23 January 2016

The New Yorker: “The Weight of the World”

The Saudis are sitting on a vast reserve of very cheap oil, she continued. Can you blame them for trying to protect that resource and that income for as long as they can? I don’t blame them. It’s very understandable. Let’s do a thought experiment. I come from a country that has only hydro and wind as power resources. If I had been born in a country with fossil-fuel reserves, would I have a different opinion about what’s good for the world? Maybe. Very likely, in fact.

I don’t want to put people into a black box and say, You’re the culprits, and point a blaming finger. It just helps absolutely nothing. Call it my anthropological training. Call it whatever. But I always want to understand: what is behind all of this?

Elizabeth Kolbert

As you may already know, last December a landmark agreement on climate change was signed in Paris. This is a profile (published months before the conference) of the Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, the woman leading the efforts to bring every country on Earth together on this major issue for our future. I find her attitude and approach very honest and refreshing – and that’s probably one of the big reasons she managed to pull a deal through this time around. Hopefully she and others with her commitment will remain in charge long enough for this agreement to materialize into concrete measures.

I asked what would happen if the emissions line did not, in fact, start to head down soon. Tears welled up in her eyes and, for a moment, she couldn’t speak.

Ask all the islands, she said finally. Ask Bangladesh. We just can’t let that happen. Do we have the right to deprive people of their homes just because I want to own three S.U.V.s? It just doesn’t make any sense. And it’s not how we think of ourselves. We don’t think of ourselves as being egotistical, immoral individuals. And we’re not. Fundamentally, we all have a morality bedrock. Every single human being has that.

Post a Comment