Naomi Klein: Why Rich Countries Should Pay Reparations To Poor Countries For The Climate Crisis
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The main push, as I said, is actually coming from Bolivia. And Bolivia has an extraordinary climate negotiator, who I quote in the Rolling Stone piece, named Angelica Navarro, who I first met in Geneva. She was actually Bolivia’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization. She’s very clear, very tough, multilingual. It takes a lot of strength to stand up to the sort of pressure that a small country like Bolivia faces, whether at the World Trade Organization or now in the climate negotiations. And Angelica Navarro is really up to the task and she has been giving these really inspiring speeches, at summits in the lead up to Copenhagen. And has really been an galvanizing force for other developing countries.
But also, you know she is taking a demand that is coming from groups like the third World Network, Focus on the Global South, Jubilee South, coalitions of NGOs and climate justice groups, that have been making these demands on the outside of summits. But, what is interesting now is that these demands have entered inside the summit, they are at the negotiating table. And of course there is extraordinary resistance from the United States, and the European Union, Canada, Australia, to the idea that they shouldn’t just be giving money to the developing world to adapt to climate change, to deal with climate change, out of the goodness of our hearts, out of a sense of charity, but actually out of a legal obligation. This is a frightening concept as you can imagine.
AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Klein –
NAOMI KLEIN: The case for this is very strong, just to add.
AMY GOODMAN: Last week, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon rejected widespread predictions that the summit in Copenhagen would be a failure.
BAN KI-MOON: Reading the latest news reports, however, you might think Copenhagen is destined to be a disappointment. That is wrong. To the contrary, we can, and I believe we can and we will reach a deal in Copenhagen that sets the stage for a binding treaty as soon as possible.
AMY GOODMAN: Your response to what Ban Ki-Moon is saying?
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, the problem is the definition of success in Copenhagen has been lowered and lowered. A few months ago the definition of success in Copenhagen was countries agreeing to lower emissions, to levels that climate scientists were demanding. And the science is very clear that we really do need cuts of 40 percent below 1990 levels. The other definition of success was rich countries coming to the table with levels of funding for the developing world that once again meet the actual need. And we know what those types of figures are. The World Bank for instance has estimated the cost faced by developing countries to simply adapt to a changing climate dealing with droughts, dealing with increased flooding, is $100 billion a year. The cost of leapfrogging over those dirty energies, as I was saying earlier, that’s $500 billion-$600 billion a year. That’s a figure from independent UN researchers. But now what we hearing from the UN is there hope for Copenhagen is that they can get developed countries, rich countries, to agree to $10 billion a year.
So Amy, they will turn around and say that is a success, but it is simply not a success. So, the definition of success is just been pushed lower and lower. And this is really a troubling issue, and it an issue that a lot of environmentalists, climate justice activists are going to have to confront. Because, with an issue like climate change, urgency matters, maintaining a sense of urgency in the face of this crisis really matters. So, there is a danger, a very real danger of creating an illusion of doing something about the problem in Copenhagen. You know, having Obama go make another terrific speech which he is very good at, claiming it is a breakthrough that the U.S. is talking about emission cuts of between, now they are saying 14 -20 below 2005 levels, which is just absurd, it has nothing to do with the science. And then this $10 billion a year figure, which once again there such a huge gap between that figure, and the lowest possible figure that we’re hearing from the World Bank which is $100 billion.