packages in human history. Most economists agree that they thus averted the collapse of the world banking system and major depressions in the economies of developed and developing nations (see our articles on the Greek 2009 budget and European stimulus package on pages 6-7).
So why is it so much more difficult for the world to see itself as a single natural system? As British Ambassador Simon Gass pointed out in impeccable Greek last week to an economic crisis conference, fixing the environment is going to be much harder than fixing the economy. Yet that is the task now facing scientists and policymakers at the penultimate global summit on climate change before a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol is to be signed. The summit takes place in Poznan, Poland on December 1-12 (see our articles on the bleak outlook on pages 4-5) .
The difficulty arises partly from the fact that developing economies such as China and India want a grace period the Earth can ill afford them, to reach living standard parity with Western nations that caused much of today's pollution getting where they are. While the argument hinges on justice for the many, it disguises a deeper motive – a race to supplant the waning economic power of the United States on the world stage.