piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
Todd Stern, the Obama administration's chief climate negotiator, said Thursday that he "categorically reject[s]" the suggestion that rich industrial countries owe compensation to the victims of climate change. Stern acknowledged that the emissions of rich nations over the past two hundred years of industrialization had caused global warming, telling a press conference, "We absolutely recognize our historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere." But, Stern added, "the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations--I just categorically reject that."

more at alternet.

responsibility? we don't haz it.

i'm looking at you too, stephen harper.

on 2009-12-14 03:48 (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] graydon
200 years of responsibility? Absolutely not; no one understood what was going on with atmospheric chemistry when James Watt started powering steam engines with coal.

20 years of responsibility? Quite possibly. Five years, unquestionably.

Politically, sorting that out in court or even having people trying to sue for damages would have wildly unhelpful political consequences in the US, and I can see why the Obama administration would want to stave those off. I have a lot less sympathy for the complete lack of pushing for an Energy Independence bill that funds all the infrastructure changes they desperately need to make.

Harper was hired to protect the Alberta tar sands extraction from political interference; he's doing what he's paid for. I'm grumpier with the folks who hired him, and who worked so hard to kneecap Dion, rather than Harper himself, who is at most a hired hand.

on 2009-12-14 17:26 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] dragonwolf
You know, I still don't get people's resistance to making changes with the idea of protecting our very life support system. What does it matter if we are the sole cause of global warming or not? There's very clear evidence that our actions are impacting our environment (and have been for quite some time, and we've known this for quite some time), and at the very least, most people will at least concede that our actions certainly aren't helping the situation (and on a greedy note, at least for the US, our current situation leaves us utterly dependent on several countries who are not only at odds with us, but also in a very volatile situation; for the sake of our own financial independence, if nothing else, we should be working on domestic sources of fuel). Would it not, then, stand to reason that making changes would be a good thing?

And the one comment from the article cracks me up - "but that would require millions of people to pitch in!" And? That's kind of the point of a global situation. Millions of people contributed to the problem, therefore it stands to reason that it would require millions of people to help fix it. Heaven forbid you trade your Hummer in for an Accord (or better yet, an Accord Hybrid).

Okay, enough ranting. My point is, it doesn't matter at this point who is responsible. What matters is that it's going to take all, or at least most, of the industrial world to help fix the issue.

on 2009-12-15 14:11 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] dragonwolf
besides, it's easier to make drastic changes when everybody around you also makes them.

In my experience, that's the funny part. You don't even need to make drastic changes (and for that matter, you don't even need to make the changes with the intent of helping "save the world," if you really want, you can think of it as saving your pocketbook).

For example, you can switch your lightbulbs to the compact fluorescent ones (or, if at all possible, LED). They're a little expensive to start, but cheaper in the long run, both in saved electric bill money and replacement bulb money. Plus, you get a cleaner, whiter light. In the grocery store, use the reusable bags everyone sells. Yeah, you have to pay for them, but you don't have to fill your trash (or your closet) with five million plastic bags. Plus, they hold more, so it's fewer trips between the car and the house. You can even switch to solar or wind energy if you're in a good enough area (which, from what I've heard, for an individual, just about anything works for solar, not sure about wind), again, a little costly up front, but if you generate more electricity than you use, you can sell it to the electric company. So, not only do you save on electric bills, but you can also earn money, thus letting the solar panels pay for themselves in as little as a year or two.

I think many people don't realize that one doesn't need to start living like the Amish or something (ironically, they're quite progressive when it comes to certain technologies, but the catch is that said technologies have to allow them to remain self-sustaining and be sustainable), in order to contribute. Yes, the more changes you make to help, the bigger your impact would be. Unfortunately, an individual can only do so much, so even if you decided to start being completely self-sufficient and do everything in such a way as to produce as minimal waste as possible, there are still far more people than what you can counteract. It requires the efforts of pretty much everyone to have a substantial impact, but like you noted, not many people are doing much, because other people aren't doing much (hence why I talk about the "selfish reasons" for doing things that will ultimately help contribute to the solution; I think if people see reasons that impact their own lives, they'll be more likely to make changes).


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