Our oceans have been the victims of a giant Ponzi scheme, waged with Bernie Madoff–like callousness by the world’s fisheries. Beginning in the 1950s, as their operations became increasingly industrialized--with onboard refrigeration, acoustic fish-finders, and, later, GPS--they first depleted stocks of cod, hake, flounder, sole, and halibut in the Northern Hemisphere.
Defense secretary Robert Gates has been given the assignment of placating the anxious with "severe" new sanctions on Iran. So we are told inferentially in an article by Brian Knowlton in Sunday's New York Times.
Here's the most contrarian thing you'll read all day: Chris Packham, a BBC wildlife expert, suggests that giant pandas should be allowed to shuffle off their adorable mortal coil and go extinct. Seriously. After all, he argues, we're spending millions of dollars trying to persuade them to breed in captivity, but the stark reality is that pandas aren't a hardy species—they've "gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac"—and perhaps those millions would be better spent on other, less futile, conservation projects. Well, that's wretched, although there are maybe a few grains of validity here.
There's been a lot of climate-related gabbing at the U.N. today, and Neil MacFarquhar has a handy rundown in the Times. One of the few dribbles of quasi-news, it seems, was that Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to curb the growth of China's carbon-dioxide emissions by a "notable margin" by 2020. (His speech is here.) What, pray tell, would that entail? Sadly, Hu didn't fire up a PowerPoint presentation—no exploded pie charts, no hard numbers—and he didn't even say if those "notable" targets would be legally binding.
According to the WSJ this morning (top of p.A1), the U.S. is pushing hard for the G20 to adopt and implement a “Framework for Sustainable and Balanced Growth,” which would amount to the U.S.
As Noam explains in his piece about the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED), Beijing has been rooting for major alterations to the U.S. health care system—especially ones that reduce long-term pressure on the federal budget.
It’s now widely believed that the global recession is coming to an end, but the path out has been far from typical: This time around, China, not the U.S. has led the global recovery. With its $600 billion stimulus package and with banks lending with abandon, China has become the engine of global manufacturing and industrial activity.
The good news is that the Chinese have decided to try to resolve the dispute between our two countries over their tire exports at the World Trade Organization, meaning "the disagreement may be containable," as the Journal puts it today.