No Wonder Obama Is Cool To Climate Action

UN/CC BY 2.0

This post is about the potential for a growing divide between the relatively climate-impact-insulated wealthy nations and poorer, more climate impact threatened ones. Statements like the following - these two are cited from a recent opinion piece published in the run-up to the COP-17 climate conference in Durban, South Africa - identify a growing risk of Tragedy of the Commons politics that hinge on a 'you got yours, so I get mine (at your expense)' negotiation approach.

"Climate reparations"

When it is suggested that we must all sacrifice in the fight against climate change there is a slippage into the assumption that we are all equally responsible when that is clearly not the case. We are not all equally responsible and the industrialised North needs to pay climate reparations along with reparations for colonialism and slavery.

You got yours...
Venezuela has a right to use its oil to meet the needs of its people. The rich countries in the North can afford to shift to clean energy and if it is necessary for the global South to follow suit then this must be subsidized by the North...countries in the South cannot allow themselves to be bullied into shifting towards technologies that they cannot afford when the masses of their people remain in poverty.

The doors to US political hell open here.
It's easy to imagine Newt's campaign staff spinning statements like the above to get the attention of poor African American or Latino voters, who obviouslly are anxious about finding a job. Same for a rural voter in the Northeast or Upper Midwest who fears he may not have enough money to pay for heating this winter.

If there is a Gaia, such ideological crap talking will get no traction. The stakes are too high.

Tags: Environmental Policy

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