Compensation For Climate Change? Ctd

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Eric Posner is against them:

Advocates argue that climate change negotiations, currently being held in Warsaw, should aim for a climate treaty that forces the climate wrongdoers to pay the climate victims. This would mean countries like Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Kenya getting money from countries like the United States so that they don’t alone bear the cost of a global carbon dioxide overload that they did little to cause. It sounds great—but such an approach would doom the prospects of a climate treaty, and the argument for it doesn’t add up.

The heart of his argument:

The issue here is that most emissions in the United States took place before the 1990s, when few Americans knew about, or understood, the dangers of climate change.

Even since then, it is difficult to argue that Americans act in a blameworthy fashion by heating their homes and firing up their laptops, which is what everyone does albeit usually to lesser (as well as varying) degrees. We might blame ourselves for failing to elect governments that unilaterally cut emissions, but our governments have justifiably held out for other countries like China to agree to do their share. After all, unilateral emission cuts will do little to solve the problem.

One of the most challenging features of the climate change problem is the time lag between emission and harm. It was our ancestors who emitted much of the stock of greenhouse gases, and most of the harm they caused will not take place until additional decades have passed. If a climate treaty compelled monetary transfers from historic wrongdoers to victim countries today, these transfers would be to people who have not been harmed from people who have not harmed them.

Relatedly, Lex Berko passes along the above video:

By translating some of the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s] major conclusions into a glossy video visualization, it helps those more visually-inclined learners—or just anyone who enjoys a well-made clip—get a grasp on exactly what sorts of threats our planet might be facing as a result of anthropogenic activities. Sometimes, text only goes so far.

Previous Dish on the debate here.