Green transition is about money too

Green transition is about money too

One characteristic of climate change that makes it such a difficult problem to solve is that, essentially, it is linked to the economy. And the latter is, inevitably, influenced by political and collective decisions that are not always – to put it mildly – ​​completely rational.

In other words, climate change is such a big problem that it remains elusive. It is not enough to address it only from the point of view of melting ice or international diplomacy. You hold the bull by the horns, very well: it is a pity that this is a bull that has dozens of horns.

Let’s start with the obvious: the economy is first linked to global warming because it is industrial production that causes huge amounts of pollution emissions into the atmosphere. These emissions are bad for us, our lungs, and our life expectancy, but above all they are bad for the planet, for ecosystems, because they increase global temperatures too quickly for organisms to adapt. Huh.

The economy and global warming are also closely linked because of the interactions and processes that make political decisions (the only one, it is said, to be able to find a collective solution to a problem on such a large scale) – net That is, all the rhetoric and slogans that are too easy to pronounce, trying to declare themselves anxious and good – is money.

One of the many ways to illuminate the climate problem is, in fact, the following: emissions are produced primarily by some states. But, apparently, they harm the entire global community, albeit not in equal amounts. So why not make these states pay for their emissions? It seems to be a linear argument, too bad it’s fraught, full of pitfalls.

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The first problem with the economic compensation system is that it doesn’t work at the moment. english expression”loss and damage“(“loss and damage” in italian). Those who pollute the most are enough to ensure that these compensations are not sanctioned, let alone mandated. In other words: the countries that pollute the most are also the richest and are the most powerful (this is also the object of industrial production) and therefore do not vote for a system of sanctions which is inconvenient for them.

It can be objected that a growing collective sensitivity to environmental issues, as well as activism and increased commitments made by states, may soon lead to the approval of a compensation system. It is not impossible, but it has been disregarded even when compensation has been predicted, discussed, approved and made public. we take 100 billion dollars (about 89 billion euros) that rich countries should have paid to the poorest countries by 2020 to help them with so-called “climate finance”: they have not been paid, and the target date to be reached is until 2023. has been postponed. ,

The problem with the “loss and damage” system is another: the difficulty of finding a settlement that caused some specific damage, and who would be obliged to take responsibility for it as a result. Unfortunately, the damage caused by emissions to ecosystems and regions is “indirect”. Translated: there is not a the same cloud of pollutants that comes from right a specific industrial area and that, deviating from the right a some regions of the world due to a Single atmospheric phenomenon harmful to anyone. It doesn’t work like this. If anything, the Chinese, Americans, Qataris, Germans and Indians co-operate with pollution and so on, join forces, and cause harm, who knows, in Antarctica, or perhaps in the Niger Delta, or even That causes floods, new and worse than those in the past, Saxony or Piedmont.

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The lack of a direct and irrefutable cause-effect relationship translates into a pass, a perfect argument for arriving at a collective lack of responsibility. For example, no state takes responsibility for air pollution or pollution caused by shipping. Cause? Simple: ships and planes pass through the territory of almost all states. There are ships built and sold by German companies, which fly the Japanese flag, but transport Indian goods, which will arrive at a Dutch port, and then supply a cargo of, for example, millions of Spaniards, Swiss and Portuguese. . Who takes care of it? Simple, none.

According to Le-Anne Roper – the main loss and damage negotiator foralliance of small island states A new financial objective will be required. “Given the increasing scale of the crisis and the need for meaningful action to address the loss and damage, this is the only way to give our people a better chance of survival.” And he’s probably right, but the group of small island states he represents, working hard to establish a system of responsibility for the big emitters on the table of international diplomacy, weighs little. Without the support of more influential political factions such as the European Union or the United Kingdom, it risks not achieving any goals.

group of small island states (I am 38), however, there is an ally, the African continent. The Africa Group – another diplomatic alliance that actively participated in COP26 – has every interest in having richer and more industrialized states pay compensation for the damage done to poorer countries. On the other hand, the logic is simple: the poorest countries produce fewer goods, and consume far less, consequently cannot be held responsible for global warming. Another bloc is moving in the same direction: the LDCs (Least Developed Countries), which have 46 members in Africa. The agency, that is, the ability of these groups to function autonomously, should not be underestimated. But, realistically, one wonders if they can really do better at the diplomatic level than China, the United States, Russia and India, which pollute the most today, receive the maximum compensation that commensurate with the loss. The answer is no.

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If the richest object to compensation to the poorest, it is not only for the uncertainty of responsibilities, or for the critique, but for the physical, self-interested states and political factions argue. There is also a legitimate concern about how the funds provided for compensation will be spent. In fact, the states that need it the most – and it is undeniable that it is a real and urgent need – are suffering from political instability from problems such as corruption and ongoing armed conflict. It happens that very poor regions, such as Southern Sudan or the Central African Republic, are partly controlled by non-state actors. They could be militias whose leaders and leaders are constantly changing, or groups considered terrorists by the international community. It is not difficult to imagine that any transfer of money and means in these areas is inherently risky.


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