Good riddance to the Copenhagen talks

While I know this will get environmentalists foaming at the mouth, I’m going to say that had the Copenhagen climate change talks succeeded I would have mourned the loss of our collective gumption. When I say ‘our’, I’m talking about developing nations. The deal, that the developed world wanted signed, was one that imposed cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from developing nations: A notion that I totally disagree with.

While I know this will get environmentalists foaming at the mouth, I’m going to say that had the Copenhagen climate change talks succeeded I would have mourned the loss of our collective gumption. When I say ‘our’, I’m talking about developing nations.

The deal, that the developed world wanted signed, was one that imposed cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from developing nations: A notion that I totally disagree with.

Sure, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the developed nations would avail $100 billion to developing nations to fight the ravages of the change in climatic conditions, but I still don’t think that would have been enough.

First of all, let’s go back and understand what actually is causing anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. Simple; it’s because for many years, the developed nations burnt fossil fuels, and cut down their trees to make way for farmland. What was result of this? Unprecedented economic development and huge strides in standards of living for their populace.

While it might seem selfish right now, I’d much rather let the mean global temperature rise by two degrees Celsius rather than advocate that a developing nation cut down its carbon emissions.

The fact of the matter is that, while global warming ‘might’ cause problems, poverty is certainly causing problems right now.

For the developing nations, and their biased media, to cast China, India, South Africa as irresponsible global citizens is selfish and unnecessary. Let’s look at the situation on the ground. While the press has jumped on the fact that China is becoming the largest emitter of greenhouse gases as a nation, people forget that it has a population of more than a billion people.

If we were to actually look at the per-capita greenhouse emissions of India, China, South Africa, the USA, Great Britain and Germany, statistics would show that the usual suspects were emitting the largest amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

So, before the developing nations are cast as villains in the global warming debate, let’s try to be fair.

Now, the biggest global trend is ‘green energy’; bio-fuel, solar and wind and nuclear energy are touted as the way to go, if we are to believe the green lobby. There is only one problem with all these tantalising options.

They are expensive. While everybody is touting the merits of these technologies, no one is explaining to me how a ‘muturage” in Rusizi will be able to afford either a fuel-cell car or a solar panel roof. Oh, it will come from the $100 billion that the USA will give the developing nations?

I’m sorry if I sound sceptical, but I’ve heard a lot of pledges made by our rich friends, pledges that have fallen of the wayside of history.

I think climate change is inevitable; therefore developing nations must do the one thing that will truly prepare their people for the uncertainties ahead.  We must get rich enough to provide a safety net for our people.

And air conditioning. Because, as we’ve found out time and time again, at the end of the day, it’s every man for himself when the going gets awkward. 

Sunny Ntayombya is an editor with The New Times

sunnyntayombya@newtimes.co.rw

 

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