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Articles by James Dailey

James was originally an environmentalist because he grew up near the edge of the forest in the disappearing rural environs of Redmond, WA. He organized college student groups and became fired up about the twin issues of his generation - biodiversity and global warming. He works extensively in least developed nations in Microfinance, information technology, public health, and clean energy.

Featured Article

Over the past several days, I’ve monitored reports of Sidr, a Tropical Cyclone churning its way up the Bay of Bengal. The forecasting models are based almost entirely on satellite imagery, and earlier in the week the computer models were telling forecasters it would weaken as it headed north. It hasn’t:

THE CURRENT FORECAST CALLS FOR A LESS-PRONOUNCED WEAKENING PRIOR TO LANDFALL THAN THE PREVIOUS FORECAST DUE TO THIS ENHANCED UPPER LEVEL OUTFLOW. THE TRACK REASONING HAS NOT CHANGED SINCE THE LAST FORECAST. THE STORM IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TRACKING NORTHWARD UNTIL MAKING LANDFALL IN WESTERN BANGLADESH…

Word from news reports and business colleagues in Bangladesh is that the response has been a bit delayed, but is now in full swing. The problem is that they have literally millions of people to evacuate from low-lying land over inadequate infrastructure. While Bangladesh is no stranger to cyclones, I believe we are seeing the impacts of climate change — and so too do the people of Bangladesh.

A gathering in the Capital earlier this week focused on raising the profile of efforts to adapt to climate impacts. Already, says t... Read more

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  • Climate change mitigation is related to building democracy and decreasing poverty

    While the climate change "issue" is covered frequently in the press and is implicitly or explicitly part of the U.S. presidential campaign, for developing countries it is just one of many pressing issues. For the man on the street, at least in many of the countries I visit, climate change is important but not urgent.

    The same could be said of many other issues, of course, but what distinguishes climate change is that it is perceived as "an act of God" on which individual actions have only minimal impact. Unless it is linked to issues of social justice, energy security, economic growth, and the aspirations of a growing middle class in developing countries, support for action on climate change will remain pegged to the fortunes and attention of environmental liberals in the developed North.

    While on a recent trip to Pakistan, shortly after the Nobel Committee's Peace Prize announcement, I asked several people, "What do you think of Al Gore and the climate change issue winning the Nobel Peace Prize?" or alternatively, "What do you think climate change means for you and Pakistan?" Even to me these questions seemed ridiculous given what's going on in Pakistan -- especially the events of the past week, whenpa a U.S.-sponsored general showed what kind of friend he is to democracy. Answers ranged widely, from a sophisticated intellectual who had attended a viewing of Al Gore's film as part of a film discussion club, to people who had heard of Clinton but not Al Gore, to a few who said they had never heard of climate change.

    I looked in vain for any mention of climate change in the opinion pages of local newspapers, and while there was vibrant debate over important international issues (e.g., the nature of democracy, government ineptitude, pollution, poverty, the U.S. playing kingmaker, and energy shortages), there was nothing on climate policy. (Aside, that is, from glowing mention in a few blogs of the fact that one Pakistani national, Professor Adil Najam at Tufts University in the U.S., is a member of the IPCC and thus partial recipient of the Nobel Prize -- read his blog here.)

  • What a nice idea

    Gandhi.

    If Gandhi were around today, I think he would be less reasonable and tractable about the climate crisis; instead, he would challenge the moral integrity of so-called western civilization. The galvanizing march to the salt flats (the famous "Salt March") would be a tour of threatened island nations: Inuit seeking redress for loss of habitat, mountain people facing bewildering change, deluges in Bangladesh, landslides in the Philippines, and masses of people in the Indus-Ganges-Yangtze river basins facing an uncertain future over water supplies. It would be a march to bear witness to the moral wrongness that pervades the fossil-fuel civilization. It would not, my fellow environmentalists, be the image of a stranded polar bear, regardless of how signatory a phenomena.