Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Steve, Are You Listening? Tom? Justin?
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has said it about as succinctly as possible:
"The climate change phenomenon has been caused by the industrialisation of the developed world. It's only fair and reasonable that the developed world should bear most of the responsibility."
That's right, the developed world, our team. It's on us. Not entirely, of course, but predominantly and certainly enough that we have to "bear most of the responsibility" for what our affluence has caused to the poorest and most vulnerable peoples on Earth.
A critical part of that responsibility must be to do everything we can to stop making the impacts we're inflicting on the poorest and most vulnerable any worse than necessary. They're already getting hammered and they're going to get hammered harder. We've already ensured that future for them. But we can see to it that what's coming their way is far worse yet.
We can ensure they endure unbearable weather conditions. We can ensure they're stripped of food security. We can ensure that they don't have water. We can damned well make sure they have to raid their neighbours to stay alive and be raided themselves for what little they have. We can make their lives true Hell on Earth. And all we have to do to see this happen is just keep going along as we are. We can make this happen, all the sooner and all the worse, by continuing to exploit, rapaciously, high-carbon energy reserves such as coal and bitumen.
Canadians once strove to be a force for good in the world. We were justly proud of what we did to help bring peace, security and relief in distant corners of our world. Yet all the good we have done is now to be eclipsed by all the harm we spread to pocket a few alms from fossil fuelers.