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Carbon shakedown

GB Geo-Blog

Carbon shakedown

Copenhagen appears to have two objectives: an agreement, binding only on the developed countries, to reduce carbon emissions; and a shakedown of these same countries.

Margaret Wente emphasized this latter objective in her Globe and Mail column yesterday: “for poorer countries, environmental groups and other activists, the purpose is quite different. It’s to extract huge sums of money from the capitalist West…Developing countries say they’re owed massive amounts of money as compensation for the climate crisis. After all, it’s the First World that created it”.

The European Union says such a fund, which might start at $10 billion per year, should grow to $150 billion by 2020. China claims it should be $400 billion, but then, China will contribute nothing to this fund.

Didn’t Saudi Arabia ask for reparations in case an agreement actually leads to lower demand and prices for oil? Who is next? Maybe the poppy and coca growers will be next in line, for surely global warming must reducing their yields.

Naomi Klein argues that the U.S. owes the world’s poor for “200 years of over emissions”. Rubbish!!!

Congratulations to President Obama for making it clear that the U.S. has no intention of paying anyone reparations.  Of course, Congress would never have gone along with such payments. Unfortunately, Obama is willing to contribute to a $10 billion per year “guilt” fund to help poor countries.

Neither blackmail nor guilt make a good basis for policy.

The left is arguing that the West has been too successful economically, and as such, it has to atone for improving the lot of its people by transferring enormous wealth to those countries that have failed to do the same. The West succeeded, while many other countries failed, a the West is responsible.

Before the West resorted to its avaricious and imperialistic ways, who was responsible for the poverty and lack of progress in much of the world? Perhaps, the “visionary” leaders of these countries saw the future consequences of growth and prosperity on the environment, and thus chose to keep their people poor. They obviously did not see anything wrong with enriching themselves in the meantime.

What really prevented them from prospering? It could not have been the West. What prevented them from moving up the growth path after the Western imperialists showed up? Many countries in southeast Asia have been able to turn themselves around.

It is always easy to blame others for your own faults and misfortunes. Whatever happened to responsibility and accountability? Tyrants and their left-wing sycophants can’t handle the truth. Rather, they need scapegoats, and so the West is to blame for all the world’s problems.

Does anyone really believe that throwing money at the poor countries will do anything to help their people? The $10 billion guilt money is intended to go towards training, planning and getting a fix on needs. Looks like the NGOs, consultants and other UN hangers-on will be the main beneficiaries, and of course, some of the money will slip into the hands and offshore bank accounts of the despots running these countries.

Let me quote from the song “The money keeps rolling in (and out)” from Evita – a mid 20th century visionary in her own right:

“And the money keep rolling out in all directions

To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions

Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray

But that’s not the point my friends…

When the money keeps rolling out you don’t keep books

You can tell you’ve done well by the happy grateful looks

Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way.”

The opinions expressed in this blog are strictly personal and do not reflect the views of Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs



  1. Jennifer Lancey December 10, 2009

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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