On air: Who should foot the climate change bill?

Two particular disagreements have been a feature during the first week of Copenhagen.

– The developed and the developing world have been disagreeing over how much financial and technical assistance poorer countries should receive from wealthier ones.

– And now some EU countries seem less than enthused at matching (even proportionately) Britain and France’s financial commitments.

For good measure, the Chinese and Americans have also been exchanging advice on the level of each other’s commitments.

That the cost of tackling climate change is going to be enormous isn’t being debated so fiercely (at Copenhagen at least), but who should meet that cost is. We’ll pick up that discussion today.

I’m particularly interested to hear if you’d like your country to make or less of a commitment than it’s current stated position.

98 Responses to “On air: Who should foot the climate change bill?”

  1. 1 Martin Kin
    December 11, 2009 at 13:57

    Rich nations should foot a high percentage of the bill being the major producers of greenhouse gases. However developing nations should also be compelled to maintain their carbon emissions at a low level.

  2. 2 Dan
    December 11, 2009 at 14:00

    First we need to understand and accept that the change in climate is beyond the ability of humans to affect or correct.
    The cyclical changes in the Earth have happened for billions of years and it is pure arrogance to think that humans can “fix” it despite that we cannot even cure hunger in Africa or solve homelessness in America.
    Accepting the above means that we must devise mechanisms to help those countries that will be affected by the natural cyclical changes in the Earths climate that are beyond the cause or fault of humans.
    But this Al Gore inspired fantasy resulting in the greening of Al Gores wallet must come to an end and allow nations to cooperate to save one another from the cyclical changes in the Earth’s climate.
    Thus there is no “bill” to be “footed” as nations must learn to cooperate with one another to solve a mutual problem.
    However with the demand for “reparations” be paid by the USA I can see this all falling apart and no help for nations affected by the natural cyclical change to the Earth’s climate.

    • 3 Ronald Almeida
      December 11, 2009 at 16:24

      I know everybody has and should have his point of view. But I beg to differ. For from my point of view you are a fatalist who does not believe in human freewill.
      You have the freedom to die of hunger or grow food, kill animals (forget killing other humans) for your food. You have the freedom to earn money and pay for your neccessities. To fly to the moon. And yet you believe you cannot influence the climatic conditions? If you believe in a computer in the sky may be you should pray to it then. For I believe we should do all we can to save our environment. Because unlike you I know (not believe) that we have polluted it beyond natures ability to clean it up.
      Do you really believe we cannot cure hunger in Africa and homelessness in the U.S. if we wanted to. The fact is we don’t care. For it’s not the problem of anybody else but the one’s who are suffering, of course it is true they can not help themselves. Just the way nature is unable to help itself anymore. And please don’t tell me it’s their own fault that they suffer. It is the ignorance, greed and callousness of those who have more than they will ever need.

      • 4 patti in cape coral
        December 11, 2009 at 21:24

        @Ronald Almeida – “Do you really believe we cannot cure hunger in Africa and homelessness in the U.S. if we wanted to. The fact is we don’t care. For it’s not the problem of anybody else but the one’s who are suffering, of course it is true they can not help themselves. And please don’t tell me it’s their own fault that they suffer. It is the ignorance, greed and callousness of those who have more than they will ever need.”

        Sometimes your assessments sting, and I wonder if you feel all of us in the west are all the same, all greedy and brutal, but I wholeheartedly agree with the above statement.

  3. December 11, 2009 at 14:06

    The rich nations of course should blaze this trail.. This is an issue far too important to be swept under the carpet. Now the conference should really strike while the iron is hot. Practically all delegates realise the importance of reaching tangible objectives. The ever important issue of finance has to be thrashed out with the richer nations forking out the brunt of the costs. There are no two ways about that. But poorer nations should be encouraged to do everthing to reduce greenhouse gases. The future of future generations thangs on the balance. Properly costed measures and the willingness of richer countries to be magnanimous at this crucial juncture will play decisive roles.. Tight-fistedness of richer nations could scupper all the positive declarations so far! The presence of the 192 heads of state at the conference adds to the heightened optimism. So deliver ye statesmen and write history in the process!

  4. 6 rob z.
    December 11, 2009 at 14:12

    Simple,those who make the most pollution should pay the most.I am a US citizen and am willing to do my part;I know my country is one of the biggest polluters and should therefore pay or do it’s part.
    If it means GIVING solar farms to Africa and other developing regions,then so be it.
    Rob in Florida

  5. 7 patti in cape coral
    December 11, 2009 at 14:22

    I still don’t understand why it costs so much. Is it the cost of developing technologies? Are these bribes that are being paid to poorer countries not to develop as much? Is this the cost of converting to cleaner energy? Isn’t cleaner energy cheaper as well?

    • 8 gary
      December 11, 2009 at 15:30

      I don’t think it’s the cost of developing technologies to which fossil power advocates are referring. It’s the cost to them (i.e. a reduction in revenues and profits) about which they are worried. Power companies are the perfect examples of vertical monopolies, while alternate energy sourcing is a distributed or diffuse activity. There isn’t a simple way for the power company folks to control it (I think some of them once made a feeble effort on the west coast to be declared the “owners” of sunshine (maybe Enron?); but this may only be urban legend.) But on the whole you are absolutely correct! Ordinary human activity is quite amenable to the periodic nature of alternate energy sources and harvesting them is not particularly expensive. The big power folks do have one mark on their side though; big industry (includes big food production) needs big, concentrated, 24/7 power.

    • 9 Ronald Almeida
      December 11, 2009 at 16:35

      You my friend are forgetting the lobby of the businesses that manufacture or deal in products and services that pollute. And every one of us who’ve got used to using them. How many of us will give up our cars, turn down our radiators a little. Use a little less of energy etc., etc. Just imagine how many of us inhabit this earth, even if those in the developing world manage on so little.

  6. 10 gary
    December 11, 2009 at 14:23

    Oh! I know this one! The folks who profited most from the party should clean-up the mess. Right? I learned the answer in Kindergarten.

