Here’s a bit more about why I support the economic development approach rather than the failed control measures of Kyoto. Notice how economic development actually leads to greater protection for the environment and better qualities of life.
[quote]More has been done to reduce poverty in the past 50 years than the previous 500 years, yet many protest ‘not enough’ and have created a myth about globalization. Globalization is not new, historians argue we had about the same level of trade 100 years ago as today. Certainly more people were on the move then than now. We should not reject criticism and scrutiny, nor should we be smug.
It’s this never ending debate that drives us to improve.
In a century, Illiteracy has fallen from 75 per cent to below 20 per cent in developing countries. In 1960 most people in developing countries spent only a third as long in school as people in industrialized countries, now it’s half as long.
In 1900 people lived for 30 years on average, now they live on average 67 years. In 1950 life expectancy in the developing world reached 41, in 1998 it was 65. From being expected to die by age 24 in 1930, China has increased life expectancy to 70, a three-fold increase in two generations. In 1950, 18 per cent or almost every fifth child died in the developing world, in 1995, 6 per cent. In 1950 almost 6 per cent of all new-borns did not survive, now 1 per cent. Developing countries have the same infant mortality rate as the industrialized countries in 1950.
The share of people in developing countries with access to clean water has increased 30 per cent in 1970 to 80 per cent in 2000. Over 30 years the share of people with access to sanitation has more than doubled.
Despite the doubling of the US GNP over the past 30 years, they are using less steel. US population is up by a third but vehicle emissions have dropped by a third. Over the next ten years despite traffic increases, emissions will decrease by 20 per cent in the US and 30 per cent in the UK. The last 15-20 years has seen lead concentration levels fall by over 90 per cent. EU emissions have been cut by 60 per cent since 1984.
In 1992, more than 21 per cent of European beaches were polluted, by 1999 only 5 per cent were polluted. When measured naturally through fish in the US or through herring gull eggs in the great lakes, pollutant concentrations have declined by 80-90 per cent.
London is cleaner than it has been for a 100 years and pollution is New Delhi and Beijing is about where London was 50 years ago.
Remember the headlines about acid rain and the number of species that face extinction? Acid rain in the end affected 0.5 per cent of European forests,
Thirty years ago workers in Chinese Taipei earned USD 7.50 a month, now its USD 7.50 per hour.[/quote]
The last material benefit I mentioned was a cleaner environment. Freedom – and free markets – eventually translate into a cleaner environment. We now know that some of the worst environmental abuses occurred in the countries of the former Soviet Union, under central planning and absence of political freedoms. In market economies, in contrast, once average incomes have crossed a threshold of about $3000 to $4000, rising incomes and cleaner environments go hand in hand.
Why is this the case? First, it is prosperity that allows people not just to be concerned about the environment but to have the resources to devote to its clean-up. Second, environmental pressure groups can flourish better in open economies. Third, companies are concerned about their reputations and therefore have an incentive to be responsive to campaigns against them by environmental groups.
Does this mean that every developing country will have to wait until it is a middle-income country before it cleans up its environment? Not necessarily. Because the technology of environmental clean-up is getting better and cheaper, countries will undoubtedly leapfrog and start the clean-up process at lower thresholds of incomes than did today’s advanced nations. Indeed, this is already happening in many countries. And environmental lobby groups are already active in many of these countries, and they are quite effective, having learnt from the experience of developed country groups what works and what doesn’t.[/quote]
[quote]According to reports, 52 million cubic metres of untreated sewage and rainwater pollute the Thames and Lee every year. But perhaps to the surprise of Londoners, 129 species of fish and 250 invertebrates still survive in the Thames, and the river is cleaner and healthier than it has been for two centuries.
In fact, the Thames is acknowledged to be one of the world’s cleanest urban rivers. But like many of China’s rivers today, at one time urban and industrial growth threatened its ecosystem – almost to the point of collapse.[/quote]
chinadialogue.net/article/sh … 927?page=1
Finally for today…
A new study says global forest levels, as a whole, are experiencing transitions from shrinking to growing. Could the world be looking at an increase in forestland? A recent study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, offers an encouraging perspective on the future of international forest levels.
The study, “Returning Forests Analyzed with the Forest Identity,” analyzed in detail the 50 countries reporting the greatest quantity of timber in 2005, as well as analyzing the 144 countries that reported timber volume to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, using a new formula developed to measure forest cover called “Forest Identity.”
“Globally, we should celebrate the reversal from shrinking to spreading forest,” says Jesse Ausubel, the director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University in New York, NY. “The forest transition is spreading. Looking at today’s entire world of 214 countries, we believe 69 have now experienced the transition. Thus, we foresee a great restoration of forests during this century, with ample area for habitat, good possibilities for carbon orchards and abundant growing stock for the wood products industry.”
Ausubel developed the formula along with researchers from the University of Helsinki and scientists from China, Scotland and the United States. Ausubel, a graduate of Harvard and Columbia, spent the first decade of his career in Washington D.C. working for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering. On behalf of the Academies, he was one of the main organizers of the first U.N. World Climate Conference in Geneva in 1979, an event that substantially elevated the global warming issue on scientific and political agendas. He also coordinated and authored much of the 1983 NAS report “Changing Climate,” the first comprehensive review of the greenhouse effect.
Jesse Ausubel: No specific grant supported the study, but organizations, ranging from the Academy of Finland to the National Natural Science Foundation of China, supported the authors. The roots of my involvement go back 15 years, when I first asked Paul Waggoner, the former chief of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, “How much land can 10 billion people spare for nature?”
