Recent severe storms across the globe, along with talks sponsored by the United Nations, have focused renewed attention on the world’s approach to climate change. Unusually destructive weather in the Philippines, the U.S. Midwest, and Sardinia offer further examples of possible man-made change.
The 195-nation U.N. conference was intended to prepare positions before a meeting scheduled for 2015 to consider a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change. It made some progress, but serious issues emerged that could stand in the way of an agreement.
One is the idea that because rich, developed countries are considered largely responsible for global warming, they are obliged to pay poorer, developing nations for damage suffered and for protection from further harm. If man-made climate change is truly occurring, it must be confronted by developed and developing countries alike. The world’s population is in this battle together, and should not divide into camps over it.
China, perhaps the world’s biggest carbon polluter and its second-largest economy, insists on being considered a developing nation. That’s a ridiculous assertion, given China’s advanced industrialization. As pollution there gets worse and President Xi Jinping addresses it as a matter of policy, China, the United States, and Europe must put aside individual interests and begin to see eye to eye.