Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Pish And Tosh About Climate Change And Inequality

We should have some sort of award for ludicrous climate change related claim of the week. Or summat. Here being a useful entry to this iteration of the competition. Global inequality is 25% higher because of climate change than it would have been if there were no climate change. The promoters of the idea having entirely missed what it is that is producing climate change, that economic growth which is making the poor rich.

No, really. Climate change isn’t being driven by what is happening in the UK, US and all that. Given that both have been reducing emissions in recent years it can’t be. The driver is those formerly poor places growing to the point where the population gains three squares a day and a shirt on their backs. Thus this is a nonsense claim:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] These events are disproportionately bringing death, displacement, and crop failure. As a result of this, projections estimate that the economies of poorer, warmer countries will be gravely harmed by climate change over coming decades, while the cooler, richer countries responsible for the vast majority of the extra CO2 in the air may even benefit in the short term. But as new research reveals, this is not just a future concern – the economic injustice of climate change has already been operating for 60 years. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared different countries’ GDP per capita – a measure of the average person’s economic standard of living – between 1961 and 2010. It then used climate models to estimate what each country’s GDP would have been without the effects of climate change. The findings are stark. [/perfectpullquote]

Err, no.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Many poorer countries’ economies have rapidly grown in the last 50 years, albeit often at great social and environmental cost and to the benefit of the globalised economy. But even that growth has been held back substantially by climate change – the gap in GDP per capita between richer and poorer countries is 25% higher than it would have been in a climate-stable world.[/perfectpullquote]

Idiocy. You cannot assume economic growth with no climate change. Because, as we all should know, it’s the economic growth which has been causing the climate change.

Sure, we all insist around here that growth is possible without the climate change. But not with the technologies we have been using. This counterfactual they’re trying just doesn’t work. Not that this is the point of the research anyway. This is:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]As is becoming increasingly clear, there are no quick fixes or easy solutions to climate change or inequality. Reducing emissions is, sadly, not enough, and providing yet more high-interest loans to “help” poorer nations adapt to a warmer world will only deepen global inequality. Alongside radically changing the economies of the world’s wealthiest nations, we must demand that reparations for past injustices be paid, that the debts of the Global South be cancelled, that privatisation of local industries and lands be reversed, and that the brutal border regimes surrounding the world’s wealthy nations be torn down. Only then can global inequality truly be tackled.[/perfectpullquote]

Earlier attempts to make the poor rich through insane economic policies didn’t work. So, now we can use climate change as the lever to have insane economic policies. That global capitalism thing that has and is making the poor rich can’t be allowed to continue because, you know, capitalism.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
5 years ago

Too much funding at the University of Essex clearly –

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x