THE BLOG
01/25/2016 01:58 pm ET Updated Jan 22, 2017

The smog of war

President Barack Obama, seeking to shape his legacy, said that COP 21 makes the United States, which did not ratify the earlier Kyoto Protocol, "the world leader in fighting climate change."

But Obama will not be around to lead the COP 21 fight, which is not scheduled to start until 2020. By that time another U.S. president will be campaigning for reelection.

Adding drama to the conversation, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry calls climate change "an existential threat... a matter of life and death." Kerry has assured "poor nations who have contributed almost nothing to the problem" (the causes of global warming) "that Washington will not let them weather the storm alone."

A highly decorated former Navy lieutenant who rode out his storm riding Swift Boats in riverine operations in Vietnam, Kerry and his existentialist theory about global warming won't be around to lead the COP 21 fight either. Somebody else will be running the State Department in 2020 when the deal is supposed to take effect.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), an independent organization operating under the aegis of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicates in an article published in The Independent, that the COP-21 deal will require $16.5 trillion in contributions from major powers by 2030 to help parties that have ratified the agreement meet their voluntary goals of dramatically reducing carbon emissions by that time.

Back in 2012 when still at Goldman Sachs, Jim O'Neill, the creator of the BRIC (now BRICS) model, predicted that the combined GDP of eight countries-- China, Russia, India, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, South Korea and Indonesia-- will account for about a third of the world economy by 2020. The G7 countries - Germany, the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, France and Italy - will account for just over 40%." But it is only the major economies who are stuck with the tab.

Here is a list of the world's "Top 20 Most Polluted Cities" courtesy of The World Economic Forum and the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO). .

Delhi, India wins hands down as is the world's most polluted city. It has twice as much pollution as Beijing, the capital of China, which is not even on the list.

India has the distinction of having 13 cities among the "Top 20" list developed by the WHO. .Pakistan has three. Turkey, Qatar, Bangladesh and Iran each have one on the list.

Ironically, western business media has been buzzing up India as the "rockstar" of the Asian economy. heaping praise on prime minister Narendra Modi for free market policies that now have the nation growing faster than China. The pollution problems are rarely discussed in the local business press since they ar a collateral effect of the western model of economic development that was exported to the subcontinent by the British and the United States and adopted by Modi, and others.

What the late astronomer Carl Sagan would have called "trillions and trillions of dollars" that will be soon pouring into the coffers of the UN's COP-21 might be a reminder that karmic notion of "what goes around, comes around."

But there is circumspection about COP-21, even in Moscow. In a recent article Russia Behind The Headlines called the financing for COP-21 "shaky."

An expert writing in the MIT Technology Review argues that the technologies to reduce global warming are based on "shaky" scientific grounds.

James Hansen, the "father of climate change" who is a member of the United States Academy of Science has called COP-21 a "fraud" because it lacks a framework for decisive action.

U.S. secretary of state John Kerry rejected Hansen's criticism, noting that 186 nation have submitted independent plans that will lay the groundwork for new investment in sustainable technologies and generate economic growth. Does COP21 have the makings of a "Green Bubble" that will burst like the subprime mortage market did in 2007, helping trigger a global economic crisis?

Fossil fuels and the petroleum economy aren't going away anytime soon. The wars, extremist conflicts and genocides that are killing and displacing millions won't be going away anytime soon either.

Can you see the road ahead through the smog of war?