At the current COP27 climate summit in Egypt, many people are pointing out how unfair it is that poorer nations are suffering the most while having done very little to bring on the problem. Climate change is the fault of the industrialized West, which is therefore morally obligated to pay “loss and damage” recompense.
I feel the power of this argument. One might quietly wonder, however, about the mathematics. If you consider the total impact of the industrialized West on the poorer nations of the world — a terrifying prospect — you see enormous negatives but enormous positives too, including the doubling of life expectancies. On balance, positive or negative? This question is so fraught, so tied to passions entirely understandable, that it’s hardly surprising it is never brought up for discussion.
[9 November 2022]