Leaked Memo Reveals U.S. Plan to Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change


Democracy Now has the video interview Leaked Memo Reveals U.S. Plan to Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change.

Newly leaked documents have revealed how U.S. negotiators at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw are opposing efforts to help developing countries adapt to climate change. According to an internal U.S. briefing memo seen by Democracy Now!, the U.S. delegation is worried the talks in Warsaw will “focus increasingly on blame and liability” and that poor nations will be “seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts.” We speak with Nitin Sethi, a journalist with The Hindu newspaper who first reported on the leaked document.


This seems typical of the U.S. strategy, say one thing in public, but be a roadblock in private, and here we are talking about a Secretary of State from a Democratic administration. Also we don’t want to allow messy lawsuits from people seeking that pesky concept called justice.

Also of interest is some talk about India’s role in climate change. The interview tries to mask, a little bit, the problem that India has as both a sufferer from climate change and a cause of climate change. Developing countries, rightly or wrongly, do not want their economic development constrained by rules that did not constrain the already rich countries when they were in a similar stage of development. Of course, we would all like to reap only benefits without taking on responsibility (as shown by the U.S. position). This is one reason this is such a tough issue to resolve.

Maybe this is the only way these international negotiations can work, but going in with a preconceived notion of what you want to get and what you are willing to give may prevent the discussion of the best and most equitable way to achieve the most success. For instance, if you wanted to achieve the least amount of global warming pollution, maybe the solution is to concentrate your efforts where the worst sources are. If some of those polluting sources are in or will be in developing countries, maybe the developed countries need to spend their money in helping the developing countries generate and use power more efficiently.

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