    • 11 Tom K in Mpls
      December 15, 2009 at 02:42

      I’ve always known it to be the host to clean up after the party. That is what will happen now. The guests leave and nature will clean up.

  7. 12 Linda from Italy
    December 11, 2009 at 14:38

    Maybe I’m a bit thick but this seems to be a cart before horse approach – everyone stumps up cash and then someone decides what to do with it. Like going to your bank manager for a loan without working out a business plan beforehand.
    Things that need to be done:
    Rich high-carbon emitters have to make drastic emissions cuts and invest in the switch to clean energy – that will cost them a lot of money, but may have positive economic spin-offs in new jobs. Internal investment, not hand-outs.
    Developing high-carbon emitters ALSO have to make the switch, but given that their populations are in dire need of investment in social services and the infrastructure needed to deliver these, that takes internal political will. China in particular has an enormous stash of dollars (sovereign wealth fund?) which should go straight into creating that for a start. Technology transfer in the form of relaxing rules on commercial patents and the free exchange of expertise will help them to achieve the cuts they too must make to make any of this worthwhile. No direct hand-outs but acceptance that some things have been transferred to the not-for-profit sector.
    If these 2 categories cut their emissions sufficiently, that leaves the underdeveloped nations many of whom will be (are?) the first to suffer the effects and who currently emit little carbon, although many of them are devastating their own environments without any help from climate change.
    A plan of action is needed for each of these country, an estimate made of the cost of that action, then the money can be raised and doled out, but with proper control systems implemented to check it doesn’t go “astray”.
    Seems somewhat nore logical – or have I missed something?

    • 13 Ronald Almeida
      December 11, 2009 at 16:40

      Are we all just going to be advisers or as individuals going to do something about it? Reminds me a lot of govt’ employs in my country, India. There will be one man working and ten watching, correcting and advising him.

  8. December 11, 2009 at 14:46

    This is a silly question. There need not be a bill. IF you want to solve the climate change problem, change your own policies. The poor countries could choose to produce products that stem from more environmentally responsible manufacturing techniques. I highly doubt they will as it will leave them much more disadvantaged in the global market place.

    The ehhm, “wealthy countries” could simply require anything they import to be manufactured to the standards they require of their own country. If you want to sell goods to the US then your factory must conform to the same constraints that a factory in the US must adhere to. If we feel it is improper to billow plumes of noxious gases out of our stacks here, it doesn’t make it any less immoral just because it is on the other side of some man designated border. If this also helps our economy regain some of its footing, then all the better. If below standard factories have no demand for their product, they will cease to exist.

  9. 15 Guido
    December 11, 2009 at 14:53

    Why do we always speak about helping nations or the industry, and not about helping people? What happens to farmers in regions affected by climate change?

  10. 17 derrick kwashie from ghana
    December 11, 2009 at 14:53

    Hello ros.
    Of course the developed countries should pay. But frankly I suspect the developed world is just trying to buy off the rapid progress some developing countries like china, brazil and india are making.
    It is selfish and cynical on the part of the developed countries to demand of developing countries to cut greenhouse gases,when it is these very gases that have made them developed. And for centuries they have polluted the atmosphere with these gases, yet they themselves are not prepared to cut their levels of pollution. Iam no climate change sceptic, but i have my personal reservations about the overall intentions behind these climate change thing. I suspect the climate change fuss is a clever, tacit and diabolical way of restricting the growth of developing countries. I say this, very mindful of the fact that: first current technologies are carbon-fuel driven; second, developing countries have for ages been the market for the developed world( it’s simple, developed coutries would lose their market in the developing countries and, to emerging giants like china and india). third the so called green technology, as far as I know is new. It’s not been very much tried and tested to be certain, if it can help accelerate the growth of developing countries. The green technology is at best on trials in the developed countries.

  11. 18 Guido
    December 11, 2009 at 15:03

    I think the discussion who should foot the climate change bill goes in the wrong direction. We should not discuss which county pays how much, we should find a global solution.

    What about a global CO2 tax? The income can be managed by an international (UN?) organisation. This guarantees that the money is not used for the interests of the donating nations, like much of the developing aid.

  12. 19 Luci Smith
    December 11, 2009 at 15:10

    As a Dane, I am getting a tax-free gift of 1300 dkr. from my Government next year to help offset the ‘green’ costs of living , i.e. my electricity and heating bills. Of course, this is a political ploy, but as a member of one of the wealthier countries, I believe that it is my duty- and my country’s duty – to help out those who are less fortunate like Tuvalu.

  13. 20 Ronald Almeida
    December 11, 2009 at 15:24

    Everyone who lives on this planet in one way or another before mother nature forces them to do so.

  14. 21 Ronald Almeida
    December 11, 2009 at 15:38

    My country India, or at least the one I live in today, I am sure the biggest culprits of pollution without a doubt. Now they have got some money from the Western countries, it will all go straight in to the pockets of the govt. officials. For India is also one of the most corrupt. I just hope those countries who contributed to the fund will also contribute enough effort to monitor its use. Otherwise it will only cause more pollution not only to the environment but also to human minds.

  15. 22 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    December 11, 2009 at 15:57

    EVERYBODY will suffer from Global Warming, so EVERYBODY should pay. Polluting nations should work to cut down emissions, and pay to address the damage they have caused. Developing nations must get a handle on population growth.

    While we’re pointing our fingers and metting out blame, the glaciers and ice caps will still be melting, and sea level will inexorably rise. We’re all in this together. As Benjamin Franklin pointed out in the 18th Century, we must all hang together or we shall surely hang separately.

  16. 23 guykaks -nairobi
    December 11, 2009 at 16:21

    I feel equally concerned that we are the ones to pay the monies.Each person,young and old who contributed to this mess.But on the contrary,we should give priority to the worstly affected areas especially Africa!

  17. 24 Josiah Soap
    December 11, 2009 at 16:28

    I am not sure that any policies in the developed and/or developing nations of who should foot the bill or how to change carbon emissions will have any effect until we look at root causes.

