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Barb wire separates the outside world from government negotiators at the Johannesburg Earth Summit.

Governments

There is a fundamental irony and injustice at the heart of the climate change problem. Today's growing body of evidence indicates very clearly that the first and worst impacts of climate change are felt by the poor in the developing world. The responsibility for the problem, however, lies primarily with the rich industrialised nations, and increasingly the rapidly industrialising nations.

Since all countries are potentially affected by and contribute toclimate change, they should all be involved in the solution. Countieswithout a mature and entrenched energy structure stand to gain by"leapfrogging" to modern energy sources like solar and wind. However,for both practical and moral reasons, it is the industrialised worldthat must take the initiative:

  • Industrialised nations are responsible for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions - both today and historically. In the past, economic progress was linked directly to carbon dioxide emissions (via the burning of oil, coal and gas to generate energy). Renewable energy sources change this, but only a small number of nations have begun to implement them in earnest.
  • Two billion people - one third of the world's population - have no access to electricity for basic needs such as lighting or cooking. Getting people the clean and reliable energy necessary for essential needs such as clean water, health care facilities, heating and lighting is one of the most pressing problems facing humanity today.
  • Industrialised nations have the capital, resources and expertise to jump-start their renewable energy industries. Obviously, countries with advanced space programs, established higher educational systems and abundant cash for investment are better positioned to implement these new energy technologies then countries still struggling with basic energy needs.

Perhaps part of the problem, though, isthat industrialised nations are also better positioned to adapt toclimate change. Their populations can migrate more easily, newconstruction (of sea walls, etc.) is more feasible and their financialstructures are more stable (including availability of insurance). Oneneeds only think about the different level of response to a naturaldisaster, such as a hurricane, in a rich industrialised nation comparedto a less wealthy developing one to realise how climate change willlikely impact people around the world disproportionately.

However,the industrialised nations must also realize that there will be a point(perhaps already reached) beyond which adaptation alone is no longerthe cost effective choice, and beyond that a point where simplyadapting to climate change is no longer possible.

Fundamentally, we have one Earth, and only one global climate.

More information:

Climate Analysis Indicators Tool by World Resources Institute

Climate Justice

The latest updates

 

From typhoon hit Philippines, a call for climate justice

Blog entry by Aaron Gray-Block | 11 December, 2014

Smashed houses, fallen trees and streets littered with debris greeted us when Greenpeace arrived in Dolores, Eastern Samar, on Tuesday after Typhoon Hagupit made a direct hit on the seaside town. Much of the region's crops had been...

Nature does not negotiate: climate catastrophe is with us now!

Blog entry by Kumi Naidoo | 7 December, 2014 21 comments

As Typhoon Hagupit hits the Philippines, one of the biggest peacetime evacuations in history has been launched to prevent a repeat of the massive loss of life which devastated communities when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the same area...

A rainbow from Machu Picchu to Düsseldorf

Blog entry by Sven Teske | 1 December, 2014 1 comment

Peru! What comes to mind when you think of Peru? Right! The mysterious Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, which attract and inspire so many people from around the world, and still have scientists puzzling over their origin. Last night,...

Government spying undermines climate action

Blog entry by Andrew Kerr | 27 November, 2014 1 comment

Unless you’ve been living in a hole in the ground or in a galaxy far, far away you won’t have missed media revelations about government security services snooping on our every communication. Personal phone calls and e-mails are...

Social PreCOP – More than just a document at stake

Blog entry by Mauro Fernandez | 13 November, 2014

The Social PreCOP held in Venezuela left civil society, governments and the delegation of the hosting country with mixed feelings. Can I accept the outcome as is? The answer is 'no'. After a long fight to establish an official...

From the North Pole to the United Nations - gaining ground in protecting the Arctic

Blog entry by Josefina Skerk | 19 September, 2014 4 comments

I'm trembling with excitement. Together with a small delegation I just handed over a message to one of the world's top political figures. And it’s all because of you. I don't usually hang out in New York City, rubbing shoulders with...

Japanese regulator caves to the nuclear industry and government pressure – but still...

Blog entry by Kendra Ulrich | 10 September, 2014 4 comments

As with all things nuclear, things are not always what they seem. Good example - today's decision on the so called restarting of the Sendai reactors by the Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), the best nuclear regulator in...

Arrest of forest rights activists symbolic of what's wrong in India

Blog entry by Aaron Gray-Block | 31 July, 2014 1 comment

It was just past midnight when Indian police hauled two Greenpeace India activists out of their sleep and arrested them this week as a crackdown on protests against a planned coal mine in the Mahan forest intensified. The arrests...

Political Forums of the "Highest Level"

Blog entry by Daniel Mittler | 9 July, 2014 1 comment

You may have heard about a new roadmap to prevent climate catastrophe that was launched at the United Nations yesterday. After the launch, Jeffrey Sachs , one of the people behind the report, came into the " High Level Segment of...

Who pays the bill for climate denialism?

Blog entry by Leanne Minshull | 28 May, 2014 3 comments

Greenpeace International, along with WWF International and the Centre for International Environmental Law, sent letters to major insurance firms and 35 fossil fuel and other carbon major companies today, asking whether they believed...

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