Wealthy Nations Owe 'Climate Debt' to Poor, Greens Say

July 7, 2008 - 8:16 PM

Montreal (CNSNews.com) - Environmental groups attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference have demanded that the U.S. and the other industrialized nations pay a "climate debt" to the poor nations for contributing to catastrophic, human-caused "global warming."

"Let's face it, [the developing countries] are not responsible for the problem and yet they are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change," said Catherine Pearce, international climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth International (FOEI). Pearce spoke with Cybercast News Service at the 11th annual U.N. Climate Change Conference in Montreal.

"It is total over-exploitation by the North[ern Hemisphere] and the North is just using up the natural resources of the world for its own gain and its own benefit," Pearce said. She noted that "people are being thrown off their land (in developing countries) to grow mono-culture plantations" that are used by industrialized countries.

"What Northern countries can be doing is to repay some of [their climate] debt in terms of resources, financing, [and] technology to countries of the South[ern Hemisphere]," she added.

Friends of the Earth International sponsored a panel discussion on "climate justice" at the U.N. conference on Monday.

FOEI demanded that "a fair share of the earth's resources" be shared by all nations and declared, "Everybody has a right to an equal share of the available capacity of the atmosphere."

The U.S. was singled out by FOEI as the one nation that owes the largest "climate debt" to the poorer nations of the world.

"The average American emits seven tons of carbon a day and that's in comparison to much, much lower levels in India," Pearce asserted.

To achieve climate justice, the industrialized nations must make dramatic reductions in their emissions and undertake a "massive rethinking in terms of the financial support that these countries are getting," according to Pearce.

But Chris Horner, senior fellow with the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), ridiculed the notion of "climate debt."

"This movement seeks to impede poor countries from capitalizing on their greatest natural assets and in return locks them into welfare dependency. This is another name and excuse for increasing foreign aid to what are, in large part, failed governments," Horner told Cybercast News Service. CEI takes a skeptical view on the theory of human caused catastrophic climate change.

Spending time and resources worrying about "climate justice" takes away from "addressing the real reasons for [developing nations'] poverty, including corrupt governments that provide inadequate respect for property rights and the need for a transparent judiciary," Horner said.

"Pretty soon, we're going to run out of new names for wealth redistribution, and maybe even new rationales," he added.

See Related Articles:
Climatologist Rejects 'Global Warming' as Cause for Island Evacuation (Dec. 7, 2005)
Men Warm Globe, Women Feel the Heat, Group Claims (Dec. 6, 2005)
Kyoto Protocol Declared 'Dead' at UN Climate Conference (Dec. 6, 2005)
US Called 'Only Real Problem' at UN Climate Conference (Dec. 3, 2005)

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