    Even if we cut emissions, or charge higher rates to carbon producers we are forgetting the world population is set to increase by several billion more people in the next few decades. Developed countries have stable or shrinking populations, however, most developing nations are still breeding like bunnies! In the future their carbon footprint will increase. Instead of talking about bills maybe we should think about family planning education before anything else.

  18. 26 Dan
    December 11, 2009 at 16:42

    Excuse me but paying for what!!??
    Any Government or the U.N. that gets its grubbly little hands on money from around the world will squander it on lining bureaucrats pockets.
    The UN has become a body of fatted old bureaucrats that walk around saying “Harrumph-Harrumph” but accomplishing little of substance, witness Iran & North Korea, their Peacekeepers are a joke and abuse of women rises under the UN’s watchful eyes.
    The world working together, sharing technology, allowing innovation to flower and taking advantage of the best that each country has to offer not only will solve the ills caused by the natural cycle of the climate but will result in better cooperation with countries reducing tension and the potential for conflict.
    Throwing money at the problem is what the liberals love to do so they feel good but little of substance is accomplished and in any event they are off to the next item on their agenda of reproducing paradise (but making things worse).

  19. 27 Kevin PE
    December 11, 2009 at 16:46

    Firstly it’s not about who should pay, but about pay for what? At this moment I don’t know of any available technology that is ready or able to take over from existing power producing units. Wind and solar can only offer auxiliary input at this stage and even if quadrupled, then quadrupled again will hardly make any significant contribution, other than physiological appeasement. Some of the other technologies suggested are mostly even less efficient and decades away from deployment. So the only short to medium term solution is to adapt existing engineering to be much more efficient and less polluting. Now, the cost: Surely that can only be evenly distributed by an additional “green tax” to be added in the same manner as sales tax. The more you buy, the more you use, the more you pay. One thing I am certain of though is that an awful lot of money is going to “disappear” and we are going to spawn a new elite group of “green billionaires.”

    • 28 Tom K in Mpls
      December 15, 2009 at 02:51

      The only currently viable technology to replace oil and coal power is nuclear. This is why Iran wants their facilities. And why others sell fear to stop them. They do not have the means to effectively deliver nukes, nor could they survive the backlash. They know this.

  20. 29 Stodart Kampala
    December 11, 2009 at 16:50

    I think it’s policies and humanity life change that is important than thinking of who is to foo the Bill, China, USA and India it’s high time they change their climate acts and policies, countries like Uganda, Nigeria need only education which needs just little facilitation fee, as they have been doing to poverty reduction.

  21. 30 Andrew in Australia
    December 11, 2009 at 16:53

    We should all foot the bill. There should be no doubt about that. While in the past the richer nations have done their share of the damage developing nations such as China and India are doing their level best to exceed what the west had done in the past century and they are accomplishing this easily.

    We all live on this planet and to say, well we aren’t going to do anything because you did it first does not absolve anyone of their responsibility. And this childish blame game is meaningless if those nations feel they are entitled to do as they will simply because ‘we’ had ‘our go’ first and now it is their turn. In the end they will lose as well, if not worse considering their massive populations.

    One person in a sinking boat simply can’t think I wont bail the boat because the other one isn’t, yet that is the mentality. Besides which, in light of what we now know, developing nations who feel entitled to do the wrong thing as we had done at an accelerated pace should know better and be penalised accordingly for going down that road.

  22. December 11, 2009 at 16:54

    Maybe this is the next step in “living global”… every person should do his / her part toward our world-common-good. The developed nations should contribute $ and technology, the developing nations should assure transparency in the use of the contributions. In addition, a new climate of respect will be required… the developed nations are not the “bosses”, but the facilitators. The developing nations are not getting a hand-out, but are receiving the means to put to practice the Best Practices Methods that will work for them in their situation. It will also require the honest sense of being a citizen of the world as much as a citizen of a nation or of a group within that nation. Parochialism is the disease we must overcome, if “global” is going to work, socially, politically AND environmentally.

  23. 32 stephen/portland
    December 11, 2009 at 17:09

    Who should pay?

    I am thinking “Tiger woods”

  24. 33 Bert-Caribbean
    December 11, 2009 at 17:11

    As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, the answer MUST BE:

    1)The Industrialized Nations Who put the most Rubbish into the Atmosphere!
    2) the fastest growing (economic and population) developing countries,who are following the Industrial Country’s Concept of development.

    Who else is supposed to do it.

    My 87-year old Mother always told us: “We don’t have a maid in the house, So you clean up your own mess!!”

    That concept is still very valid!

  25. 34 Tom in the U.S.A.
    December 11, 2009 at 17:17

    The idea of having “rich” countries give financial assistance to “developing” countries seems like a bit of a cop out. I also oppose it on constitutional grounds. I don’t see how the U.S. government has a right to disperse my tax dollars in this way. Instead, each country should focus on controlling its own carbon emissions. Each country should be held accountable to specific goals.

  26. 35 John in Salem
    December 11, 2009 at 17:18

    There is no easy “flat tax” solution to this but it makes sense for the developed nations to pay the most because we’ve been getting a relatively free ride at the expense of the poorer countries for a long time. When you consider that this is really about damage control – we can’t change how our past behavior is going to affect the future – it’s in our best interests to make and keep as many friends as we can. In the second half of this century there is literally going to be billions of hungry people on the move for higher ground and if we don’t do everything we can now our great-grandchildren are going to be on the menu.

  27. 36 Gary Paudler
    December 11, 2009 at 17:19

    The Maldives or Bangladesh or Haiti could hardly have smaller carbon footprints; if they did nothing, they would remain responsible for a very tiny fraction of climate-changing emissions. They will, however, with many other undeveloped countries, bear the most immediate brunt of climactic effects and it is incumbent upon the wealthier nations to share the cost of mitigating or offsetting those dire effects.
    Ultimately, I believe that increased efficiency will make adapting to the imperatives of a carbon-neutral economy result in a net saving of money, so countries like India and China, with robust industry, should be able to finance their own transitions. Most European countries, the US and others have profited handsomely for centuries by exploiting the resources of the rest of the world and it is entirely appropriate for them to bear much of the cost of the solutions that will benefit us all. There are, of course, countries with their hands out looking for free money and it will be to the detriment of the planet if money is just shoveled willy-nilly without accountability like the Wall Street bailout. What international organization can take on the administration of whatever funds are forthcoming?

