Sunday, March 04, 2007

Global Warming and Human Rights

Interesting article from Reuters.

Global warming is human rights issue: Nobel nominee
[G]lobal climate change, according to Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit born inside the Canadian Arctic ... constitutes a violation of human rights for indigenous people in low-lying areas throughout the world.

The impacts of global warming will not be felt equally. A technologically advanced nation like the US, which has through these advances greatly contributed to the problem, will be able to use technology to, at least in some ways, mitigate against the ramnifications of global warming. Farming technology, to use just one example, will likely keep food on our tables.

What about the peoples of much poorer nations? How will they withstand the effects of global warming?

From a religious perspective, consider the following verse:

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the Lord your God. - Leviticus 23:22-22."

It is part of God's plan for us that we take into consideration those further down the ladder of economic well-being than ourselves.

From an economic perspective, this is a classic example of a market failure- in this case a global market failure. Those who have derived the benefits of high rates of economic development (and environmental impact) will pass those costs on to people who either did not benefit at all, or benefitted only marginally.

In a market system, those who derive the benefits should pay the costs.

The time is coming when the US must pay up.

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