Thursday, 30 October 2008

So, what would you do with the $4 trillion that has been committed to rescue the global economy?

Would you provide safe water and sanitation to the 2.5 billion people in the world without it at a cost of only £37.5bn, around the amount (£37bn) given by UK government to RBS, HBOS and Lloyds TSB banks? That amount would hardly be noticed!

Would you feed the starving? As Jacques Diouf, head of the UN's food and agriculture organisation, said it would cost a mere $30bn a year to avert all future threats of conflicts over food. "How can we explain to people of good sense and good faith that it was not possible to find US$30bn a year to enable 862 million hungry people to enjoy the most fundamental of human rights: the right to food and thus the right to life?" How indeed...

Would you spend some on Ecosystems and biodiversity? A study on the costs and benefits of investing in the wealth of nature has provisionally found that most of the world's forests, mountains, rivers and seas could be protected for only about $45bn annually. A cheap investment surely?

Would you, if you are in the UK, invest in plans to generate 36% of all electricity from renewable sources by 2020 an amount roughly costed by the Treasury at $100bn, over 12 years?

If you are in the US would you spend $4.4tr, (yes I know it's all the money, but it is spread over 30, yes 30 years) to replace all the US's coal and oil-fired electricity generation by renewable electricity, reduce the world's carbon emissions by nearly 20% and provide hundreds of thousands of jobs?

How about protecting the world's most important ecosystems? It is estimated this would cost $1.3tr, but again spread over 30 years. For this sum, nearly 15% of land and 30% of the oceans would be protected from illegal logging, overfishing, pollution and would go most of the way to protecting the most endangered animals.

Or would you give it ALL to the financial systems that failed us???


Margaret's Ramblings said...

What would I do? Peter the question is too big for me. I just can't visualise the figures they talk of. When they give all this money to try and right the wrongs the financial markets have made I get cross. But £4 trillion, I didn't know there was that much money in the world. If I had control I would feed the world then educate them all. For what is a full belly worth if you don't have the know how to fill it again tomorrow. How I wish I was wise enough to help the world becme a better place.

Rowena from Forest Row said...

Thank you for an excellent and very illustrative post - puts these intangibly large sums and what could be done with them right into perspective. The question for me is why don't we do more of the more basic things - where is the global political will and why is is so distracted? The clean water and sanitation one always seems like such a no brainer - ah, if I ruled the world!