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Skye Kelly

Executive Director, Heal One World

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Can we expect emerging countries to curb their energy consumption, even though we had decades of flagrant use?

China, India and other emerging countries- from 3rd to 1st world in a flash- are beginning to start using resources the way we have here in the USA for decades now- some are just "basic" like indoor electricity and city infrastructures, to more grandiose things like air conditioning, SUV's and sky scrapers. With their immense populations all looking for the western way of life, mcdonalds and all- can we try and hold them to any consumption standards? To reduce fossil fuel consumption in particular. To learn from our mistakes? Should we offset them by making deeper cuts at home? Even if it is more costly upfront- how can we have them see that renewable energy may save a lot in the long run? Do you know of some countries at the forefront? I know of Germany, but in the emerging sector? It seems these countries maybe the tipping point for many issues regarding sustainability?

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    Sep 26 2012: China and India choosing to embrace fossil fuel, shows exactly why, so recently, they were 3rd world countries. For some reason, they let music, and TV, and government, convince them that they want what the west has... Rather than wanting what's good. This is, in large part, the fault of the west, and how it wielded scientific superiority over the years, to spread advertising/propaghanada... but I still think individuals are responsible for their own actions, no matter how awful their governments are.

    If China and India choose to drive SUV's, luxury and sport cars that get 15 miles to the gallon... they do it because they think we look sexy in these cars... Not because these are better quality products. If China and India would like the planet to survive long enough for their people to enjoy cheap transportation, they need to get on the solar concentration, and light electric vehicle bandwagon.

    If they do that... Then, we'll run out of oil, and collapse, as they expand, and protect the environment. If they buy SUV's... we all die. It's all up to 2.5 billion individuals, choosing better quality vehicles, and more efficient transportation, over our nonsense. Unfortunately leaders in the west are spending billions of dollars, trying to convince China that Mcdonalds knows how to make a cheeseburger, and Ford knows how to make a car. Both concepts, everyone in America know to be a bold faced lie.
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      Sep 28 2012: Like 'we had the fun and now you exercise austerity?'
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        Sep 28 2012: America is the fattest, laziest, most suicidal, and imprisoned first world country on the planet. I think we're number 2 in suicide actually, to Japan, but still... "We had fun"... No we didn't. The oil industry ravaged our productivity and destroyed our economy over the last 40 years. Very few of the people living here, are in the 1% who "had fun"

        My philosophy may seem a bit bitter... but it's antithesis is "You almost destroyed the world, how dare you ask us not to finish the job?". We make big, smelly, ugly, inefficient crap, and we're incredibly unhappy... Have fun... Don't be like us.
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          Sep 29 2012: It does not seem bitter to me. But it hardly matters how I or you feel about it. Just like all America is not 20 acre mansion with private helipad and people swimming in pools at 12 noon on a workday, all third world countries are not children begging out in the streets and people marrying and multiplying like rabbits. There are other people in between in both worlds. While American middle class is disillusioned about the Great American Dream, Indian middle class is fascinated with Great Indian Dream, which sadly is a copy of its American version. It is a difficult task to ask a family living in a one room house not to aspire for a 3 room apartment with all modern amenities of life just because their number is not in favor of the ecological tug of war. It is a stalemate scenario. Developed countries did the damage by utterly unsustainable consumption of few people while the third world countries, particularly India will damage by increased consumption by utterly unsustainable numbers.
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        Sep 30 2012: I agree... and I have nothing against 3 rooms... I actually think a family could afford that sustainably, in most of the world if we drove light electric vehicles, and our trucks ran on hemp biofuel. We need to find a way to synthetically make some of the resources we seem obsessed with in the Congo, but in general, I think sustainable high techinology life is possible.

        I hope every Chinese, and Indian family can and will have a vehicle for every adult, a good cell phone, internet connection... Vertical farms in the cities for food stability, even if it has to be subsidized by the government. Whatever it takes to make people happy, in a sustainable fashion. I hope America can help...

        Just don't follow our example in the realm of oil... It's the biggest mistake we ever made, and it is a subject of universal shame and regret among educated citizens.
    • Sep 28 2012: Quote: "If China and India would like the planet to survive long enough for their people to enjoy cheap transportation, they need to get on the solar concentration, and light electric vehicle bandwagon."

      Are you saying that the United States don't want its people to survive long enough to enjoy cheap transportation?

      "If they do that... Then, we'll run out of oil, and collapse, as they expand"

      I think once you start thinking of the world as 'us' and not "we' and 'they', maybe, something can be done together to prevent the collapse that you are so scared about.

      Some facts:
      Indians as a community are more conscious about the mileage that a vehicle gives. Even when Americans have just about started that they cannot afford to pay for gas.

      More Indians use the Railways to travel across the country than anywhere else in the world. (America still does not have a cheap, environment friendly transport system. I would recommended you find out why. )

      Lastly, though I am not a big fan of cars made by Ford, I am just wondering why it did not need a bailout like Chrysler and GM.
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        Sep 28 2012: I'm saying that the people in power in the United States, for the most part, inherited oil money, and they have no interest in human beings in the United States surviving... They will simply move somewhere tropical. Greenland should be tropical soon enough : p

        The American people have decided to "drill baby drill", and follow their incompetent media to collapse... If China and India follow us... We win... Well the people in power here win... Humanity as a whole, loses, big time. I don't see the world as us and them... I see the world as "Right now, the United States is run by idiots, so do anything you want, except copy us, or humanity is doomed". We drank the cool aid and we bought our own propaghanda, we have decades of dramatic reform and economic stagnation ahead of us because we invested far too heavily in oil and coal. Please don't be like us... We have no right to force anything on you, and no moral high ground... just regrets.

        The Indian people, and even the Chinese are much more efficient stuards of their resources than America is at the moment... don't let it slip away, because we look cool wasting our money : )

        Ford got a bail out a few years earlier, they are all socialist enterprises now. Occasionally they make a good product, and to be fair, I think we still make some of the best diesel trucks and machinery on the planet... but in general, they make mediocre crap, and that's why they needed a government bail out. Also... Everyone in India, can learn to make a better cheeseburger than Mcdonalds, and then they don't export wealth to the US... We don't shop at Mcdonalds because they make good food, we shop there because they are cheap due to government subsidy.
    • Sep 30 2012: David: We are in no position to criticize other nations use of fossil fuels, since we waste them ourselves. However, the Chinese are at present in the lead when it comes to constructively breaking up this logjam the world is in. They are actively pursuing the Thorium LFTR energy system. (Invented in America, but we rejected it 50 years ago because it didin't make bomb material) Look up Kun Chen's talk to the U. of Calif. recently, on Youtube.
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        Sep 30 2012: Something is either objectively immoral, incorrect, and wrong... or it is not. It would be wrong of me to criticize America, without also criticizing China and India. Nuclear technology is not needed to solve this problem, but it is better than coal. I do not subscribe to moral relativism. The way humanity is choosing to distribute energy, is objectively horrible, and we should fix it.

        The fact that my country is a major contributor to the problem... Has no bearing on my argument.

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