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Old January 11, 2008, 03:53 PM
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shaad shaad is offline
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Join Date: February 5, 2004
Location: Bethesda, MD, USA
Posts: 3,427

A few minor points, Niceman. Note that I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, simply clarifying my own views.

As I said, I thought Hasan's article was well-written. However, I think if one is going to write about the potential increase in sea-levels around Bangladesh, then it behooves one to try to consider the issue from as many perspectives as possible. Hasan's article could easily have left readers with the notion that some people are being alarmist about global warming, and that it is no big deal, at least as far as Bangladesh is concerned. Given that other, more dangerous possibilities (i.e. other than the gradual 1mm/year relative rise) exist, I think not exploring those possibilities or not at least raising them in an article, is being either careless or disingenuous.

Second, we Bangladeshis are not the ones making a fuss about about Bangladesh "drowning". That's simply a point used to illustrate the effect of rising sea-levels in models and Powerpoint presentations by climatologists and Al Gore; other examples of low-lying coastal regions are also used, e.g. the Netherlands and Florida. That said, if the water levels do rise to dangerous levels because of global warming, global warming which was primarily caused by pollution from the industrialized West (and currently also China -- our own footprint is miniscule), then I think it's perfectly valid for us to hold those nations culpable. That's not asking for sympathy; that's pointing to the entities that are to blame.

Now as far as investing in our economy is concerned, I happen to think that most US companies are short-sighted enough to go for short-term profits. In general, and despite the example of your relative that you cite, it hasn't been a fear of sea-levels rising that has prevented corporations from investing in Bangladesh -- it was the hartals, the corruption, the mismanagement and the lack of accountability. Note that we didn't see much foreign investment in Bangladesh in the 70s and 80s, long before global warming became an issue of concern. Note also that despite knowledge of global warming and potential rise in sea-levels, Goldman Sachs didn't have a problem including us in the Next Eleven, a short list of eleven countries considered promising outlooks for investment and future growth.

Again, I'm not saying we shouldn't be positive. But becoming a strong economic nation or attracting investment requires foresight, planning, organization, management and marketing skills, attributes that were woefully lacking in a number of our previous administrations (well, maybe not marketing skills, but they were primarily marketing themselves to the voters). Develop those, and the the foreign exchange and investment will come; blaming artifical strawmen who allegedly complain about global warming won't help one way or another.

And finally, risk assesment and having strategies in place to counter those risks if they turn out to be true, are both, in my opinion, aspects of being positive (in cricket and in real life).
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