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In a Q&A published today, CGD non-resident fellow Peter Timmer estimates that soaring global food prices and panicky starve-thy-neighbor rice export restrictions in Asia could lead to 10 million or more premature deaths in the region if the current high prices are passed along to poor rice consumers.
This is a joint posting with Kevin Ummel
Q: What can we do to save the earth?
Wendell Berry: "Stay put."
Economists are always irritating their colleagues by harping about opportunity cost, but the concept can be useful nonetheless. For example, consider the “carbon account” announced for the Poznan climate change meeting. According to the sponsors, travel and other logistics for the 8,000 conference participants will generate 13,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Participants have duly announced the purchase of “carbon offsets” as atonement for their logistical sins (which begins to sound like the sale of indulgences by the medieval Church, but that’s another story). The whole thing projects a reassuring aura: By purchasing offsets, the participants can cover the “climate cost” of the meeting.
This post originally appeared on the "Carbon Monitoring for Action" blog.
CGD's CARMA website (Carbon Monitoring for Action) uses information on planned construction of power plants to project increases in carbon emissions during the coming decade. In India, for example, CARMA projects that new facilities will increase CO2 emissions by about 150%, and much of the increase will come from enormous coal-fired plants. CARMA's ranking of Indian power plants on their future emissions shows that Tata Power Corporation's planned Mundra plant in Gujarat will rank third nationally, with projected annual CO2 emissions of 27.8 million tons when it is fully operational. Mundra will be bigger than Georgia's Scherer plant, the largest emitter in the US, which annually spews about 25 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.