  28. 37 Peter Gizzi UK
    December 11, 2009 at 17:41

    The polluters should pay but it will be us the taxpayers who actually pay while politicians will continue to pollute squandering our money finding excuses to fund conferences on unproven theories.

    The temperature here in my living room is 65 Deg F. Outside it is 44 Deg F. I’ve got used to lower temperatures and am quite comfortable. How many do as I do?

    In Roman Times it was possible to grow grapes for wine making in The UK as far north as York. Did they cause the temperature rise?

    Finally JOSIAH SOAP mentions the world’s increasing poppulation. I agree this has to be reduced. I we do nothing nature will. We are still part of the animal kingdom. We too could become extinct

    • 38 Tom K in Mpls
      December 15, 2009 at 02:58

      The taxpayer are as much a part of the pollution as anyone. And those that pollute the most, pay the most. As for politicians, they justify their worth by the projects they get money spent on. That will never change.

  29. 39 archibald
    December 11, 2009 at 17:49

    The polluters should pay, from every country, large or small. If you are contributing to global pollution beyond your garbage service, you should be paying, all the way up to the biggest companies on the global stage. This is a private sector problem, not a governmental one. Making it political will only make it take longer.
    Alternately, send the bill to DAN

  30. December 11, 2009 at 18:02

    According to the BBC,no country has yet recieved any money from the UN fund,set up after Kyoto,to tackle CO2 emissions,and that was eight years ago.Now you want to know who is going to pay present day estimates.According to the above we shall have return ten years hence to see who got what,or indeed,if anyone got anything.

    Who is going to pay? Whether you believe GW or not,once the politicians get their hands on it everyone will pay.Third world can’t pay won’t pay,so who is left? Get your wallets out and watch your money disappear into a bottomless pit.

  31. 41 Paul Harbin-Waco,Tx
    December 11, 2009 at 18:02

    Everyone that can should. The first problem with human beings is figuring how to get them to believe anything. Apparently even god has this issue. You know, people think it’s ok to raise taxes on smokers, drinkers, etc to help adjust for the additional healthcare they need. Well it’s time to raise taxes on the companies that produce evironmentally unhealthy products.

    The people that tell you that the earths climate has changed for billions of years on a cycle forget, we are larger and larger part of that cycle every year. People like that should be put on a small island that is forced to support more people every year. It is not just the temperature, it’s everything in the environment. Ocean c02 levels are beginging to affect the breeding capacity of some ocean species.

    The biggest problem is, people don’t want to believe that their “good life” could have anything to do with it. Most people are in denial because they either don’t want to let go of thier stuff, or they are too good to have been doing anything wrong.

    Sounds a lot like God’s “problems” with humanity as well, go figure.

  32. 42 chinaski in LA
    December 11, 2009 at 18:25

    Why not impose a world tax. Lets get this New World Order rolling.

  33. 43 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    December 11, 2009 at 18:27

    @ Josiah: We’re on the same page here. Important as it is to cut emissions, it is equally important to control population growth. Developed nations have massive emissions, but low birth rates. Developing nations (a term I object to: too many “undeveloped” nations have made no development plans or progress and cannot be reasonably considered as “developing”) have enormous birth rates.

    Rich and poor, north and south. The “Rich” nations are called upon to change their habits, but the poor ones are not. Just last week Bangladesh said it wants to ship out 20,000,000 million refugées of climate change. It wants developed nations to accommodate them. Bangladesh wants developed nations with “replacement” birthrates to accommodate environmental refugées from a nation where half a dozen or more children is the norm.

    This is not parity. Whatever the transgressions of the devolped world in the past, whatever the uncontrolled birthrate of undeveloped countries is in the present, we are all in this together. The longer it takes us all to find a common denominator, the more we will all suffer.

    • 44 Josiah Soap
      December 11, 2009 at 19:09

      I think that you have also brought up a good point. If sea levels do rise even slightly there are going to be tens, if not hundreds of millions of refugees, mainly from ‘undeveloped” nations. You then open a whole can of worms on immigration issues and you only need to look at the problems in Europe with just a few million immigrants. One only has to look at the calamity caused by hurricane Katrina (were tens of thousands only were affected) to know that we have a potential global war if this happens. Assuming that there may be refugees towards the end of the century we must see that these countries also participate in global recovery. If developed nations change habitats and recycle and reduce, then poorer nations must also reduce birth rates substantially. The over-population problem doesn’t really receive much attention as it did 50yrs ago because most of the increase is now coming from developing nations and these days its not PC to talk about such things.

      However, if we want to reduce our use of resources and reduce CO2 emmisions we first must reduce population and its the developing nations that must comply with these measures.

  34. 45 Tom K in Mpls
    December 11, 2009 at 18:45

    It is not a matter of pay. It is a method of developing. A way to reduce waste. A means of saving money. The science of building better systems should be made available to all ( no trade barriers ) while not bankrupting those with the ability to develop it. It is not wise to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

    most people/companies/communities/nations give according to their abilities to those around them that are in need. What would you think of having someone tell you, you will regularly donate a fixed amount of money to someone they feel is needy without considering your needs?

    This is a case where we all must do what we can together with each of us being responsible for ourselves with full consideration of others.

  35. 46 Alan in Arizona
    December 11, 2009 at 19:06

    To be honest. So much of what we hear is hard for most people to really wrap their brain around. One of my responsibilities at work is dealing with all of the Environmental aspects of my company including disposal of hazardous material and all of the reporting that goes along with it. Most of what I force myself to listen to about Copenhagen in the news and on a few shows I watch is just a bunch of meaningless Gobbledegook! To me it’s just more rhetoric from the Technocrats wheeling and dealing for money.

