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Financial crisis cash stuns scientist

Source:  Copyright 2008, Cape Argus
Date:  December 3, 2008
Original URL: Status DEAD

The head of the world's top climate scientists said he was stunned at the trillion-dollar cheques that had been signed to ease the banking crisis when funding for poverty and global warming was scrutinised or denied.

In an interview on the sidelines of the United Nations climate talks, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel-winning Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, said he was both astonished and dismayed at the imbalance.

"It seems very strange what has happened in the past two or three months," he said. "It defies any kind of logic if you look at the type of money that the world has spent on these bailouts, $2,7-trillion (about R27-trillion) is the estimate, and it's been done so quickly and without questioning."

Pachauri recalled that, when the Millennium Development Goals for attacking poverty and sickness were being drawn up, a panel chaired by Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico, suggested "a fairly modest estimate" of $50-billion a year in help for poor countries.

"But everyone scoffed at it. Nobody did a damn thing," Pachauri said.

"(Yet) here, you've got agencies, you've got organisations that are not only responsible for their own failure, but the failure of the entire economic system, and they get cheques worth $2,7-trillion. I find this amazing ... What can you say, what can you do?"

Pachauri suggested that this two-sided story illustrated a "distortion" in the economic system. Carbon emissions - the fossil-fuel pollution that stokes climate change - were another example where the true cost of using or abusing natural resources was not factored in to calculations, he said.

"Once the dust settles and we know the direction the world is going to move in, I think there will be a very deep and major reappraisal of the way we've been growing economically," Pachauri said. - Sapa-AFP

This article was originally published on page 4 of The Cape Times on December 03, 2008 EMAIL STORY EASY PRINT SEARCH NEWSLETTER Search Cape Argus: login | subscribe Say what?

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