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Nothing without providence

26 May 2005
Climate change is classic challenge for good old American can do, says Tim Wirth today on openDemocracy:

"A nation-state that can seize the opportunities of an energy policy that addresses global climate change will create a double benefit: it will enhance its own national security and it will afford the world’s poorest people a chance to participate in the modern global economy. As an American, this is what I would like to see the United States do".

Tim Wirth, who is co-chairman of the Energy Future Coalition and president of the United Nations Foundation, has five key recommendations:

* develop cost-effective, clean alternatives to gasoline;

* modernise the electric power grid

* modernise the US auto industry

* modernise the coal industry

* expand renewable energy resources

(full text here)

Fine in theory (athough what about energy efficiency?); but how does one turn all this into practical politics?

Wirth's appeal to (the enlightened side of) American nationalism, for one thing, may be astute. At a more nuts and bolts level, his UN Foundation have been supporters of the Institutional Investors Summit on Climate Change (see earlier post here).

(By the way, Tim Wirth is a former US Senator for Colarado, for which the state motto is "nothing without providence". A dictionary defines providence as "care or preparation in advance; foresight; prudent management; economy". That does sound like a good place to start).

Caspar Henderson

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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