Saturday, September 19, 2020

Climate Colonialism

 As of 2015, the Unit­ed States bore respon­si­bil­i­ty for 40% of excess glob­al car­bon diox­ide emis­sions,” finds the analy­sis, authored by Jason Hick­el, an eco­nom­ic anthro­pol­o­gist, author and a fel­low of the Roy­al Soci­ety of Arts. The Group of Eight (the Unit­ed States, the Euro­pean Union, Rus­sia, Japan and Cana­da) is respon­si­ble for 85% of such emis­sions. And the Glob­al North (defined as the Unit­ed States, Cana­da, Europe, Israel, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Japan) is respon­si­ble for 92%. 

In con­trast, the Glob­al South — which is by far bear­ing the brunt of cli­mate droughts, floods, famines, storms, sea lev­el rise and deaths — is respon­si­ble for just 8% of excess glob­al car­bon diox­ide emissions.

study released by Oxfam Inter­na­tion­al in 2015 found that the poor­est half of the world’s pop­u­la­tion — rough­ly 3.5 bil­lion peo­ple — are to blame for just 10% of total glob­al emis­sions attrib­uted to indi­vid­ual con­sump­tion,” yet they live over­whelm­ing­ly in the coun­tries most vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate change.” In con­trast, the rich­est 10% of peo­ple in the world are respon­si­ble for rough­ly 50% of glob­al emissions.

2015 paper pub­lished in Sci­en­tif­ic Reports iden­ti­fies free rid­er” and forced rid­er” coun­tries. It explains, “‘Free rid­er’ coun­tries con­tribute dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly to glob­al [green­house gas] emis­sions with only lim­it­ed vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty to the effects of the result­ing cli­mate change, while ​’forced rid­er’ coun­tries are most vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate change but have con­tributed lit­tle to its genesis.”

The fact that the Unit­ed States and Glob­al North bear dis­pro­por­tion­ate respon­si­bil­i­ty for dri­ving the cli­mate cri­sis does not let Chi­na off the hook for cut­ting emis­sions.

Jason Hick­el, an eco­nom­ic anthro­pol­o­gist, explains If Chi­na does not reduce emis­sions, and fast, then we are all doomed.” 

We know that the Glob­al South suf­fers more than 90% of the costs of cli­mate break­down, and 98% of the deaths asso­ci­at­ed with cli­mate break­down, due to fires, floods, droughts, famine, dis­ease, dis­place­ment and so on,” says Hick­el. So, just like under colo­nial­ism, the North is ben­e­fit­ting at the expense of the South.”

The lead­er­ship of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty shows reluc­tance to curb the fos­sil fuel pro­duc­tion dri­ving the cri­sis — and hos­til­i­ty to rad­i­cal solu­tions like the Green New Deal. The Unit­ed States has con­tributed only $1 bil­lion to the UN’s Green Cli­mate Fund, meant to help devel­op­ing coun­tries reduce their green­house gas emis­sions and enhance their abil­i­ty to respond to cli­mate change”

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