Thugs in Copenhagen
One of the reasons some Americans become wary of the United Nations is that it gives a platform to obnoxious bores, several of whom have taken the podium this week at the UN climate-change conference in Copenhagen .
Among them was Hugo Chavez , who paraphrased Marx in assigning blame for climate change: "A ghost is stalking the streets of Copenhagen...it's capitalism, capitalism is that ghost." That's from the leader of a country whose economy is based largely on the export of particularly dirty oil. Awkward.
"The destructive model of capitalism is the eradication of life," Chavez also said. Tell that to the millions of Chinese that Mao killed in the fight against capitalism, or the millions more recently pulled out of poverty because of market-liberalizing reforms.
Even worse was the performance of Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe. "When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions, it's we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere who gasp and sink and eventually die." Zimbabwe, of course, used to be one of the most developed countries in Africa -- until Mugabe's thugs pillaged the economy and tortured the population.
To be fair, Mugabe, it seems, anticipated that criticism: "Why is the guilty north not showing the same fundamentalist spirit it exhibits in our developing countries on human rights matters on this more menacing threat of climate change?" Perhaps because cold-blooded, state-sponsored murder, theft and abuse are intrinsically odious and cannot be justified, as Mugabe attempted to do, no matter the wrongs of others. Climate change, on the other hand, offers less certainty -- about the nature and scale of the consequences, about the precise assignment of blame, about the state of relevant international law.
Developing nations are demanding billions of dollars a year to adapt to climate change, mitigate their emissions and halt deforestation. Given that developed countries are responsible for most of the anthropogenic greenhouse pollution already in the atmosphere, and given that it will be difficult to reduce world-wide emissions without such help, they have a good case. But part of the reason the developed world -- and The Post editorial page, for that matter -- insists on robust reporting, monitoring and verification is to ensure that money and effort meant to battle climate change doesn’t end up lining the pockets of the Robert Mugabes of the world.
Posted by: Denbo1 | December 17, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: staterighter | December 18, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: battleground51 | December 18, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: annnort | December 18, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: iphony | December 18, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: crust1 | December 18, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: crust1 | December 18, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: robertjames1 | December 18, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jerzy | December 19, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: kduble | December 19, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AlongTheWatchTowers | December 19, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tlunde | December 19, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.