Paying reparations for harm to climate

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The Wednesday Journal published a letter of mine in the Nov. 15 Viewpoints section under the title, "Trade agreements must include protections." The letter focused on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the need to protect worker rights and environmental justice.

Regarding the latter, I mentioned "The People's Agreement," reached at the World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change in 2010. Demands were made on Developed Countries (DC) by people from Lesser Developed Nations (LDN). Among the demands was reparation to the LDN by the DC for damage caused by global climate change.

A recent article in Catalyst (quarterly publication of the Union of Concerned Scientists) was titled, "Who's Responsible for Climate Damage?" I reference sections from Catalyst below. The sections are reprinted with permission of Catalyst:

"The team looked at the largest oil, gas and coal producers and cement manufacturers and used sophisticated computer analysis to quantify the amount of sea level rise and global temperature increase attributable to carbon dioxide and methane emitted during the extraction, production, and use of these companies' products."

"Emissions traced to the 90 largest carbon producers contributed to nearly 50 percent rise of the global average temperature and around 30 percent of global sea level rise since 1880."

"Emissions traced to the 50 investor-owned producers (including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Peabody, Shell, and Total) contributed around 16 percent of the global average temperature increase from 1880 to 2010, and around 11 percent of global sea level rise over the same period."

"Emissions traced to these same 50 companies from just 1980 to 2010 — the period in which fossil fuel companies were aware their products were causing global warming — contributed around 10 percent of the global average temperature increase and roughly 4 percent of global sea level rise."

According to the Catalyst article, the UN Environment Programme estimates that climate adaptation will cost LDN $140 billion to $300 billion per year in 2030. One purpose of the Catalyst article was to lay the groundwork for legal action to go after a portion of fossil fuel production and punitive damages for alleged wrongdoing.

What is the responsibility of the major fossil fuel companies to the LDN? In my opinion, as corporations push profit over planet, trans-national conglomerates behave criminally and bear complete financial responsibility for their predation.

Tom Broderick

Member, Democratic Socialists of America

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Brian Slowiak  

Posted: November 29th, 2017 5:02 PM

Would the reparations go to the country or to the citizens or residents of the country? If reparations are made would there be a restriction what the reparations are used for? For instance reparation money must be spent on shovels instead of computers, which are made from natural materials dug from the earth Say reparation money must be spent on fish hooks, fish line and plant seed?. Would reparation money be denied to an individual or country if those entities wanted to invest the money in say, Mobil Oil.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: November 29th, 2017 4:37 PM

Sending money to less developed nations has a history of theft and failure. Sending it through the United Nations guarantees that it will never reach the needy parties. Case in point , the United Nations Haiti relief fund, the UN sent 3 billion dollars through the Clinton Global Initiative and WOW, it disappeared! Exactly what do we owe this money for and to whom do we pay it? .

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