I live in Spain. United States spends more money in its armed forces per year than the GDP of Spain, a prosperous European country of 44 million people. When I look at how much the United States devotes to “defend” itself and I read an article in today´s New York Times, that says that the United States ” is woefully unprepared for what could become the worst disaster in the nation’s history” meaning FLU, I wonder what´s happening to US spending priorities. Does it make sense to spend a trillion dollars in armaments and not spend enough in flu vaccines? The 381 pages report that the New York Times writes about predicts widespread violence at vaccination clinics resulting from a vaccine shortage. How can Bill Gates personally be paying for vaccinating millions of Africans while the US Government is not paying for flu vaccines for its own citizens? When is the United States going to realize that the biggest danger to its nation is not Islamic terrorism but hurricanes, epidemics, earthquakes, and other natural disasters? I think it´s time that United States realizes that its most dangerous enemies are not PEOPLE, but NATURE. More precisely, nature attacked by humanity, with its main aggressor, in terms of carbon emissions and global warming, being the United States itself. As I write this, I know that many people in the United States realize this. Unfortunately they only made 47% of the electorate last time around. Hopefully damage will be contained and a new president with the environment in mind will be elected in 2008. I frequently wonder what would have happened to the world if Al Gore had been given his true mandate in 2000. I have no doubt that the United States and the world would be a different, better, safer place.
As hurricanes continue to cause tremendous destruction and death and, as evidence piles up showing that increase in hurricane strength is a function of rising surface water temperature, global warming is becoming our worse nightmare. But until last week I used to think that SUVs and Americans passion for 68F air conditioned rooms were by far the greatest carbon criminals. They are not alone. The internet it turns out may soon be as bad. Working on the internet and having started companies like Ya.com I would take comfort thinking that we operated a clean industry. But this is hardly the case. Over the last month I became aware of two related activities that I thought were energy irrelevant are actually energy hogs. They are thinking and computing.
Al Gore spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative. His main argument was that Hurricane Katrina proved two things: firstly, that global warming is creating stronger storms; secondly, that government has an essential role to play in preventing and/or alleviating these types of tragedies. Al Gore spoke with tremendous emotion, uncharacteristic of him during his candidacy. How he has transformed! He says that the United States is to blame not only for being the greatest polluter of the planet but for being the country doing the least to change. He is asking for a transformation of the American Economy. He believes that Katrina is the first taste from a bitter cup that will be forced to taste from again, and again and again. He urges the US Government to act. He says that this is a legitimate and necessary role for the government to assume.
Notes on the session of Technology Opportunities in the Area of preventing climate change