The implications of this for global greenhouse gases are staggering. Were China to continue at a 9% exponential growth rate, and every other country hold to current output levels, worldwide output of CO2 would double from the levels of today in about 18 years. Of course what everyone is looking for is a way to decrease total CO2 output. If the rest of the world manages to reduce CO2 production by 5% per year then world output won’t double for 22 years. Little comfort that.
These calculations are very back-of-the-envelope, though these days it is an email-envelope. Others, with fancier, or at least more convoluted, math have concluded that we have at more like 35 years to a doubling. But while developed countries are looking at, if not embracing, technology to reduce carbon emissions, the developing world is trying to develop. When those lesser developed countries were economically tiny, how they developed did not much matter, but it does now.
My purpose in pointing this out is not to be an alarmist, however strongly the warning bells may be clanging. Rather, I am looking for opportunity – a silver lining in the billowing clouds of coal smoke and concrete dust. The disquieting rate of emissions growth in
Turning such dirty inefficient power plants into somewhat less dirty and less inefficient plants would have a huge impact. Orchestrating the construction of clean and efficient new plant would have a bigger impact still. So what does it take to get high-tech into areas that people with skills and smarts are desperately trying to get out of? Engineers without borders?
Perhaps this is an opportunity for developed countries to export workers, instead of jobs. Engineers and skilled construction and industrial workers, together with the technology they bring, cooperating with the local people now on the job might be able to produce wonders. Such efforts would, in part, need to be a sort of foreign aid but
There really is an opportunity to improve not only global environmental footprint, but the long run quality of life in
The world is facing some interesting, and probably difficult, times. We can all defend our corner and push for others to reform, but the results are dismally predictable. Alternatively, we can put down the gloves, drop some of our ideological baggage, and scratch our heads together. Freely providing technology to
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