    All the talk of Carbon Foot Prints and Cow Gas gives most people brain farts trying to comprehend it. Mostly because the real people think of the actual aspects of the environment and the pseudo-normals at the Copenhagen meeting are trying to grasp the big picture, but can’t see the forest because the trees are in the way.

    I think they should address the problems by looking at each pollution issue. Consider the alternatives in rectifying the pollution source. Choice the best and most cost effective method to fix or control the problems. Then worry about funding.

    At this point it seems they are just playing a game of Monopoly and seeing who can end up with the most monies at the end of the game.

  36. 47 Frank in the USA
    December 11, 2009 at 19:16

    Now you know what the entire global warming hoax is all about:

    money money money money money money money money money money money money money money.

    • 48 Paul Harbin-Waco,Tx
      December 11, 2009 at 19:49

      You almost have it right Frank, it’s about old industry not wanting to let go of “their” money and giving way to new industry that actually cares how it makes it’s money. I mean what’s wrong with lead paint, let’s start spraying kids toys with that stuff again, it’s cost effective.

      Everyone wants a better world with more money, but nobody wants to pay for it. I am begining to think a better world would have absolutely nothing at all to do with money and it’s value or not.

  37. 49 Dan
    December 11, 2009 at 19:18

    Listen to your guests they are NOT interested in solving the problem. In stead they are coming up with ways to get their hands on the money.

  38. 50 Paul
    December 11, 2009 at 19:18

    First off, talk to any geologist and you will soon learn that climate change has been occurring for millions of years- including when the human population was zero. So humans are not necessarily to blame. In this day and age, ‘mother nature’ changing things is deemed unacceptable. We really need to learn that the earth is evolving, as it always has, and we should adapt accordingly. That is not just the duty of developed countries, it is the duty of every person living on earth.

  39. 51 Robert Sakovich
    December 11, 2009 at 19:19

    As I sit here in central Alberta in anticipation of a weekend with daytime highs in the minus 20 to minus 30 celsius range, I know I could use a bit more gorebull warming.
    The reality is we need to heat our homes in Canada. I do not wish to send money to some tropical country for that “privilege”. Nobody has explained how sending billions of euros or dollars to poor nations will change anything.
    And why use the words “climate change”? Why the attempt at deception? What you really mean is human caused global warming. There is zero discussion of cooling. Except when mentioned in leaked e-mails in regards to attempts to hide the decline at the CRU.
    Finally, this whole anthropogenic global warming is a fraud. It is all about wealth transfer and control, nothing to do with climate at all. Let’s not forget that it was Enron that was among the first proponents of things like cap and trade.

  40. 52 Trent West
    December 11, 2009 at 19:19

    To whom is this money going to be paid? And what am I the American tax payer going to benefit from this? I think we should look forward here not backwards because I am not sure the American congress is going to approve any funds to pay for the crime of the industrial revolution. Some of these poor countries are too corrupt any way I wouldn’t want to give them a dime.

  41. 53 Will
    December 11, 2009 at 19:26

    How can we in the developed world expect developing countries to stall their development? Historically, development has meant the establishment of colonies for the purpose of resource exploitation. Colonization has concentrated the vast majority of the world’s wealth in a handful of nations. Our consumerist system has driven unprecedented economic growth, leading to a sickening overabundance of luxury in developed nations. How can we push for globalization, but walk away from cooperation when it does not enrich the powerful?

  42. December 11, 2009 at 19:29

    Let us keep our money and spend it on nuclear power stations,whilst developing alternative energy.That would solve a lot of the emissions problems.

  43. 55 Tom K in Mpls
    December 11, 2009 at 19:30

    Assuming ocean rise estimates are correct, and not meaning to deny the cost and problems it will cause poor nations, think of this. What will it cost New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans and the state of Florida? What about the Netherlands? Nobody rates more attention than anyone else, all will loose.

  44. 56 Nicole
    December 11, 2009 at 19:31

    Why is the question which countries are going to pay for this? Shouldn’t the question be, how energy corporations are going to use their profits to change the means with which they provide energy to their customers? I know my electricity isn’t provided by the government and the lifestyle changes of individuals would barely ripple the pool. The governments of the countries in question should be imposing emissions restrictions on electric powerhouses rather trying to scrounge up money to try and bribe them to act a bit greener.

  45. 57 Todd in Atlanta
    December 11, 2009 at 19:39

    Ha, ha…
    Sorry you have to be in the booth by yourself, Ross, but, you’ve been a great host of this show over the years, I’m sure it will still be engaging.

    To comment on the question, since climate change is affecting the world, I do feel that the developing world should be assisted in a major way.

    Even though this will be a costly venture throwing money at the problem is too simplistic, for such a multi-faceted issue. As a Nigerian, my concerns for Africa run deep, since mindless corruption of the leaders there will definitely be a major hinderance. Because of its climate and resources, Africa can truly be a leading force in shaping the future development of green technology solutions, solutions which can possibly lift developing nations out of their dire situations, Getting developing populations educated, informed, and trained to the degree they are positioned to tackle the climate issues on their own is key. That way, new technologies and green economies can be grown, and I will always support any fundingy that goes strictly in that direction.

  46. 58 Tom K in Mpls
    December 11, 2009 at 19:44

    One guy on air says that ‘it doesn’t mean that the money has to be screwed down and to apply the money to projects that make a difference…’ and nobody questioned this?

  47. December 11, 2009 at 19:48

    It’s like a Mexican stand-off on a sinking boat.

    Somebody’s gotta plug the hole, but nobody wants to be the first to lower their gun. Coordinating the required stand-down between over a 100 countries was never going to be easy.

    Who should foot the bill? Everybody will end up footing the bill in the end anyway. But some are going to have to take on a greater burden initially. There are only so many countries that currently have the money to do that.

