After the catastrophic typhoon that decimated the Philippines in early November, developing countries are seeing the reality of climate change, and they are looking for the countries responsible to pay up.
This will not be a cheap bill, as it is projected that there are over 10,000 deceased citizens due to this natural disaster. According to the Huffington Post, total monetary damages are expected to gross around $5 billion dollars. These sentiments were addressed during the United Nations Climate Summit held in Warsaw Poland. Developing countries are growing continuously impatient with the developed countries that are getting all the benefits of industrialization without any of the impacts.
"They must know how much they are actually responsible ... for the essential problem of climate change," said Raphael Azeredo, Brazilian negotiator.
A clear divide has emerged between developed and developing countries. In years past when climate change mitigation discussions have ensued, plenty of broken promises and false hopes were given from developed countries. For example, during the UN Warsaw conference, Japan rescinded their publicized climate emissions projection goal from 20% by 2020 to a 3% increase. The promises that countries make have no weight and therefore many countries do not keep their word.
Many have a simple explanation in response to the complaints from the developing countries; natural disasters are not directly connected with climate change. Although there has been scientific proof that there is a clear connection, there are other disasters that developing countries are preparing for that are directly caused by climate change.
The UN member state, Kiribati, is looking to relocate all of its citizens from their collection of 33 islands. According to scientists, due to sea level rise, the islands will be gone within the end of the century. It is even possible that within the next 20 years the fresh water supply will be contaminated, making this area simply unlivable.
Anote Tong, the president of Kiribati, is bewildered that he has to leave his home and he fully blames the United States and China.
“Yes, I have anger and frustration. I should say I had anger and frustration. But I’ve matured in a sense, because I’ve reconciled myself to some realities. I came to the conclusion that nobody listens to an angry person. You’ve got to be very rational. You’ve got to contain your anger and turn into practical solutions. I understand the realities of this world. People care about what affects them. They don’t care about things they don’t feel. But my anger is not going to make the United States and China stop burning coal.”
Not only are developing countries tired of the developed countries antics, but environmental groups are as well. On the second to last day of UN Warsaw conference, all environmental groups walked out saying in a joint statement that, “Enough is enough” and that they were going to focus their time and energy, “on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action.”
Hopefully these environmental groups have a good idea of how to accomplish this goal. This environmental justice case will eventually affect the developed countries, and by that time it may be too late to change. “Maybe 10 years ago, they didn’t know what they were doing. But it’s not an excuse any longer,” said Tong.