Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One world

This is a fascinating little story - the Micronesian federation - lots of tiny pacific islands which will fall beneath the sea as global tides rise - have raised the issue of the Czech Republic boosting a coal power plant. I'll let someone else tell the story:
Micronesia noted CEZ's coal-fired plant at Prunerov in the north of the republic was the 18th biggest source of greenhouse gases in the European Union, emitting about 40 times more carbon dioxide than the entire Pacific island federation.
OK, to politics - the first is that the idea of countries a hemisphere apart being environmental neighbours is important - the air is global, the climate is global. We are all locked into one spaceship Earth, and we need the common means to control it.

Whilst the Tragedy of the Commons is seriously disputed nowadays, the atmosphere is an excellent example of a commons, and externality that can be ruined by untrammeled free action.

Sadly, in a world of nation states, the narrow interest of the Czech Republic in the short term will trump any longer term concern they may have about climate change - those Bohemian mountains aren't going to fall under the sea any time soon. Commonise costs, privatise profits. Common ownership, and democratic control of the worlds air is needed, and I think this story illustrates way.

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