Author: Christian Peratsakis

Teeing Up for Climate Change

  I was asked the other day to name a country that I’d want to be a marketing agent for – spice up their image. I answered with some African state – predictable for an Africanist “do-gooder” who wants to “change!” the world. I was wrong. I should have said the Maldives. Before I continue, let me summarize all that I know about the Maldives. First, it’s less than 8 feet above sea level at its highest point. Secondly, it once held a Parliamentary Cabinet meeting underwater to highlight the threats of climate change. Translation: Climate change is going to sink their country, and they know it. So what could make the Maldives an ideal country for a marketing campaign, and how could that possibly be connected to climate change? The Maldives is thinking out of the box when it comes to addressing climate change. Doing so has not only raised its image on in the climate arena, but also on the broader international stage. While most people still can’t figure out where it is on a map (they’re those tiny little dots down to the left of India), the name “Maldives” appears more frequently in the news today than it did even two years ago. What, then, is the Maldives doing that is so special? When in trouble, buy another country. Maldives president Mahamed Nasheed envisions purchasing territory...

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Getting Back to the BASICs of Climate Change

  Members of both chambers of the U.S. Congress are pushing bills that will dramatically slash what little funding the U.S. spends on climate change research and action. This includes major funding cuts for the EPA and other environmental initiatives across the States, as discussed in last week’s Baines Report. To this I say… So what? Yes, it is worrying that the United States, still the sole hegemon, is rapidly losing its hold on this position while its international reputation falters. No, I will not argue that climate change (alone) is the reason. However, if we are being honest, then we know that there is little hope that the United States, though try as it might, is going to be a real leader on climate. That is not to say that the United States is not a game changer. It is arguably the biggest game changer on climate issues. However, it’s time to face the facts that the world is continuing to address climate change without us. Over the past weekend, members of BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) met for the first time since the December 2010 climate talks in Cancún. For those new to the climate debate, BASIC is the most powerful and vocal bloc of the non-Annex I countries (Annex I countries are industrialized and transitioning economy countries … the big polluters). This informal group of emerging...

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