Year 3, Month 12, Day 14: Because The Sky Is Blue, It Makes Me Cry

Sigh. Another year, another botched opportunity:

DOHA, Qatar — The United Nations climate conference here has settled into its typical doldrums, with most major questions unresolved as a Friday evening deadline for concluding the talks approaches. One of the thorniest issues is money, which has often bedeviled these affairs.

Since the process for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change began about 20 years ago, countries have been split into two often-warring camps: the small number of wealthy nations that provide money to help deal with the effects of global warming, and the much larger group of poorer states that receive it.

At a climate summit meeting in Copenhagen three years ago, the industrialized countries promised to secure $10 billion a year in funds for adapting to climate change over the following three years and $100 billion a year beginning in 2020. The short-term money has more or less been raised and spent, although some nations have quarreled over whether it was new money or simply repurposed foreign aid. A Green Climate Fund has been established to handle the money after 2020.

Just shoot me. Sent December 8:

It’s not just that wealthy nations “provide money” to poorer nations facing the devastation of runaway climate change, as John Broder suggests in his second paragraph. Those wealthy countries are the ones which “provided” massive greenhouse emissions in the first place. The carbon footprints of Bangladesh and Kiribati are mere statistical noise compared with the output of the developed nations — an effluvium of climate forcers well on its way to overwhelming our planet’s natural equilibrium.

It should be incumbent on societies which have prospered from the uncontrolled consumption of fossil fuels to behave ethically toward those whose gains aren’t correlated with conspicuous consumption. Since wealthy countries have already redistributed their CO2 into the atmosphere, where it affects everyone on the planet equally, a failure to similarly redistribute economic power is both environmentally and morally irresponsible. It’s time for the developed world to take responsibility for the mess it’s made.

Warren Senders

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