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Will the Dispute Between Rich and Poor Be Sorted Out?

12/06/09

Brief Introduction:

The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference) in Copenhagen will be held in Denmark next Monday. Leaders from all over the world will negotiate how to tackle the climate change issues. However, it is really tough and unrealistic to require more than 180 countries to achieve a legally binding agreement about cutting carbon emissions. Because the different between Southern and Northern countries is still apparent, rich and poor will continuously dispute about their own benefits.

Since the British industrial revolution, the global carbon emissions increased rapidly. While the rich enjoy the cool summer with the air conditioners, the poor are still worry about their fundamental needs. The rich people can even avoid the flood by getting on the Noah’s Ark. However, for the poor people, they are urged to find food for their empty stomach instead of worrying about the doomsday’s coming. For instance, there are about 0.1 billion people in India do not have electricity, while every American family has two or three cars. Therefore, it’s unrealistic to demand the developed countries and the developing countries to fulfill their commitments on the same stage. This unrealistic requirement is just the divergence between the developed and the developing countries.

It’s unfair that the developed countries demand the developing countries to assume their duties after the developed countries have been polluted the earth for hundreds of years. And the developed countries are still not clear on their own duties about financing and technology support. When we consider the clean energy legislation which has already been passed by the United States Congress, it’s unfair that the United States put trade sanction on countries who do not accept the least standard of carbon emissions reduction.

Moreover, although the host has announced to forbid the plastic bags and bottled water, I was wondering how many people will attend the meeting by bicycle. I think most of the representatives will attend the meeting by air. At that time, people will be in different kinds of hotels and cars. Doesn’t this conference will increase the carbon emissions?

富人与穷人的争吵不会止于哥本哈根

下周一,哥本哈根气候大会将在丹麦召开,各国领导人将商讨全球应对气候变化的道路何去何从。在我看来, 要求180多个国家签署一项具有法律约束力的减排协议,相当困难也并不现实,因为南北国家根本分歧依然巨大,富人与穷人之间的争吵声和指责声仍会继续。

自工业化以来,全球温室气体排放急剧增加、二氧化碳浓度大幅上升,导致人类的生活环境越来越热、全球海平面每年上升加快。但是,富人们可以躲在空调里吃喝拉撒全解决,万一洪水来了也可以登上“诺亚方舟”避难。但对穷人们来说,有比天气变热更重要的事情要解决,是担心世界末日来临更重要?还是眼前填饱 肚子更重要呢?

像中国、印度这样的发展中国家,经济社会发展是其首先要解决的问题。比如印度有近1亿人没有用上电,而每个美国家庭有三辆汽车,要求发达国家和发展中国家站在同一个起跑线上履行减排义务,是不现实的,也是发达国家和发展中国家的分歧所在。

反观发达国家,污染排放几百年后再来要求全部国家来控制温室气体的排放,自己在资金和技术支持上的责任却相当模糊,美国众议院通过所谓“清洁能源法案”,对不接受最低排放限制标准的国家动辄就挥起贸易制裁的大棒,这更加不公平,就算发展中国家为了眼前利益,忍气吞声顺从了发达国家的强压政策,也难以履行承诺。

话又说回来,哥本哈根大会本身就是一件极具讽刺的事情。虽然会议主办方在两周前就已经禁止“礼品袋”和瓶装水,以便节约能源。但是其他方面呢?我相信,极少数参会者可能会骑自行车、坐滑翔伞,或者干脆步行到哥本哈根,但14000多名代表中的大部分将被飞机运到哥本哈根,塞满了哥本哈根的各种酒店和车辆,增加碳排放。

印度圣雄甘地说,地球足够满足每一个人的需求,但永远不能满足人们的欲望。打个比方,尽管牛肉生产被指责是碳排放巨大源头之一,但美国人不可能改变吃牛肉的习惯;全球10亿贫困人口靠玉米土豆果腹,为碳减排做出了巨大贡献,但他们肯定不满足于永远只吃玉米土豆。

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