The real climate change victims share two characteristics. They are too poor to defend themselves by expensive flood controls or sophisticated public-health programmes. And (unlike China or Brazil) the poor countries' own carbon footprints are tiny. Kirk Smith, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, calls climate change the world’s biggest regressive tax: the poorest pay for the behaviour of the rich.
When industrial polluters in emerging markets cut emissions, they are rewarded through Kyoto. But the poorest are not rewarded for the big contribution they could make towards reducing emissions, which is the better management of tropical forests. That is because forests were excluded from Kyoto, to the chagrin of the poor. (Full)
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