  48. 61 Dan
    December 11, 2009 at 19:54

    They prove that Global Warming is a MYTH as all they talk about is money, taking money, redistributing money and nothing but MONEY

    Not one has proposed solving the (alleged) problem!!!…and they cannot as none of them can think past the MONEY.

  49. 62 Kareem
    December 11, 2009 at 19:54

    I think both developing and developed nations should bear the costs of climate change.

  50. December 11, 2009 at 20:36

    i can’t even believe this question is being asked? those who r responsible for the position we ve found ourselves in now of course. the u.s, china, europe, russia,india who else?

  51. 64 Thomas Murray
    December 11, 2009 at 21:16

    This answer’s so easy I’m surprised those genius’s in Copenhagen haven’t thought of it.

    Countries who demonstrably get their population growth under control should be eligable for aid. Naturally, this leaves China and Europe in the loop.

    But India’s going to have to get its act together before they should expect a handout. I mean, if high-population growth countries can’t control themselves, foreign assisters should just bypass the middle man, and throw their cash directly into the Ganges.

    How about tax penalties for each child past the first one?

  52. 65 Kevin PE
    December 11, 2009 at 21:42

    Something isn’t right here; the monetary figures your guests at Copenhagen were putting out do not add up. $10 billion spread out among less developed countries for now, isn’t diddly squat for what is needed to tackle this problem. Most of this would not even make it past the first two layers of officialdom and corrupt bureaucrats. So why this arbitrary number? Every bit of research I have looked at comes in at $Trillions to be realistic. I am now beginning to have suspicions that this whole exercise in Copenhagen is just a money collecting racket organized by the followers of Karl Marx. Nowhere have I seen or heard of solid scientific proposals at alternative energies other than just mentioning the name. The reasoning, I suspect, is that these delegates know full well there aren’t any (at this time) and anyway it’s not their job. They also know if the actual cost of conversion (to what?) becomes public knowledge the hype and good intentions will disappear faster than (fill in your own favorite here). Naa, naa, na – I want to see physicists, engineers and such come up with the proposals and numbers.

  53. 66 vijay pillai
    December 11, 2009 at 22:08

    I think all the countries have to bear teh brunt of reducing climate change whether newly developing or very poor and Form a climate change fund and give fund for those genuinely reducing like prepard to abandon cutting trees by adopting new life style and so on.

  54. 67 Roberto
    December 11, 2009 at 22:27

    RE “” First we need to understand and accept that the change in climate is beyond the ability of humans to affect or correct. “”

    ———- So, we understand that you would volunteer to live next to a waste dump and drink contaminated water then, since nothing can be done.

    And heat your home with charcoal fired grills to simulate the massive amount of carbon produced in a closed system, the earth.

    Or you can ditch the quaint little 20th century spewing anachronisms and accept the 3rd millennium environmental controls on production and development.

  55. 68 Jack Hughes
    December 11, 2009 at 22:33

    Why not make voluntary contributions ?

    People who believe this stuff can pay whatever they feel is right. The rest of us spend our own money on whatever we like.

    For me that’s gonna be heli-skiing this year in the fantastic ski season that has already started.

  56. 69 claudine
    December 12, 2009 at 01:50

    Instead of paying money to countries affected by climate change just to clear their conscience they should pay money so that all that climate change doesnt happen or that the effects are minimised.
    It also doesnt help to pay e.g. Chad millions to that Chad doesnt create green house gasses but the country tat pays can produce more of them instead.

    It also doesnt help if all counties wait for other countries to make the first step.
    If they dont do it we also will not do it.

    Where are we? In a sand box?

  57. 70 T
    December 12, 2009 at 06:23

    The big countries who are responsible for much of this problem should pay.

  58. 71 Maxine
    December 12, 2009 at 07:29

    I am cheered up by the many good comments here. So we are not all fooled, I hope our government representatives read these comments. Who should foot the Climate Change Bill? would this mean that those same corrupt governments that have squandered and pocketed the billions of dollars that have been given to them as Aid be tanked up again. Not my dollars I hope.

  59. 72 Kevin PE
    December 12, 2009 at 11:07

    I am sorry to keep harping on this issue, but since the projected effect of GW is of paramount importance to mankind, I have to take umbrage with the dismissive manner a few of the guests have to the misappropriation of aid. After all what it comes down to, is cash, and lots of it. Many have lamented on this blog that the poorer nations are that because of the greedy exploitation of the west. To an extent some blame is warranted, but a far larger cause is simply gross mismanagement, large scale corruption and dare one say it – incompetence. There is no reason why many sub-Saharan countries cannot be self sufficient; indeed they are not BECAUSE of the continual hand – outs that continue to foster a culture of dependency. I am sorry if I ruffle a few feathers, but Africa must be MADE to take responsibility for its future, without the misguided interference of western bleeding hearts. It is actually a disservice, as why would any country invest heavily in their own research and developmental institutions when all they need are a few TV crews and some disturbing pictures to open foreign wallets. Global co-operation in managing the effects of GW is required and necessary, but it must be handled in a strictly businesslike manner with serious enforceable accountability. Anything less and they will have to pry open my wallet with a crowbar.

  60. 73 Togo Kasoro
    December 12, 2009 at 13:53

    Climate costs:-the brunt should be done by Britain first and the rest of the Industrialized nations that used all their Oak trees,then went down and started using coal,next was the oil etc…African countries had to be kept at bay from using energy resources so that the Western countries had enough to complete industrialization. Now when the rest of the world begins to industrialize ..its the 1st countries who begin to worry about climate change. Let Britain and its allies meet the costs so as to enable other countries enjoy the benefits of development. Countries like DR Congo deserve a lot of Carbon credit for having the biggest forests. One South American country has opted to stop drilling oil,and instead get Carbon Credit equal to the value of the oil deposits.Developing countries should just stop playing delaying tactics to please their Industrial magnates at the expense of the globe.
    Togo Kasoro

  61. 74 Andrew in Australia
    December 12, 2009 at 15:07


    Seriously Dan, where is your proof? You make such strong assertions that it is false, humans cannot affect the climate or the world, etc. Where is your proof and don’t quote nonsense from conspiracy websites. Do you somehow know better than those trained in climate sciences, work in that area?

