It is ironic but not unexpected that the Climate Change negotiations in Dohar have turned into an argument about money. The poorer nations, whose activities do not cause rapid climate change, are asking the richer nations, whose activities do cause climate change, to compensate them for the extra money that the poorer nations will have to spend or lose as a result of climate change.
This itself is perfectly logical: if you owe a duty of care to others (all nations owe a duty of care to others) and your acts or omissions cause damage (and emitting greenhouse gases certainly according to current science does this) and the damage suffered is foreseeable (you you warm up the oceans the thermal expansion of water is certainly foreseeable) then you should compensate those to whom you owe a duty of care. That is the common law of England (in a rather abbreviate nutshell) the law of the United States and the law of most nations when it comes to domestic tort, but not when it comes to international law.
Nations, particularly those with low lying coasts or those in areas where the climate change will cause or has caused weather to become more extreme, have a strong case for being compensated. However, now is not the time to argue it. Now is the time when nations of the world should be concentrating all their resources into significantly reducing emissions and working for a cleaner world.
If people are rushing towards destruction it is more important to stop the rush than it is to argue about the loss that you have suffered as a result of the rush to destruction or the losses that you will suffer as a result of the continued rush to destruction.
Filed under: climate change, global warming, United Nations Climate Change Conference | Tagged: climate, climate change negotiations, compensation for climate change losses, dohar, duty of care, environment, extreme weather, foreseeable damage, greenhouse gases, negligence, rapid climate change, thermal expansion of water, tort |