My top three stories this from this week. — WB
The Chinese Government is moving to restrict and in some cases completely block, supplies of Rare Earth Metals (REEs). These metals, such as Neodymium, are critical to building wind-turbines and ultra-efficient motors. I have heard fearful commentary concering their virtual control over REEs in metal and minerals circles this past year. Certainly, when Green technology begins to consume scarce resources, and requires the opening of new mines, it is fair to ask, where’s the Green?, so to speak. Yet it is well known that Chinese mining and natural resource extraction/investment practices domestically, and in Africa and South America are completely hands-off when it comes to human rights and sustainable industrial practice. So I agree with Paul Krugman, that while Chinese mercantilism/currency manipulation might blip brightest on most political radars for 2010, their Pollution footprint may prove to be much more important. And its worth considering what the impact that their “Command Capitolism” brand of commerce might do with monopolies in key minerals, until innovation away from REE-based approaches occurs.
Number 2: The overwhelming majority of Organic farming operates in Arizona, California and Oregon. So news from today’s Sacramento Bee that California Lakes are warming more quickly than the rest of the nation is worth a close look.
Number 3: A posting form CNNMoney.com on a Cap and Dividend is before the Senate. The post reports concerns that “…critics fear the bill may stifle innovation. By limiting Wall Street’s role in the trading of carbon credits they fear new technologies will die on the vine, missing out on needed capital from the investment community.” Wow. Are we living on the same planet as the people that have these concerns? This is the Wall Street whose “innovations” brought the global economy to its knees. The Wall Steet that sold out Main Street in order to make bonus schedules to a few hundred people. It is my hope that our collective memory will be long enough to keep Wall Street on as short a leash as possible as Carbon Trading Markets and built.