Monday, November 06, 2006

Who is to Blame for Global Warming

Global warming is a result of environmental pollution by the West since the industrial revolution. The West does not want to be held responsible for global warming. It is trying to blame developing countries for global warming which are producing goods for the Western consumption. The West wants to continue its economic hegemony by slowing down economic growth in the developing countries.

Repercussions of global warming are severe for the developing countries like Pakistan. According to a report by economist Nicholas Stern, “Melting glaciers will initially increase flood risk and then strongly reduce water supplies” in South Asia. It will have devastating impact on lives of people in this region.

The Sun warms up the Earth by solar rays. After the Earth warms up it emits infrared rays some of them are absorbed by greenhouse gases. This natural process is called greenhouse effect, which keeps the Earth warm. Industrialisation causes higher accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The excessive accumulation of these gases results in higher absorption of infrared rays emitted by the Earth. The higher absorption of infrared rays leads to global warming by increasing the Earth’s temperature. World Meteorological Organisation has warned that Greenhouse gases have reached a record level in 2005 and they are likely to keep rising until steps are taken to cut them.

USA is emitting 24.4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases although it is less than 4.6 percent of the world’s population. On the other hand South Asian countries - Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Nepal, are 22.36 percent of the world’s population but they are emitting only 6.3 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

The West’s gruesome acts of colonisation, genocides, and wars have caused great pain and suffering around the world. The West forced Palestinians to pay for its crimes of the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing of Jews from Europe by creating Israel. Now, it is forcing the developing countries of the world to pay for the environmental holocaust orchestrated by the West. Its acts have created the environmental catastrophe, which is causing irreparable damage to this planet.

Pakistan is emitting 0.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases although it is 2.54 percent of the world’s population. On the other hand, Australia is 0.31 percent of the world’s population however it is emitting 1.5 percent of world’s greenhouse gases in 2000 according to Human Development Report 2005. USA and Australia have blatantly refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol.

Australian Member of Parliament, Anthony Albanese said, “Perhaps most offensive is the [Australian] Prime Minister’s statement that China, India and all the developing world should be blamed [for global warming].”

United States President, George Bush described Australia as a “Sheriff” of the Asia Pacific. Australian Prime Minister, John Howard has expressed racist views and refused to condemn racism on many occasions. Now, Sheriff Howard wants to force Asian countries such as China, India, and Pakistan to pay for environmental crimes of the West by cutting greenhouse gases. If a corporation pollutes then it is forced to pay for damage. But, Howard does not want the West to pay for environmental damage.

The West has developed by polluting the world through burning fossil fuels since industrial revolution. Now it does not want the developing countries to burn fossil fuels for economic growth. It is the turn of the developing countries to grow their economies to reduce poverty but the West does not like it.

The West moved dirty industries in the developing countries to export pollution and to exploit cheap labour for increasing corporate profits. The Western corporations are polluting the land, water, and air in the developing countries. These corporations moved to the developing countries to cut costs and to avoid lawsuits from the Western citizens who were against pollution.

For example, Erin Brockovich filed a lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Company of California for contaminating water in the southern California town of Hinkley. The case was settled out of the court for a record sum of $333 million.

Global warming is a direct result of rampant consumption in the West. According to Human Development Report 1998 Overview, United Nations Development Programme, “Inequalities in consumption are stark. Globally, the 20% of the world’s people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures — the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%.”

The criterion to allocate quota for greenhouse gases emission is flawed because it is based on emissions caused by production. However, the production is a result of consumption. Goods are produced because there is a demand for their consumption. Therefore, the greenhouse gases quota should be allocated based on the consumption by every country.

For example, a chef preparing a meal cannot be blamed for smoke. The chef’s employer is responsible for smoke because the meal is cooked for the employer’s consumption. Similarly, the West is responsible for greenhouse gases emission in the developing countries, which are producing goods for the Western consumption.

Conservatives in the West argue that consumers should pay all costs for services such as health, education, and transport. However, they do not want to apply the same principle to the Western consumers by forcing them to pay all costs associated with goods they are consuming including environmental costs of greenhouse gases emission. A big percentage of greenhouse gases are emitted because of goods produced for the Western consumption in the developing countries.

Over consumption by the West is the main cause for global warming. The Western prosperity is achieved at the expense of the rest of the world through colonisation, wars, genocides, and global warming. The West should take responsibility for its environmental actions and reduce greenhouse gases emission to save this planet.


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