This map helps you track countries’ promises in combating climate change

climate summit promises


As UN Climate Summit is still going on in New York City this week – this time, for the first time in modern history, with nearly 500,000 New Yorkers participating in a mass rally while ‘unofficially occupying Wall Street’ – world leaders continue discussing strategies and methods to reduce carbon emissions in each of their respective countries. Some still have conflicting agenda with others, politics as usual – but uneager to repeat the previous deadlocks in past summits, like those in Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro, more countries are considering this issue more seriously than ever. United States, as the world’s current superpower, has taken its own initiatives, thanks to President Obama’s visions of ‘a greener America’, despite previous setbacks due to prevailing bipartisan conflicts in regard to this issue. Now, China and India, two of the world’s largest polluters, have also taken their own lead, albeit their leaders are not attending the summit this year. But, most importantly, it is not simply industrialized countries that take the action to solve this problem (Japan exempted), but also SIDS (small island developing states), which are classified ‘the most severely vulnerable’ group to any rise of sea levels, and also several Third World countries, including Ethiopia and a few African countries. The summit will still remain imperfect, each country presenting its own agenda, but this time, with more nation-states of all levels participating in this intense race to reverse the global warming trend, we must appreciate that there is progress, and there is hope, to salvage this planet for the sake of our future generations to come.

Here are just some examples:

1. Ethiopia: the President pledges a zero net emission by 2025.

2. Iceland: the country pledges to be completely carbon-free by 2050 (now the planet is investing huge amount of money in geothermal power and hydroelectric dams)

3. Tuvalu: the entire 10,000-people-strong country’s electricity sources will be 100% clean by 2020

4. Palau: supporting World Bank’s initiative to place ‘price tag’ on each ton of CO2 produced

5. Georgia: has ambition to become a major ‘hydropower giant’, and is working towards a carbon-free economy by 2050

6. Brunei: the country pledges to reduce energy consumption by nearly two-thirds by 2035

7. India: will double the capacity of solar and wind energy by 2020

8. China: is now on progress reducing 45% of its carbon emissions in 2005 level by 2020

9. United States: President Obama pledges more aggressive funding and support to clean technologies for developing countries worldwide

10. Indonesia: is now on track reducing 26% of its carbon emissions by 2020

Nonetheless, pledges will just remain pledges as long as we, the global citizens, do not monitor the efforts made by those governments in making sure those plans succeed. Thanks to both Google and UN Climate Summit organizers, for the first time ever, all these countries’ pledges are already posted on a special section on Google Maps Engine. To track out for more updates, click the link below:


Let’s support this global initiative to leave a friendly planet for our future generations to come.

Inside a Wall Street’s secret society




A journalist sneaked himself into a secret society’s party in one of the most splurge hotels in Wall Street. Guess what he found inside?

Hint: many of the club’s new members, so-called ‘neophytes’, were clothed in leotards, dressed like old ladies, and chanted songs that insulted Occupy Wall Street movement. And the journalist himself nearly got punched by a billionaire.

Read the full article on New York Magazine.




I’d heard whispering about the existence of Kappa Beta Phi, whose members included both incredibly successful financiers (New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead, hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones) and incredibly unsuccessful ones (Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld, Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne, former New Jersey governor and MF Global flameout Jon Corzine). It was a secret fraternity, founded at the beginning of the Great Depression, that functioned as a sort of one-percenter’s Friars Club. Each year, the group’s dinner features comedy skits, musical acts in drag, and off-color jokes, and its group’s privacy mantra is “What happens at the St. Regis stays at the St. Regis.” For eight decades, it worked. No outsider in living memory had witnessed the entire proceedings firsthand.

I wanted to break the streak for several reasons. As part of my research for my book,Young Money, I’d been investigating the lives of young Wall Street bankers – the 22-year-olds toiling at the bottom of the financial sector’s food chain. I knew what made those people tick. But in my career as a financial journalist, one question that proved stubbornly elusive was what happened to Wall Streeters as they climbed the ladder to adulthood. Whenever I’d interviewed CEOs and chairmen at big Wall Street firms, they were always too guarded, too on-message and wrapped in media-relations armor to reveal anything interesting about the psychology of the ultra-wealthy. But if I could somehow see these barons in their natural environment, with their defenses down, I might be able to understand the world my young subjects were stepping into.

So when I learned when and where Kappa Beta Phi’s annual dinner was being held, I knew I needed to try to go.

An uneasy home named Hong Kong

crowded hk.gif

Were it not for its mountainous terrains, Hong Kong would not have been dubbed the world’s most vertical city.

Occupying an infinitesimal carve out of Chinese land, and a few hundred outlying islands, all of which are no larger than 1100 sq km, Hong Kong can only afford to provide to its 7.2 million inhabitants approximately one-fifth of its total areas, given the geographically steep contours, virtually on all its entire spaces. Even the skyline on Big Apple, the first major city on Earth to proudly attest its nature-defying abilities with supertall skyscrapers, is no match to the enormity – and the monstrosity and all its narrow-gauge compactness – of the skyline in Hong Kong. New York City, in a century, has built over 4000 high-rise buildings, mostly in Manhattan; Hong Kong has put up to 8000 in half a centenary, scattered all over Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and New Territories.

Sum it up, in historical sweepstakes, with its integrated 99-year rule by British Empire. Firstly concentrated on manufacturing, the government, realizing the potential impacts China’s open market reforms could impede on its economic growth, created a brand-new experiment to jack up its popularity as a global city: laissez-faire market, mainly on financial and trading sectors, with government intervention almost null-and-void. Thus is the brand-new Hong Kong we recognize today: glitzy skyscrapers, burgeoning elites, vibrant streets and markets, beyond-excellent infrastructure, and highly flexible bureaucracy.

Nevertheless, the environment simulated by the laissez-faire system has also procreated ruthless competition among individuals to achieve paramount success, enforced the people’s appetites to far-reaching extents, and pushed them for more recognition upon their higher social echelons. Driven even further by China’s economic boom, by which numberless mainland Chinese, mostly parvenus, have begun to enter the competition, the contest has been itself increasingly arduous. This is evident, particularly, from one major detail: more and more mainland Chinese are buying up apartments and condominiums, the already-exorbitant prices of which having been marked up by major real-estate developers bulk of the locals, self-dubbed ‘Hongkongers’ can barely afford in their lifetime.

As a consequence, social gap has increasingly exacerbated in the last decade. Despite the fact there are up to 100,000 millionaires and multimillionaires living lavish lives in over-sized condominiums, or to a lesser extent, mansions on mountain peaks, it is also estimated that more than 170,000 people in Hong Kong are struggling to live in cubicle-sized, stacked boxes they call ‘homes’, most of whom are former construction and industrial workers having been displaced due to the city’s dwindling industrial sectors.

In short, the race itself is not going to stop anytime soon.

The New York Times has published an article and a slide show to document the plight of Hong Kong’s poorest, each of whom is struggling to find a better home for oneself.