The Climate Crisis: Who Should Pay For It?
Cayman Islands like most of the developing world is most affected by climate change but has contributed the least to the problem. Meanwhile, rich countries historically exacerbated the environmental crisis and grew wealthy as a result — but aren’t helping developing countries build climate resilience, which is now more crucial than ever to slowing climate change everywhere. Economist Avinash Persaud has an ambitious proposal to reimagine that dynamic: the Bridgetown Initiative, a groundbreaking vision of how rich countries can catalyze climate mitigation, contribute to loss and damages, and help build a sustainable future for all.
A TED EX presentation can be found here. https://www.ted.com/talks/avinash_persaud_the_climate_crisis_is_expensive_here_s_who_should_pay_for_it
Bringing on the real-life impact of climate change, Mr. Persaud highlighted the devastation wrought by the increasing frequency of hurricanes. He quoted from Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, after the passage of Hurricane Maria: “Dominicans have lost everything, money can buy in four hours.”
Dominica declared they will rebuild as the world’s first climate-resilient nation: “They dust themselves off, stand tall and resolute, and invite the world’s experts in. Turns out, the Dominicans have the real insights. We made a list of all the things they had to do in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and asked what they would have to do now so they wouldn’t have to do that next time around. And the answers kept on heading higher. Energy and health resilient systems. National and regional food security and then global, because there’s no real alternative to halting climate change.”
“The majority of greenhouse gas emissions, 63 percent and climbing, are now coming from developing countries…The rich say to the poor, “You need to ban emissions, tax carbon, shift into renewables and get with the programme.” But that would slow the growth of developing countries. They’d have to borrow a lot at high interest rates to invest in the new, decommission the old, find new jobs for old coal miners and more. And why should they? The rich cause global warming.
“I figured that the way to break this impasse is if we stop only looking at ourselves and make the cost of resilience so cheap, the flow of finance after a disaster so immediate, the green transformation of developing countries so profitable, that we turn reluctance into a scramble. There’s no extra time. We’re on countdown. And that is the essence of the Bridgetown Initiative.”