  62. 75 Yoshiteru Yanagita
    December 12, 2009 at 20:21

    Of course all countries should cooperate in making progress in preventing global warming and decreasing the emission of green-house gas.My country,Japan,seems to be quite behind other (especially developed) nations in this international effort.Global warming is what must be prevented definitely so that we can continue to live in the normal temperature.My country must also try to catch up with other developed countries,which seem to have already introduced so-to-speak clean materials such as electoric cars and wind-mill power plant far better,as soon as possible.

  63. 76 Ali Sadjady
    December 13, 2009 at 13:49

    To over come the problem of Global warming use of renewable energies should replace use of fosile feul. I suggest a sales tax tarrif to be imposed on producers of fosile feuls by the U.N. and the revenew to be spent on development of renewabe energies,i.e. solar, wind, wave,deep ground , deep sea etc. This way rising cost of fosile feul due to this taxation would decrease the consumption while exploring the new sourses of renewable energy would reduce its cost. Of course producers of fosile feul should have the option to use this tax in their country for research and development on renewable energy under the supervision of the U.N.

  64. December 13, 2009 at 17:52

    ….the rich of course. Even if we wanted to, the poor have no money to foot anything- not even their daily meal bill

  65. 78 PaulAtTheRocks
    December 13, 2009 at 21:37

    The only sure fire way to cut emissions is for the big decisions to be enforced on the public. Yes – To nuclear power, yes – To Wind turbines in your back yard, yes- To the Severn barrage, yes -To limits to MPG available motor cars & miles per year ration card, Yes- To limits to the number of children per couple. Yes – limits to flights per person. Doesn’t sound a very nice future does it.

    So maybe the first decision is to do away with democracy & human rights!

    The problem arises with the international aspect of enforcement, it just isn’t going to happen globally.

    The only way for any chance of a way forward is to tax the polluting activities, and to get agreement to this internationally by sticking import tariffs on non complying states to punish them for non compliance.

    Let’s just hope the scientists haven’t got it all wrong.

  66. 79 T
    December 14, 2009 at 06:35

    The States need to reduce carbon emissions by more than 4%. But I really think it’s going to be a battle between the States and other countries like China and India. A complication for Obama. China is the States’ biggest creditor. How far is he willing to go (considering that China could stop buying debt at any time)?

  67. December 14, 2009 at 08:49

    A flood of sound information was submitted to this post from the very beginning, including the four main ingredients that contributed to the problems of the day, the month and the year.

    Money, power, greed and corruption being the cause, and Global Warming the bye product that may not be all bad, in fact quite a bit like the mythical apple, quite good in parts.

    Supporting the poor of the world is the right thing to do, but it should be seriously considered; that the people of this once rich and mighty nation are now on the same downward, slippery path that the poorer countries trod before us.

    Except of course that they did not increase their own National Debts by selling off their countries assets; and borrowing even more money to give to the poor in far away lands.

  68. 81 Ana
    December 14, 2009 at 10:57

    It really bothers me that all of these politicians are bickering over who should foot the bill. To me it seems very clear:
    1. work out what the ideal per capita CO2 emissions should be.
    2. use available data which indicates current CO2 levels per person
    3. over the next 40 year period, make goals (for the reduction in CO2 emmissions) for every ten years that bring each country closer to achieving the desired goal.

    This means that there is one overriding strategy, it is clear and just.
    It takes into account where each country is currently at and takes them on steady steps towards achieving a unified goal.
    I seem to be having trouble saying this clearly. i will try and provide an example
    Lets say the desired goal is to achieve 1.5 tons of CO2 emitted per capita, per year.
    Australia currently emits 20 tons of CO2 per year, while many developing countries hover around 1 to 2 tons per capita per year.
    For Australia to achieve this kind of target they would need to set smaller goals.
    Eg. by 2020 15 tons per capita, 2030 10 tons per capita, 2040 5 tons per capita etc.

    This to me is justice, and who can argue against the morality of justice?
    obviously there would be other considerations. for example:
    is the country remote – does it have higher transport costs? is it a small country with a small population? what does it need to export/import in order for the advancement of our world society…and so on.
    i am keen to hear if my ideas have any merit, or if they are lacking in understanding.

  69. 82 wintergreen
    December 14, 2009 at 13:34

    As this whole Hoaxenhagen thing is being done without any sort of democratic mandate I suggest the world leaders who sign away any money are held personably responsible for every penny. Let Gordon Brown and the rest of them foot the bill until such a time as they can provide evidence of man made global warming. Lets see how eager they are to throw away money when they are held personaly responsible for making the payments.
    I was never asked if I wanted to squander billions after billions. So let them pay,
    This is not being done in my name and I flatly refuse to pay anything towards this.

  70. 83 ajmal karimi
    December 14, 2009 at 17:02

    every disaster in the world comes because of the western countries and their technology we dont need technolog we dont need to go to the moon what we need is humanity and we need to live, lets travel on donkeys and camels as muslims do, thats the best way to live and let others live

    • 84 Kevin PE
      December 14, 2009 at 19:58

      I don’t really want to take the bait, but you can’t be serious. Then again we can save a mountain of cash. Oh and don’t forget to let your politicians know the help line has been disconnected.

  71. 85 Ronald Almeida
    December 14, 2009 at 17:05

    I never thought I’d love to hate the Brits the way I hate them now on.

  72. 86 Bert
    December 14, 2009 at 20:33

    Very unbecoming for those who habitually have outstretched hands to use this Copenhagen summit to stretch out once again.

    The supposed mess the industrialized nations have made of the ecosystem is what has made it possible to give all the foreign aid in the past century. Not to mention, a trade imbalance that favors some of the developing nations (typically in Asia rather than Africa). As long as developing nations have been beneficiaries, I don’t think it appropriate to pretend like they got nothing out of the past polluting technologies.

