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Wealthy Nations Owe 'Climate Debt' to Poor, Greens Say
By Marc Morano Senior Staff Writer
December 07, 2005

Montreal ( - Environmental groups attending the United Nations
Climate Change Conference have demanded that the U.S. and the other
industrialized nations pay a "climate debt" to the poor nations for
contributing to catastrophic, human-caused "global warming."

"Let's face it, [the developing countries] are not responsible for the
problem and yet they are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate
change," said Catherine Pearce, international climate campaigner for Friends
of the Earth International (FOEI). Pearce spoke with Cybercast News Service
at the 11th annual U.N. Climate Change Conference in Montreal.

"It is total over-exploitation by the North[ern Hemisphere] and the North is
just using up the natural resources of the world for its own gain and its
own benefit," Pearce said. She noted that "people are being thrown off their
land (in developing countries) to grow mono-culture plantations" that are
used by industrialized countries.

"What Northern countries can be doing is to repay some of [their climate]
debt in terms of resources, financing, [and] technology to countries of the
South[ern Hemisphere]," she added.

Friends of the Earth International sponsored a panel discussion on "climate
justice" at the U.N. conference on Monday.

FOEI demanded that "a fair share of the earth's resources" be shared by all
nations and declared, "Everybody has a right to an equal share of the
available capacity of the atmosphere."

The U.S. was singled out by FOEI as the one nation that owes the largest
"climate debt" to the poorer nations of the world.

"The average American emits seven tons of carbon a day and that's in
comparison to much, much lower levels in India," Pearce asserted.

To achieve climate justice, the industrialized nations must make dramatic
reductions in their emissions and undertake a "massive rethinking in terms
of the financial support that these countries are getting," according to

But Chris Horner, senior fellow with the free market environmental group
Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), ridiculed the notion of "climate

"This movement seeks to impede poor countries from capitalizing on their
greatest natural assets and in return locks them into welfare dependency.
This is another name and excuse for increasing foreign aid to what are, in
large part, failed governments," Horner told Cybercast News Service. CEI
takes a skeptical view on the theory of human caused catastrophic climate

Spending time and resources worrying about "climate justice" takes away from
"addressing the real reasons for [developing nations'] poverty, including
corrupt governments that provide inadequate respect for property rights and
the need for a transparent judiciary," Horner said.

"Pretty soon, we're going to run out of new names for wealth redistribution,
and maybe even new rationales," he added.


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