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Principles To Reverse Global Warming & End Poverty

Pacific Ecologist, issue 13, summer 06/07.

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Pacific Ecologist Editorial

Principles To Reverse Global Warming And End Poverty


What will bring unity to the world community so we can stem conflict and the alarming growth in twin problems, global warming and global inequity? Global warming emissions continue to rise steeply. If this trend is not reversed soon, temperatures will reach a dangerous level as early as 2035, the Stern report noted in October 2006, p.10-14. This report is particularly sobering as it was prepared by a group of eminent mainstream economists.

Unchecked greenhouse gases will lock us into terrible consequences, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and ultimately sea levels rising 25 metres higher than they are today, destroying the lives of hundreds of millions of people, p. 9. Even before the end of the century, small island nations, including many of our Pacific neighbours will have been submerged with a one-to three meter rise seeing to this, p. 9 & 15.

Global warming and global inequity are linked, as global warming exacerbates poverty. Even now it is far more devastating globally than terrorism, which currently distracts western powers, the Oxford Research group finds, p. 4/7. As Mikhail Gorbachev, Green Cross International chair, said in Brisbane in July 2006, “Trillions are spent on weapons of war. Less than half that money would be enough to address many of the problems of the third world in just a few years,” p. 46. Inequity is growing, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, p.8, already badly hit by global warming, yet funds can’t be found to meet even agreed limited targets to help developing countries adapt, p.16/17. And as the Stern report noted, global warming is the historic responsibility of a few rich countries who “since 1850 have produced 70% of all carbon dioxide emissions due to energy production.”

Justice, equity and compassion are core principles treasured by all civilised nations. We must uphold them if we are to restore our conflict-ridden global society. By applying the equity principle, enshrined in the UN Charter and the U.S. Declaration of Independence, as Aubrey Meyer reminds us, p.18-20, we could avoid the vortex of rising global warming calamities, and increasing inequity. Additionally, it would stop conflict now threatening the ultimate violence, nuclear war, p54/57. Meyer’s action plan is a globally inclusive, transparent framework, fair and equitable to all nations. “Averting climate change actually means ending global apartheid,” he says. Under the plan everyone gets a fair share of emission entitlements, with the total capped at a sustainable level and moderated by convergence to the global average of equal shares per capita over 20 to 30 years to ease the transition. Shares created this way allow poor countries to finance their defence against climate change and for clean energy by trading their unused emissions rights with rich countries.

It’s vital a plan of this type is implemented soon. The sooner an agreement to converge to equality is set, the better prospect we have for a healthy, sustainable planet, where the goal of world poverty reduction has a chance of succeeding.

– Kay Weir.

Pacific Ecologist, issue 13, summer 06/07.

Issue 13, Pacific Ecologist -available for $10 - PO Box 12125, Wellington, New Zealand. Pirmeditor @ paradise.net.nz

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