I expected that growing population and affluence would expand farming and logging and thus shrink forests to almost nothing. Instead, we began to find that many nations were experiencing transitions where increasingly productive agriculture and forestry and changing patterns of consumption were allowing land to return to nature. Anyone looking out the window of an airplane on a clear day flying over Maine, or Connecticut, or Minnesota sees a transition to more forest.
In 2005, Finnish co-author Pekka Kauppi recognized that the six authors of the new paper were converging on a similar understanding and proposed we work together to define and quantify the forest transition, historically and globally.
W&WP: Could you explain the new formula to measure forest cover, known as “Forest Identity?” How does it work?
Ausubel: The Forest Identity simultaneously and consistently considers the area the forest covers (hectares or square kilometers), the volume of timber (growing stock in cubic meters), the total weight of the above-ground biomass (in kilograms) and the fraction of the biomass in carbon (again in kilograms). It reconciles the concerns of diverse forest stakeholders, some of whom value the area for habitat, some the timber volume that might be sold, some the biomass that could be fuel and some of the sequestered carbon that might reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
We call the equation an identity because the left side of the equation, namely tons of carbon, equals the area (hectares) times density (cubic meters per hectare) times biomass (tons per cubic meter) times carbon (ton of carbon per ton of biomass). This simple equation inescapably and powerfully reconciles diverse perspectives on the forest and allows easy translation of concerns from one variable to another. Crucially, the variables are measurable and are actually measured or can easily be estimated for most forests.
W&WP: Though the outlook on global forest levels as a whole is optimistic, countries such as Brazil and Indonesia have experienced losses. What are the reasons for these losses? Does the rest of the world actually make up for these losses?
Ausubel: The global forest area did shrink from 1990 to 2005, but had forests in just two nations, Brazil and Indonesia, not shrunk, global area would have expanded. Excluding Brazil and Indonesia, Earth’s forests increased about 2 percent from 1990 to 2005.
Surprisingly, expanding cropland or harvesting timber products fail to easily explain the losses. Brazilian forests shrank four times and Indonesian forests six times as fast as cropland, including soybeans and palm, expanded. Because the USA gained forest area while producing two times as much roundwood as Brazil and four times as much as Indonesia, lumber, pulp and fuel production also fail as easy explanations. Because richer nations don’t suffer deforestation, affluence also fails to explain the losses.
W&WP: What are the types of national policies that affect forests in the selected countries?
Ausubel: Several factors contribute to forest transitions, from decline to rise. They include higher crop and forest yields per acre, replacement of wood by other fuel, getting more lumber out of each tree cut and economic development accompanied by a rural exodus, as well as timber imports. The role of plantations versus natural forests increased. Government interventions of legislation, transportation, forest services, nature conservation, education, expertise and tree planting affected each factor. Consumers have changed, too. Twenty years ago, Americans bought about 65 million newspapers each day, while in 2006 they bought about 45 million. I sometimes say, only half in jest, that the Internet has conserved more forest than activist groups.
W&WP: Do you think the results of this study will bring any changes to forestation policies in the selected countries?
Ausubel: From 1990 to 2005, 44 percent of the 144 reported less timber volume, it is true. But 15 percent suffered no change and fully 41 percent gained timber. The good news of nations, both rich and developing, passing through transitions from shrinking to growing forests, dispels the fear of inevitable deforestation leaving Earth a skinhead. We hope the study will encourage those countries still losing forest to commit to a schedule for the forest transition.
W&WP: How will this study affect the woodworking industry? Do you see an increase in wood exports from countries with higher forestation increases?
Ausubel: By highlighting the compatibility of harvesting timber products with growing forests, the study should discourage misdirected restrictions on the forest industry. The study’s calculation of a smaller impact on the world’s natural forests when timber is produced from fast-growing plantations and from regions of fast tree growth should increase plantations and trade.
W&WP: The study shows a positive correlation between economic development and forest conservation. Can you explain this?
Ausubel: Poor nations suffered both losses and gains of forest. Impressively, both booming China and India increased their forests between 1990 and 2005. Among the nations reporting timber volume to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, none with more than $4,600 gross domestic product per person lost timber volume from 1990 to 2005. Thus,
[color=red]instead of affluence depleting forest resources, good governance, national policies and changing tastes combined to improve both forests and income. Our study affirms strongly that richer is greener[/color]
So I think that I will stand by my views that ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT is the key to BETTER ENVIRONMENTS. You little hypocrites like to pretend that we do not care about the environment but are after almighty dollars but the truth is it is the almight dollar and the profits that companies earn that actually leads to saving forests. It is those nations that are least touched by corporate “exploitation” that suffer most. Strange eh? And please note that India and China, which used to be LOSING forests are now GAINING forests and it is precisely because of economic development. Back to you… But please do read through these threads first. This really has been discussed to death before and no one who has argued as you have has remained… Take it as a sign.
W&WP: Could you explain the use of plantations where wood is “farmed” for use in wood products? Do you see an increase or decrease in these types of forestation?
Ausubel: Foresters shorten the cycle from logging to harvest by planting fast-growing trees, by creating lumber orchards. If I were to concentrate on sequestering carbon that would otherwise be added to the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, I would call my forest a carbon orchard. Sawing up 50 acres of plantations growing twice as fast spares logging 100 acres of natural forest. Foresters project that plantations will lower the present 67 percent of harvest from natural forests to only 25 percent by the year 2050. High yields in concentrated areas of forestry and farming are the best friend of nature, the way to spare large amounts of land for nature. However, I prefer the term precision forestry to plantation forestry. The key to high yields is smart, synchronized employment of water, information and other inputs.[/quote]