Sunday, October 11, 2009

Climate totalitarianism fits an old pattern

Imtaz Mugbil in the Bangkok Post: Just as one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, one man's ``climate change'' is another man's ``climate justice''. This fundamental difference in perspective goes to the heart of the environmental challenge as well as many other facets of the emerging world order.

To the developed world, climate change and global warming is largely a technical _ and universal _ problem. To the developing world, it requires much deeper reflection _ how did this problem arise? Who caused it? And who should pay to fix it? Developing countries rightfully demand that developed countries that became rich by burning low-cost oil in abundance over the last four decades should both bear the brunt of cutting their greenhouse gas emissions and provide the money and technological support to help them switch over to a low-carbon economy.

Developed countries are in no hurry to make the switch themselves, nor to pay what they consider to be a disproportionate share of the adaptation and mitigation costs.

...At one press conference during the Bangkok talks, I asked Ambassador Lumumba D'Aping of Sudan, who was there in his capacity as chairman of the G77+ China group, if he felt ``neocolonialism'' would be an appropriate way to describe what was transpiring.

``I would not call it that,'' he replied. For a second, it seemed as if he thought the term was too strong. But, after a pause, the diplomatic demeanour faded. ``I would call it climate totalitarianism,'' he bristled….

King Leopold II of Belgium, whose African colony, the Congo Free State, became one of the most infamous international scandals of the turn of the century. The famous 1904 report by the British Consul Roger Casement led to the arrest and punishment of white officials who had been responsible for cold-blooded mass killings during a rubber-collecting expedition in 1903 (including one Belgian national for causing the shooting of at least 122 Congolese people). A similar regime was in place in the French Congo.

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