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Right Hooks

Paris Climate Accord Negotiation: Who Will Pay for It?

Some countries are playing to gain an upper economic hand.

Dan Gilmore · Dec. 10, 2015
The Eiffel Tower in the snow. Photo courtesy Catyparis, Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, the international climate change conference meeting in Paris released a draft copy of the climate accord. As Reason Magazine reported, the draft text indicated just what points the countries find the most disagreement on. It boils down to the other green. Poor, developing countries want to see money from richer countries flow to them. Think of it this way: poor countries — for example an island nation — want resources for when the oceans rise or a tsunami comes, and rich countries should feel an obligation to pay up for causing greenhouse gas emissions. Rich countries, however, are hesitating. “Poor countries and activists at the conference insist that the loss and damage section does not impose liability and the obligation to compensate poor countries for climate disasters,” Reason writes. “Nevertheless rich countries are strongly resisting inclusion of this concept in the accord because they understand that such provisions have tendency to metastasize into international shakedown bureaucracies.” However, Barack Obama promised his “international community” in 2009 that the countries of haves will finance $100 billion per year to the have-not countries. Meanwhile, some of the summit’s attendees are probably not at the summit out of a pure desire for a greener earth. For example, China with its burgeoning economy and exploding number of coal power plants, came to the conference bearing only the Wimpy-esque promise to cap its emissions within 15 years. On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry told The New York Times that fighting climate change “is the most extraordinary market opportunity in the history of mankind.” Except it’s totally government driven, and some governments are angling to have more “market opportunity” than others.

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