It is all well and good to go to see An Inconvenient Truth. But is that where your responsibility ends? Do you think you can simply sit in an air conditioned theatre eating popcorn and watching this for an hour and a half and then go home thinking you did your duty? Well, if you do think that YOU ARE WRONG. If you commit to seeing this movie you have to commit all the way, or all you are doing is betraying the trust of your planet, and more people will die. It has come to that.
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Published on Monday, May 15, 2006 by the Independent / UK
by Philip Thornton
The poorest people in the world will be the chief victims of the West's failure to tackle global warning, with millions of Africans forecast to die by the end of the century, Christian Aid says in a report out today.
The potential ravages of climate change are so severe that they could nullify the efforts to end the legacy of poverty and disease across developing countries, the charity says.
The report highlights the fact that, despite hand-wringing in the West about the threat to its coastlines from rising temperatures, it is the poorest who are likely to suffer most. It estimates that a "staggering" 182 million people in sub-Saharan Africa could die of disease directly attributable to climate change by 2100. Many millions more face death and devastation from climate-induced floods, famine, drought and conflict.
Sir John Houghton, former co-chairman of the scientific assessment working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has given his support to the report's findings. "This report exposes clearly and starkly the devastating impact that human-induced climate change will have on many of the world's poorest people," he said.
Its warning came on the eve of a meeting of nearly 200 nations this week in Bonn which hopes to close the gap between the US and its allies over the best way to combat climate change.
While 40 nations are committed to cutting carbon emissions in line with the Kyoto protocol, the US and leading developing countries such as China have refused to sign.
Kyoto obliges rich nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. Few experts expect the Bonn talks to break new ground.
The summit of the leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations chaired by Tony Blair in Gleneagles last July agreed to develop markets for clean energy technologies, increase their availability in developing countries, and help vulnerable communities adapt to the impact of climate change.
Last week the head of environment at the World Bank said the world needed to do more to protect the poor from global warming. "As a development institution we have to focus on the fact that millions of people will suffer from climate change," Warren Evans said. "The last G8 pushed African development but didn't focus on the impact of climate change on Africa. We need to catch up on our understanding of that."
The World Bank said in its most recent assessment, that developing and transition countries would require investment of $300bn a year over the next 25 years.
In its report, The climate of poverty: facts, fears and hopes, Christian Aid calls on rich countries to fund a switch from fossil fuels to clean energy sources. Britain has pledged to cut CO2 emissions by more than the Kyoto target - 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010 - but the report urges the Government tocommit to a 33 per cent reduction by 2050.
* 182 million people in sub-Saharan African could die of disease by 2100.
* Average global temperatures could rise by between 1.5C and 6C by 2100; sea levels are set to rise by between 15cm and 95cm.
* The number of people affected by storms and floods has increased from 740 million to 2.5 billion people since the 1970s.
* Up to 3 million people die of malaria each year. Warmer, wetter weather will help the disease to spread.
* Climate change could reduce Africa's crop yields by 10 per cent.
Source: Christian Aid
© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited
Wars kill the poor. Hunger kills the poor. Poverty kills the poor. Now, reports are that climate change will more deeply effect countries around the world that are too poor to prepare for its effects, and countries that do not even contribute the most to its effects. This is by far the most urgent moral crisis of our times, and countries such as the United States have a moral obligation to do what it can to face its responsibility for contributing to this problem.
The effects of climate change on a global scale will in my opinion be tantamount to the effects of nuclear war if this country and other countries that contribute the most to its effects continue to be morally remiss in taking proper responsibility for its contributions to it.
For far too long the government of the United States and others have buried their heads in the sand when it comes to facing the fact that this country contributes more to the greenhouse gases that cause global warming than any third world country. However, it will be those very third world countries that will feel the effects of that climate change in water shortages, depletion of resources, disease, and in disrupting the very delicate balance of nature that could tip off a cataclysm.
It is no longer feasable for those in this country who claim to care about human rights to ignore this problem. It is no longer feasable to claim that it would cost too much for our economy to dismiss this problem. The effects of climate change on a global scale and the residual cost to all of us in money, but more importantly in lives, in the very way we live, and even in the very make up of this planet are too great to be dismissed as a myth, or needing more research. The research is there, and the verdict is in. Humans contribute to climate change. Therefore, it must be humans who work to counter it.
The Bush administration and all other politicians regardless of politics who ignore it however, are morally bankrupt on this issue. They have turned a blind eye to the future existence of this planet based on their own corporate agenda. The continued dismissal of this very real problem will result in poverty, hunger, land depletion, and depletion of natural resources such as water, that will cause war, terrorism, and death far beyond what we are even seeing now. Far beyond their "war on terrah."
Do our children and those to come in this world deserve for us to be squandering the resources we could be putting towards this problem, to fighting wars that only create the very conditions that contribute to this problem? Do they not deserve to see us working together on a global scale for the advancement of technological, scientific, and sustainable solutions that will provide proper safeguards to those who do not contribute as much to this problem but who will feel most of its effects?
Those in this administration who DARE to throw the word morality around so cavalierly, are being seen for the true moral hypocrites and cowards they are by dismissing this issue. They cannot claim to care about Democracy, human rights, and freedom, if they would shirk their moral responibility to facing climate change on a global scale, and promising that this country will meet its responsibility and obligation to cut greenhouse gases and work with less developed countries in order to head off the effects of the cataclysm we have helped create by our greed, selfishness, and inability to care for others. And I say, if they and other political leaders refuse to face it there, that WE then GO AROUND THEM OUT HERE.
There is no other choice in this matter. If they can take 60 billion a month of OUR money to fight a war of lies, they can most certainly then find what is necessary to provide what we need to fight global climate change and more fervently advance alternative energy sources in this country! It isn't that we do not have the money, capability, innovation, and means to do it. It is simply that the money lies in the hands of people without consciences and hearts. To know what climate change is doing to people in this world, and also here at home as we have seen with Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes that have hit us so visciously and do nothing, is a human rights violation in and of itself. The time has come for them to be held accountable with all countries that will not carry their weight on this issue. Our very future depends on it.
However, that will not happen by us simply watching an Inconvenient Truth. It will not happen unless after watching it and even before watching it, people become informed, educated, and empowered and DEMAND changes that will truly face this problem that does threaten our very existence. And that DOES include demanding social and political change NOW (not even three years from now, but NOW) as well as taking that action in your own lives. And also, people must be made to understand that this movie is a serious call to people of the entire world to open up their eyes and look in the mirror. This didn't happen by itself. WE let it get this far, and if we fail to take the proper action to reverse what we have done within the time frame given, we will have done nothing less than perpetuate an environmental holocaust.
But we still have time... Time to save lives. What could be a more noble campaign than that?