Bolivia responds to US on climate debt: "If you break it, you buy it."

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In response to the US chief negotiator Todd Stern's rejection of paying it's climate debt - the principle of polluter pays - Pablo Solon, Bolivia's ambassador to the United Nations said the following: "Admitting responsibility for the climate crisis without taking necessary actions to address it is like someone burning your house and then refusing to pay for it. Even if the fire was not started on purpose, the industrialised countries, through their inaction, have continued to add fuel to the fire. As a result they have used up two thirds of the atmospheric space, depriving us of the necessary space for our development and provoking a climate crisis of huge proportions.
"It is entirely unjustifiable that countries like Bolivia are now forced to pay for the crisis. This creates a huge draw on our limited resources to protect our people from a crisis created by the rich and their over-consumption.
"In Bolivia we are facing a crisis we had no role in causing. Our glaciers dwindle, droughts become ever more common, and water supplies are drying up. Who should address this? To us it seems only right that the polluter should pay, and not the poor."
"We are not assigning guilt, merely responsibility. As they say in the US, if you break it, you buy it."

Todd Stern said in a press conference on 10 December 2009: "We absolutely recognize our historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere up there that are there now. But the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations - I just categorically reject that."

But, I think, we must also consider that it is not just the developed nations such as the USA and Britain have cause the problems. The destruction of the rainforests in places such as Brazil also play a role.

Not everything is and can be the developed countries' fault and the likes of the USA and Britain cannot be held liable for everything by the developing countries. That, in my opinion, is something where I must say that agree to some extent with Mr. Stern.

On the other hand we must make the technologies available to the developing nations, to the countries of the Third World, to be able to not make the same mistakes as the developed countries have made.

We must also get China to get to the point where that country too stops making the mistakes that the likes of Britain and the USA have made for decades and centuries.

The biggest problem as far as CO2 emissions are concerned is the fact that we have been clear felling forests at a rate of knots and are still doing so. It is not just the rainforests that need protection and sustainable management. Nay, all other forests do too, whether they are in public or private hands.

Proper forest management not just benefits the climate; it also benefits the owner and the nation.

Forests and properly managed agriculture – managed in an older, sustainable way, with manure, crop rotation and leaving lands fallow for a year every four years – are great carbon sinks and much better and much more efficient than any carbon capture technology and storing CO2 in caves will ever be.

We need forests and organic agriculture and not technological carbon capture and storage.

© 2009