Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Climate Debt & Copenhagen

The growing divide between the rich nations and those of the developing world over climate change erupted into full view this week, as poor nations staged a walkout at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. Citing the failure of rich nations to agree to a committment to continuing the Kyoto Protocols, the bloc of mostly African nations dubbed the G-77, staged a walkout, throwing the conference into chaos.

But in reality, the rift over Kyoto is only a symbol of a much larger issue. Poor nations, who stand to be the most affected by climate change, understand quite well that they are being punished by a global crisis they did not create. And they are standing up defiantly to the industrialized nations, who share the overwhelming responsibility for the dumping of pollutants into the atmosphere, to not only do more to curb their greenhouse gas emissions and reduce their gigantic carbon footprint, but to shoulder the financial burden that the poor nations now face in trying to react to climate change. Unlike the industrialized world, where denying man-made climate is a luxury, in many poor nations the all-too real effects are already being felt--threatening to bring famines to some, and to drown others in rising sea-levels. This "climate debt" has pushed itself to the front of the Copenhagen talks, as the smaller poorer denizens of the world now take their larger industrialized neighbors to task.

On Nov. 23rd award-winning journalist Naomi Klein sat down with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! to discuss the climate debt, and the growing call by many poor nations for reparations.


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