Climate Debt

Over the last couple of months, I have been hearing a lot about the idea of “climate debt,” especially with the recent conference on global warming in Copenhagen. I think this idea is ridiculous. Just so that we’re all on the same page, let me give you a brief overview of “climate debt.” Climate debt is the idea that wealthy, industrialized, or heavily populated nations (like the US, Canada, China, and India) emit more carbon dioxide into the air because those nations have more factories, more people breathing their nasty CO2 into the atmosphere, etc. Because these nations produce more pollutants that cause global warming, they should pay money (an internationally levied tax) into a fund that will go to small, undeveloped nations (who don’t emit as much carbon dioxide) who are supposedly harmed by global warming due to droughts, rising ocean levels, or other weather-related incidents.

Now, you may think that this all sounds lovely and fair; big wealthy nations looking out for small undeveloped nations. However, I can assure you that this makes no sense, for two main reasons.

1. Global warming (or, more accurately, human-caused global warming) is not “settled science,” despite what Al Gore wants you to believe. There are numerous scientists who argue that we are merely experiencing a weather cycle. Not only that, but average temperatures have actually been DROPPING since 1998, and the recent “Climategate” emails dredged up by a hacker cast doubt on whether the data that the global warming theory is based on was made up, dishonestly manipulated, or otherwise tampered with.

2. Let’s say for a moment that global warming IS real, and the US goes along with this climate debt deal. We pay money into a fund that will distribute the taxes we paid to third-world nations suffering from weather-related problems, to help the citizens of those countries make it through the rough patches. How does this money get to the citizens? Many of these nations (especially the ones in Africa) are victims of corrupt, evil governments that care only about amassing power and wealth in to the hands of an overlord and his immediate friends and family. The odds are pretty good that if we send these nations money, the people who need it will not see a single dime. Most of these governments are the real reason their people are suffering – not global warming. Of course the leaders of these nations are in favor of this plan. They get free money, while blaming their nation’s problems on other people.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t help nations in need. As Americans, we have a proud history of sending money, supplies, and personnel to nations that are suffering. Take the recent crisis in Haiti, for example. Americans sent millions of dollars in aid, as well as volunteers, tents, water, food, and other vital supplies. If we really want to help countries that need assistance, we as private citizens should donate to organizations like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. These groups do more good work than any government program could ever dream of accomplishing. Climate debt payments are not the answer to these nation’s problems – caring, concerned citizens around the world, who volunteer, donate their time and money, and pray fervently are the answer. Climate debt is, purely and simply, a scheme to redistribute wealth – nothing more.

What the Duck?

On my travels through the interwebs, I have come across several photos of large rubber ducks. I mean, REALLY large rubber ducks – like, the size of a house. Naturally, since I am a human being and lover of rubber duckies, this piqued my curiosity. Why is there a house-sized ducky floating near Osaka, Japan? What are this duck’s intentions? Who put him there? IS the duck a “him”? How can I get a huge duck to float down the Cumberland River in TN? Is there anything more awesome? Here are the answers to these questions that I have found:

This massive bathtime buddy is the brainchild of a Dutch artist named Florentijn Hofman. The ducky has appeared in several places around the world, including Osaka, Japan; Amsterdam; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and a few other places around Europe. According to Mr. Hofman’s website (http://www.florentijnhofman.nl/dev/), “The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!”

What a benevolent-sounding duck! Based on this information, however, it seems the duck is genderless, which in a way makes it seem a little more friendly. I don’t know if it’s possible to get the duck to visit me in Tennessee (we are probably not a metropolitan enough area), but if he should ever make an appearance, I will certainly be there.

A friendly, happy duck, with no political message – I think we could use more art like this – art just for the sake of making people smile, with no hidden agendas. The answer to the last question I asked is this” Clearly, there is nothing more awesome than a massive rubber ducky.

(I do not claim the rights to the picture above. I didn’t take the photo – I stole it off the internet)