Poor nations are fed up with rich nations wreaking all kinds of havoc on our climate. Since they’re the ones suffering the most from it, they say, they should be financially compensated.
The failure of "rich" nations to atone for their guilt will have dire consequences for "poor" nations, the Star-Ledger breathlessly asserts:
Since the Industrial Revolution, wealthy countries have produced the vast majority of the carbon emissions causing upheaval to our climate, joined only recently by China — which just surpassed the United States as the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluter — and India.
Since scientists became aware of the effects of global warming, it’s been clear that poor countries would be the hardest hit because they have the fewest resources to protect themselves against extreme weather events. And unlike a devastating typhoon, some of the worst effects are creeping and quiet. As a result of climate change, yields from rain-fed agriculture could drop by up to half by 2020, the U.N. reports.
As this trend advances, people in poor African countries will starve to death.
There will be increased tension, flaring into wars over the remaining land that is fertile. Outbreaks of malaria are expected. And water will advance on coastal populations.
Leaving aside the unresolved and controversial issue of how much human activity contributes to climate change, I left these comments:
If "rich" Western countries are the big "polluters," why are "poor" countries the big victims of natural disasters? Weather disasters, after all, do not discriminate against developing countries. So why the discrepancy? Precisely because "poor" countries are not "polluters"; i.e., not adequately industrialized.
America and other advanced Western nations have the most prosperous living standards and cleanest, safest [human living] environments in world history. They have plentiful clean water, indoor plumbing, environmentally safe kitchens, clean central heating and air conditioning, advanced transportation systems that can enable mass evacuations in advance of storms, plentiful food production and distribution, and a general ability to recover rapidly from natural disasters and move on—and much more, all primarily because of fossil fuel energy-driven industrialization.
Rather than beg for international welfare at Western taxpayers's expense, the "poor" countries should emulate America and the West. Poor country's governments should pave the way for the same kind of advanced industrialization that will enable them to deal with natural disasters and simultaneously raise living standards, rather than play victims looking for a hand out. How?
Human beings survive and thrive by applying reason-guided productive work to the task of altering the raw environment to human benefit. The only social requirement needed for that to happen is the liberty of individuals to think and act and interact on their own independent judgements. Therefore, poor countries should embrace Western ideals. Adopt a social system where the rights of individuals are recognized and legally protected—including rights to property and trade—so that each can work for his own benefit, in voluntary, mutually beneficial trade with other willing producers at home and the world over. For poor countries, capitalism and the consequent industrialization is the answer to dealing with nature's ever-ongoing brutal, hostile forces.
If they won't adopt liberty and capitalism, then let them have their wars and starvation. It will be their choice, and the continued suffering of the poor countries will be their own doing, not the West's fault.
The only moral responsibility the West owes poor countries is to continue to open up the world's markets so those nations' people can freely engage in trade with producers from America and elsewhere. Forget the Left's latest socialist mantra, "climate justice." We need real justice. America and company should not apologize for the achievements of its freedom and fossil fuel-driven "carbon pollution"—its citizens' earned prosperity—by hampering its own citizens' individual rights and prosperity through involuntarily forcing cut-backs on CO2 emissions. America's leaders have a moral responsibility to proudly defend our political and economic lifestyle and the life-giving fossil fuel industry that powers and enables it.
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