    Since reducing human-caused CO2 emissions will in fact not change the climate, our contribution being such a small fraction of the total, I would HATE to see good money get thrown down that bottomless pit. I’d much rather see money spent on reforestation, at home and abroad. And perhaps also on technologies needed to live in a warmer environment.

  73. 87 oreste assereto
    December 14, 2009 at 22:02

    Intelligent people must do the correct calculation based on several variables such as population (More for China than SIngapoure), Income per capita (more for Singapoure than for China , enviromental performance ( co2 emission etc) and pehaps % achievement toward envromental goals.
    Pehaps a weighted (multiplicative) index with those (and perhaps other indicators) would do.
    The request by poor and developing nations that the rich countries foot the bill is just another scam to get monery doing nothing, very much in vogue in the socialist minded UN where there is a consensus that the rich are bad guys.
    Politicians love it , because the mafia cut goes to their pockets.

  74. 88 T(no relation to T in N.Z.)
    December 14, 2009 at 23:28

    Now negotiations have been “suspended”. Why? Because the rich and powerful countries won’t give up their power over the smaller ones.

    Next, there’s talk about doing away with the Kyoto Treaty. What good would that do? That’s just an excuse for even more inaction on this. The corporations who pay all of the global warming skeptics are loving this.

  75. 89 T(no relation to T in N.Z.)
    December 14, 2009 at 23:52

    To everyone here who’s a global warming skeptic, try this. Set aside all think tank and political talking points for a moment. And consider a few points:

    Globally- More earthquakes, typhoons, and blizzards in the past few years than before. Melting ice caps. And this is all perfectly normal?

    If it is, then why does the U.S. govt. consider this a threat to national security?
    Why have millions of people worldwide been listening to Al Gore and his message? Is it only because he’s such a cool guy to hang with?

    Give up the talking points. And pay attention to reality.

    • 90 wintergreen
      December 15, 2009 at 15:32

      “Globally- More earthquakes, typhoons, and blizzards in the past few years than before. Melting ice caps. And this is all perfectly normal?”

      I would like to see evidence of this.

  76. 91 T(no relation to T in N.Z.)
    December 14, 2009 at 23:57

    Fallacy #2 for global warming skeptics. Many keep saying that it’s a plot by politicians to get rich. (And please, no Al Gore power bill jokes, ok)?

    In case you haven’t noticed, there’s still a global economic meltdown. Countries worldwide are pushing hard to get more taxes out of their population. Which means that offshore and Swiss accounts are being seized. Therefore, what good would it do for these people to try and get rich off a lie?

  77. 92 T(no relation to T in N.Z.)
    December 14, 2009 at 23:58

    If global warming is a lie, then why are millions of Australians so concerned about it? And taking steps to deal with it?

  78. 93 margaret
    December 15, 2009 at 03:43

    Well, the haves have to mostly pay for it–or rainforests and the like will continue to be cut down or burned by the “have nots”. It is my understanding that rainforests are a major “sink” for CO2 to be consumed by, not to mention they support some of the most biodiverse habitat on earth. I also think there are too many people on this planet for them to be safely supported, but I believe that is a minority view in my country. I have also heard that the global temperature tipping point may have already been passed per James Lovelock who wrote The Vanishing Face of Gaia– I also recommend Paul Ehrlich’s The Dominant Animal.

    Margaret Tacoma, WA USA

  79. 94 Vijay Pillai
    December 15, 2009 at 14:01

    reality of global warming is onething but how to alleviate it by taking concerted action instead of pushing developed nations into a corner to make them coff up as much as possibloe as being the main cuprits of global warming and co2 is another. Le us not forget cina and india are tow most populus nations and emmiting more co2 than most nations on earth and one cannot let them off to continue to pollute with no concern for reduction from them should not be acceptable to develop country tax payer.
    Impression one got at recent UN meeting was that china has accepted that it cannot sit back and blame the west and wanted to take leadeship in this co2 reduction role. But the reality seem to be a hushed up unity of so called G77-China group against developed country as far as one can make out.

    With no real deal in reserving the rainforest, chances are any legally bindijng agreement would not be in the interest of anyone at this rate except commitment for nest 5 years to see if all do their bits for reducing co2.
    If a developed naton think that by using co2 reduction as a chance for green economy, the political leaders are not realistic at all. one can see from need for more nuclear power and the wind and solar power share of energy of the future

  80. 95 Tom K in Mpls
    December 15, 2009 at 23:14

    This strikes me as one of the most effective and unbiased studies I can think of. They are all data geeks seeking perfection with no vested interest in what gets shown.


  81. 96 T
    December 16, 2009 at 02:16

    Here’s an example of how messed up the green movement is here in the States.

    In many European countries, gas per gallon is around $8. Yet, the fuel efficiency is much higher than in the States. if I want to buy a car in Europe and ship it to the States, current U.S. regulations prohibit that. Because it exceeds ” U.S. standards.”

    Now tell me that the Copenhagen summit will end in an agreement.

  82. 97 duckpocket
    December 16, 2009 at 16:57

    Whatever we may find ourselves able to do as a result of this dangerously over-inflated conference, the salient fact is that there are too many human beings on this planet for its, and for our own, good. On top of that a large proportion of us expect to maintain, or even radically improve our lifestyles and are blind to the future effects on our own offspring.

    A puritanical revival of startling proportions will be needed, if it is not to be forced upon future generations willy-nilly.

    This is a problem far larger than Global Warming and about which there is no room for doubt, whatever temperature the world may end up at.

    Did the dinosaurs ever have a conference at which they were incapable of coming to a practical solution? Because there was one.

  83. 98 viola
    December 16, 2009 at 20:07

    Everyone who profits from a world economy that only exists because carbon-based energy is used to farm, transport goods, produce goods, and provide air-conditioners in hot places and heat in cold places should pay for the cost of reducing global warming. That would not let poor countries off the hook, nor would it favor rich countries. Sometimes problems are overcomplicated on purpose because everyone has a vested interest to protect.

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