The Economist, “Becalmed”

July 30, 2009

After a record year, America’s wind industry is suffering growing pains

“But everything is relative. The AWEA’s Liz Salerno notes that 2009 is still on to be the industry’s second-best year ever. She adds that wind is contributing not only generating capacity, but also much-needed manufacturing jobs

The Economist, “An idea whose time has come and gone?”

July 23, 2009

An idealistic effort to establish a new humanitarian principle is coming under attack at the United Nations

“Assurances have failed to convince critics of the responsibility to protect, who are adamant that the whole idea is just a cover to legitimise armed interference by rich Western powers in the affairs of poor countries. One person who takes that view is Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, a Nicaraguan diplomat (and Sandinista priest-politician), who is now president of the General Assembly

The Economist, “Wanted: fresh thinking”

July 9, 2009

Poor countries wrangle with rich ones about who can burn what and when

“Fresh thinking, instead of stale arguments, has rarely been so badly needed. A new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week offered a contribution, based on the idea that it is rich people, rather than rich countries, who need to change the most. The authors suggest setting a cap on total emissions, and then converting that cap into a global per-person limit. This would be low enough that if everyone stuck to it, the worldwide target would be met.

Each country would then have the task of reducing its national consumption according to its number of “high emitters”—people with an extravagant output of carbon. Such individuals are scarce in India, more common in China, and common in America

The Economist, “Curiously slow”

July 7, 2009

Why is “green stimulus” taking so long?

“The department has made an unusual appeal to speed up spending. Earlier this year it asked universities and trade associations for volunteer experts to help vet loan applications. Two weeks later more than 2,000 boffins had offered help. The experts are being sorted into specialist teams and will soon start scrutinising applications