Global (warming) a go-go

One subject above all dominated the world’s headlines these last weeks: global warming. First, we had the United Nations session on climate change with 70 heads of state (but no George W. Bush) concluding that its time to replace the Kyoto treaty, which expires in 2012, with a new agreement that sets mandatory carbon-emissions targets.

A next round of headlines came when Bush assembled leaders of the big carbon-emitting countries to push his idea that the global-warming fix could work on a volunteer, country-by-country basis. (For some reason, nobody in politics or the media seemed to take this too seriously.)

Further into the week, word hit that a coalition of eight utilities, serving a whopping 20 million Americans in 22 states across the country, had decided collectively to adopt a new emphasis on energy efficiency. When traditional utilities, such as Duke Energy and Consolidated Edison, start committing to renewable energy sources, that’s a big deal. (This wasn’t big news in Sacramento since SMUD has long been in the forefront on this score.)

Last but not least, we had an encouraging revelation that didn’t come from the diplomats, politicians or engineers. It came instead from the national insurance industry, which seems to have finally figured out that it is in danger of sustaining huge, ever-increasing losses due to global-warming-caused natural disasters.

Here’s to more such headlines.