Gates Foundation strategy raises key question:

– I know a young lady who works at the Gates Foundation and who is the daughter of a friend of mine.  I’ve posed pretty much the same question to her as this excerpt from an article over on the Climate Progress Blog poses.

– The essence of the question is:

“Isn’t helping people in the third-world to have a happy and productive life kind of like arranging the deck furniture on the Titanic?  Given that Global Climate change will ultimately undo and destroy whatever brief good you do?”

– I Applaud their idealism but I decry where they choose to put their efforts at improving the world.

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Can the problems of the developing world be solved by ignoring global warming?

Salon has published my article on the biggest flaw in the strategy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I’m going to expand on that article in a two-parter here.

The timing could not be better with the Tom Friedman “Ponzi scheme” discussion. For while the the richest foundation in the world certainly has taken on the noblest and greatest of challenges — to help billions of people who “never even have the chance to live a healthy, productive life” reach that opportunity themselves — its efforts are ultimately doomed to fail if we don’t stop catastrophic warming.

Also, the two men who have donated much of their vast wealth to make it possible, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, are Exhibits One and Two of the “very serious people who are perceived as essentially nonpartisan opinion leaders” who must speak out on climate change if we are to avert the worst (see “Is 450 ppm (or less) politically possible? Part 7: The harsh lessons of the financial bailout “).

Yet when we saw them together last summer, they were touring the Ponzi Canadian tar sands, as The Calgary Herald reported (see here):

A source said Gates and Buffett, who in recent months said he favours investing in the Canadian oil sands because it offers a secure supply of oil for the United States, visited the booming hub to satisfy “their own curiosity” but also “with investment in mind.

The tar sands are an environmental abomination that require huge amounts of natural gas to produce fuel with far higher life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than oil. They have rightly been called by Greenpeace the “biggest global warming crime ever seen.” The Catholic bishop whose diocese extends over the tar sands posted a scathing pastoral letter in January that challenges the “moral legitimacy” of tar sands production.



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