Thomas Friedman, Al Gore, and Mindy Lubber offer analyses of the environmental perils we face at the beginning of the twenty-first century and propose some solutions. In this paper there is going to be comparing and contrasting each of these analyses and solutions that are offered by the three analysts.
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Considering what is presented by Thomas Friedman, he promises that we should go green. He points out that thinking about how to live and work in a greener fashion – with cleaner electrons, greater energy and resource productivity, and an ethic of conservation, is being popularized and democratized (Friedman 290).
According to him, at the present, this is “no longer an elite issue for those people who live in the West and East coasts or in the backyards of Vermont or Colorado” (Friedman 290).
Friedman points out that “it is all about being green and every one is a winner” (Friedman 291). The farmers in the U.S are winners because they are going “green”. They get to grow ethanol and garner immense government subsidies for doing so even if it makes no real sense as a CO2 reduction strategy.
More so, coal companies are going green and they are doing this through renaming themselves “energy companies” and stressing how sequestration of carbon dioxide will offer us “clean coal” (Friedman 291).
He states that “in the green revolution we’re having in America today, everybody gets to play, everybody is a winner, nobody gets hurt, and no body has to do anything hard” (Friedman 291).
It is pointed out that the most difficult facts are these “if we sum up the easy, cost-efficiency measures we should all embrace, the best we get is a slowing of the growth of environmental damage … obsessing over recycling and installing a few special light bulbs wont cant it” (Friedman 293).
We are supposed to be considering the basic change in our energy, transportation as well as agricultural systems instead of looking at the technological tweaking on the margins, and this implies changes and costs the present and future leaders tend to be afraid to discuss (Friedman 293).
Another analyst who talks about the environmental perils is Al Gore. Al Gore who was the 45th Vice President of the United States of American as well as an environmental activist, was the winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace price and this was in recognition of his work “to build and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such” (Gore 301).
In his speech that he presented in the Month of July 2008, Al Gore called upon people to take the necessary measures to overcome the climate crisis and pointed out that electing President Obama in to office presented a hope of dealing with this problem effectively.
According to Al Gore, the world authority on climate crisis, “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, after two decades of detailed research and 4 unanimous reports, currently indicates that the evidence is “unequivocal”.
To those people who are still tempted to engage in dismissing the increasingly urgent alarms from scientists all over the world, do not seriously consider the melting of the north polar ice cap and all of the other apocalyptic warning from the earth itself, and “who role their eyes at the very mention of this existential danger to the future of the human kind are supposed to wake up” (Gore 301).
Al Gore, in the speech, raised awareness among people that they should care about the future generations by taking the appropriate measures to protect the future generations against the effects of the climate crisis.
Al Gore mentioned that the bold steps that are supposed to be taken in order to deal with the climate crisis are similar steps that are supposed to be taken to deal with the problem of the economic crisis as well as the energy security crisis.
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There is agreement among the economists that huge and quick investments in a job-intensive infrastructure initiative are the best way to revive the economy in a rapid and sustainable way. A large number of people as well agree that the American economy will fall behind in case the country goes on spending billions of dollars on foreign oil every year.
In addition, national security experts in the two parties have come to agree that America faces a dangerous strategic vulnerability in case the world suddenly loses access to the oil from the Middle East.
Al Gore points out that the America’s Automobile industry should be helped to convert quickly to plug-in hybrids which can run on the renewable electricity which will be there as the rest of this plan comes to maturity.
He points out that “in combination with the unified grid, a nationwide fleet of plug-in hybrids would also help to solve the problem of electricity storage…..with this sort of grid, cars could be charged during off-peak energy use hours; during peak hours, when fewer cars are on the road, they could contribute their electricity back in to the national grid” (Gore 303).
Another measure that is proposed by Al Gore is that there should be embarking on nationwide attempts to retrofit buildings with improved insulation and energy efficient windows and lighting.
About 40 percent of the CO2 emissions in the U.S originate from buildings and trying to prevent such pollution saves a lot of money for those who own homes and businesses. This measure is supposed to go hand in hand with the proposal in Congress to assist the American people who are overburdened by mortgages that are more than the value of their homes.
Al Gore, in his speech, also proposes that the U.S has to be in the lead in regard to putting a price on carbon within the country, and should also take the lead in the global efforts to substitute the Kyoto treaty with a treaty that is more effective which caps global CO2 emissions and gives encouragement to countries to invest together in efficient ways to reduce global warming and pollution rapidly, through such ways as greatly reducing deforestation.
Indeed, as pointed out, “the best way, and possibly the only way, to secure a global agreement to safeguard the future is by re-establishing the U.S as the country with the moral and political authority to lead the world toward a solution” (Gore, 303).
In his forecast, Al Gore points out that he has great hopes that Americans will have the courage to embrace the changes that are vital in saving the country’s economy, the earth, and eventually people themselves.
Considering Mindy Lubber, she is a former Regional administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He has won international awards for her work on combating climate change. She delivered a speech in the month of October 2008 at a Deutsche Bank conference during the financial downturn that followed the subprime lending crisis.
In the speech, she started by point the fact that we are about to leave behind an environment that is imperiled to the future generation. She pointed out that the major problem that is facing the world is global climate change. She blames the society for presenting the claims that it is taking action to deal with the situation but in the actual sense, it is not doing something close to this.
The dangers that climate change poses to the profitability of companies are very immense and “even if we weren’t the “good guys” who want to save the planet for the planet’s sake our children’s, we had better pay attention as business leaders whose enterprises are at risk” (Lubber 316).
She went ahead to point out that people are aware that ignoring the subprime lending disaster led to a stunning financial collapse on Main Street and wall Street. If a similar mistake is made in regard to the climate, the very human survival is put in danger in addition to the capital markets.
She draws a conclusion in this regard that it is now time to be attentive and cease to think of climate change as an “off-trade” balance sheet risk. This is a risk which is supposed to appear on the balance sheet.
Since the unchecked carbon emissions will bring about great damage to this world, we have to commit now to “building long-term shareholder value and creating new high paying jobs that do not revolve around oil and coal” (Lubber 317).
She further points out that the near collapse of the America’s economy has got people’s attention and therefore, as one pays attention, there is need to talk about people’s exposure to climate risk, as well as the opportunities which await those that lead on this critical issue.
There is need to put in place policies concerning climate change. As an initial step, the government action is required. In order to limit the climate change impacts, there is need to reduce global warming pollution by a minimum of 25 percent by the year 2020 and by 80 percent by the year 2050.
The only way through which this can be realized is by putting in place strong government policies that set the compulsory limits of CO2 emissions, which implies placing a price on carbon emissions.
Thomas Friedman, Al Gore, and Mindy Lubber give comprehensive analyses of the environmental perils that the world is currently facing and well as the possible solutions to these. In their analyses, all of them talk about the issue of reducing the carbon emissions.
However, as on one hand Friedman man puts emphasis on going green, Gore and Lubber concentrate on the issue of giving a relationship between economic development and climate change.
They point out that climate change can bring in a great negative impact on a country’s economy or the financial position of a company. In general, there is need to take the necessary measures to protect the environment in order for the future generations to also benefit from it.
Friedman, Thomas. “205 easy ways to save the earth”. Writing and reading across the curriculum. Eds. Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen. London: Longman Publishing, 2009.
Gore, Al. “Climate for Change”. Writing and reading across the curriculum. Eds. Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen. London: Longman Publishing, 2009.
Lubber, Mindy. “Balance sheets and the climate crisis”. Writing and reading across the curriculum. Eds. Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen. London: Longman Publishing, 2009.