Thursday, January 22, 2009

The nuclear bridge

Sir, whether sturdy or weak, safe or dangerous, short or long, no matter how we look at it the nuclear energy is the best and perhaps even the only bridge available to take us from a carbon driven to a clean renewable energy driven world. 

In this respect I do not harbor any of the concerns that Oleg Deripaska expresses about the current drop in oil prices or the financial crisis delaying the development of a nuclear response to the world’s energy, as long as we can convince regulators that it is high time for them to roll up their sleeves and work 24-7-365 to speed up without running of course, whatever due diligence procedures are needed, “A nuclear response to our energy problems” January 22.

If you ask me what would be one of the best stimulus packages we could come up with, dollar for dollar that would be to double or triple the budgets of entities such as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission… and then crack the whip.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You the green NGO’s, you are all barking up the wrong tree.

The environmental groups are barking up the wrong tree when trying to influence institutions such as the World Bank to pursue investments that can counter the threat of climate change.

Not that the World Bank is not important, as a standard setter, but, out there, in the real world, if we are talking about mobilizing financial resources there are other institutions much more important, like the Basel Committee, the global bank regulator.

The Basel Committee decided that the one and only role for our banks was not to default and to such effect it set up a system of minimum capital requirements for banks based on credit risks, and empowered the credit rating agencies as the risk surveyors of the world.

Not a good idea! The credit rating agencies rated securities backed with lousily awarded mortgages as AAA, which signifies a zero risk, and then more than two trillions of world capitals, something like 20 World Banks, invested in those securities, only since 2004.

And here we are now facing a deep global financial crisis that is going to bring more misery to millions if not billions of people around the globe.

Can you imagine if those minimum capital requirements for banks had been based on the risk of climate change? Without any doubt we could still be immersed in a crisis, though surely not as severe, but our planet would surely have been placed on a more sustainable path.

And so I ask. What are you doing in Washington? Do you not know your way to Basel?