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Should rich nations help pay for developing countries to address climate change?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
According to an article in the AP today, that's what developing nations are asking for.

Developing countries won't consider the next round of climate change talks successful unless rich nations set aside money to help them address global warming, South African officials said Tuesday.

The officials, who are expected to lead the African bloc at the negotiations, met to discuss strategy ahead of the December climate change talks in Copenhagen.

They said at least 1 percent of global GDP should be set aside by rich nations. That money would help developing countries conduct research, improve flood control, protect their coastlines, create seed banks and take other steps to cope with the severe storms and droughts linked to climate change.

What do you guys think?  In the end, I think we're all in this boat together and if we don't act...well, let's not go there right now.  But I don't know.  1% of global GDP coming from rich nations (who falls in that bucket anyways) you think they'll even consider it?
post #2 of 7
Okay, I have now read that article about 4 times.  I keep coming back to comment, then changing my mind.  I just don't know what to think!  Obviously we (wealthy nations) caused most of the damage, and the developing countries are feeling most of the hurt.  But at that same time, is giving them money going to solve the ultimate problem?

I mean seriously, we can't even get our own citizens to recycle water bottles or make eco-conscious decisions in their daily lives, is our money best spent elsewhere or here trying to make a difference at the source?

I think we have a lot of issues here that need monetary attention, and until we put the money at the solution, it won't make any difference to throw money at the symptoms.

Although I think these countries need help, I think that we should put the most effort in the root of the problem.  So if 1% is going to prepare for climate change, what percent is going to the prevention of climate change getting worse?
post #3 of 7
It's definitely a tough question.  The developing nations have a perfectly valid position here.  We became rich by burning cheap fossil fuels, and they haven't experienced that same benefit to the same degree.  We created most of the mess, so if we expect them to clean up their emissions as much (or close to it) as us, then we should help them do so.

The problem is that 1% of GDP is a lot of money.  And costs rise with quality of life - it's not like we've got tons of money sitting around, we're already in debt.  Especially in the current economic climate.  If we suddenly decide to give 1% of our GDP to developing countries to fight climate change - there goes a bunch of public support for fighting global warming.  People don't like giving money away, even if there's a valid reason for it.

Rather that simply hand a bunch of money over, I'd prefer if we find ways to assist developing countries in putting in place renewable energy and other green infrastructure as they develop.  Give US companies incentive to help them build that infrastructure.  That sort of thing.
post #4 of 7
I feel like the first step should be a change in perspective. The US still sees developing countries as a dumping ground for their contamination. Disposing of old computers and equipment in Asia immediately comes to mind.

Or let's just look at the swine flu outbreak. After tracing it back to a small town in southern Mexico, we really see the effect US factory farming has on those with few resources living in corrupt countries.

Which brings up another point. There would have to be a lot of control over how money is spent. I have no reason to believe that governments such as that of Mexico would really apply that money to addressing climate change.

I do believe that developed nations definitely need to take responsibility for their messes, and that we are all in this together. I just don't know that giving one percent of the GDP is the answer.
post #5 of 7
When working in India I would read in the paper that two Americans were caught importing toxic waste - their names were Patel & Shah for example. Most of the time you will find that a local with an American passport in hand is making the mess. To get through the customs, bribes and all that you almost have to be native. The papers were in denial just due to the way they wrote the headlines. This happens not just once but time after time. 

The reason most countries are 'developing' still is local politics and corruption - this is the fault of the developed world? Nehru traded prosperity for his socialist model and a place at the head of the table at NAM. I personally don't think he cared about his people all that much. Following generations of leaders were much the same.

Bhopal is another example - India recently issued an arrest warrant for Anderson, again. The company paid a fortune to India which the politicians have totally either pissed away or haven't spent as they can't figure out how to steal it. Last I read the 500 million provided for the people affected by Bhopal was still in the bank - all these years later. A hospital for the affected was paid for but most of the funds were stolen so the local government came back asking for more. Virtually none of the funds provided have been used for the purpose they were intended.

Right now the Indian government is refusing to do anything but talk with their handout asking for money.

They have strong environmental laws - but practically zero enforcement. For a few Rupees the inspector is all to happy to look the other way. I know these points to be facts - I was there for many years.

The carbon trading schemes from Europe were quite popular - easy to hack, get the money and do what you were planning on anyway.

Don't give a beggar food and keep him a beggar - give him a means to earn a living and progress.

If you give 10% it will not be enough to make people happy.  
post #6 of 7
Here is an update on the debate and Africa's demands (taken from's facebook page)


Out of all of the regions in the world, Africa stands to lose the most from climate change. Already, droughts, floods, disease and agricultural shortages spurred by the current .6 degrees of warming have taken a serious human toll. For most countries -- many of which have already endorsed the 350ppm target -- climate change is a life or death issue. That's why at a recent African Union summit, leaders and environmental ministers came together to discuss what Africa's "minimum demands" will be out of this December's Copenhagen climate talks. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, eleceted to speak on behalf of the AU outlined the series of demands listed below:

* Developed countries should commit 0.5 per cent of their GDP for climate action in developing countries

* Better climate change adaptation fund from developed countries worth US$67 billion per year by 2020.

* Deployment, diffusion and transfer of technology to developing countries, based on principles of accessibility, affordability, appropriateness and adaptability.

* Rich nations need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 to 95 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

It's clear that what African countries are demanding is nothing short of a bold, just agreement that puts us on the path to an equitable, 350ppm future, and guards against dangerous climate change. It is unclear whether the threat to walk out will put more pressure on developed countries to create a stronger agreement, or whether it will marginalize African delegates as Copenhagen approaches.

Beyond this unequivocal statement from African governments, the rest of the world must hear from African people all over the continent. That's why Bill McKibben is visiting South Africa right now, speaking to civil society and faith leaders, students, government officials and the media, spreading the word about the International Day of Climate Action.

Already, there are events planned in every corner of the continent. Here's what George Bepete, an October 24 Organizer from Zimbabwe, had to say about attending Bill's talk in Johannesburg yesterday:

Dearest Friends,

Bill McKibben was at University of the Witwatersrand today, and he gave a talk entitled The Urgency of Time. He talked of about the need to continue mobilising our comunities for the 24th of October activities. And there was a time for people to share about their planned activities...amazing stories i heard today!

The scientific community supports 350! and there is no other thing as powerful as a movement armed with scientific facts.

Its now our turn to let our leaders at the comunity, national, regional and international levels to know that we are concerned about the state of our mother earth. This we will achieve through our actions on the 24th of October! Lets make our voices heard!

By the way if you haven't every heard of or of International Day of Climate action, you should look it up!
post #7 of 7
Sounds like various dictators, presidents, ministers etc are needing new Mercedes. If some small change is left over they may throw it to the general population.

Nothing wrong with helping out people who need it but zero should go to governments!

It is not the fault of the developed world that almost all of these countries can not get up out of the problems they are buried in. The biggest single thing they all need are a few statesmen and a lot less crooks.

Go to the poorest countries where labor is cheap and people need work - even make work jobs and you will see that they are generally the dirtiest. To many of the leaders (read alomst all) in those countries don't even give a damn - unless they can get their hands on the loot.

Dana's post above was excellent!
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