Sunday, December 9, 2012

The UN and Country Membership Dues

In my last blog I put forward the idea of making countries pay UN membership dues in direct proportion to their previous year’s CO2 emissions.  On this basis China will pay for 28% of the operating costs of the UN.  The US will pay 16% and France will pay only 1%.  The French have a significant amount of nuclear power and their CO2 emissions per person are well below those of Saudi Arabia.  In fact the gross amount of CO2 emissions from France is approximately 25% less than the gross amount of CO2 emissions of Saudi Arabia. 

Several years back, I actually had suggested this idea to Jonathan Lash who then headed the World Resources Institute.  But now the idea really has merit with China emitting so much CO2 and having so much foreign currency reserves.  The Chinese can then thumb their noses at the US that they pay almost twice as much to keep UNESCO and other UN organizations afloat.  The Saudis can claim they play a more important role than France in the world body.  This is actually already a fact so we may as well make them put their money where their mouth is.  The US can claim it needs the reduction in UN dues due to our fiscal cliff and I am sure members on both sides of the isle can agree that the US simply gives the UN too much money.

The country of Niue only emits 4,000 metric tons of CO2 a year so they would be allowed into the UN for free.  But Niue does not conduct any foreign affairs, this is done for them by New Zealand so free membership to the UN for Niue would kind of like being a caddy at a posh country club.  Niue has Wi Fi for free over the entire island and my guess is most of the emissions come from the diesel generators to keep the lights and the Wi Fi on in the small island state that only has 1,400 people living on 100 square miles. 

I think Al Gore should focus on Niue and could make it the first zero carbon emissions country in the whole world.  He could have all the Niuens over 16 years old drive Fiskers and power their electricity supply with diesel and gasoline made from sugar using technology from his other company Amyris.  For good measure he could collect all the manure and food waste on the island and bio-digest these items to make methane that then could be used in his Bloom Box to generate electricity.  The total cost of the endeavor will be about $200 million and the money can come from the added dues the Chinese pay to the UN for their membership.  Al can then fly to Niue in his private jet and declare victory that in one place on earth he had people who really listened to him.

I think if we solve the emissions problems of Niue we can then start working on how China can reduce its emissions.  Yes China will be constructing 800 new coal fired power stations in the next decade and they soon will emit over 30% of world carbon emissions, but don’t worry they sell solar PV cells to the rest of the world at below real production cost and they really care about the collective common good of mankind by the gift of these cheap solar cells.    Dr. Steven Chu will visit Niue and give a keynote lecture on why he still believes CIGS (copper indium gallium diselinide) is a far better chemistry than Silicon for PV cells and that he would have preferred that the Niuens drive pure electric cars like the Tesla rather than the gasoline electric combination of the Fisker.   As the Niuens don’t conduct their own foreign policy the islanders will simply stay on the beach and not attend the Gore and Chu lectures and they will let the Kiwis do this for them. 

Ban Ki Moon will send an email to all the people of Niue on their free high speed Wi Fi that unfortunately he could not attend the event as he now has some real money to spend with China’s increased contribution to the UN and that he has finally convinced Bashar al Assad to use the chemistry he learned in medical school for making Aspirin rather than Sarin.  Ban Ki well also tell them he was enjoying the serendipitous event of new found money for the UN.  And that Bashar was happy to hear that he would not be punished by the world body for misspelling serenade as sarin aid and he simply meant to sooth and calm his people.
Peace The Green Machine