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Rich countries: Sure, climate change will screw poor countries, but what about us?

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The new report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights that we are already feeling the pain of global warming across the planet. Heat waves and drought are increasingly in rhythm in every major continent, including our own, while severe flooding is more frequently becoming the business in Africa. If you don’t want to read the IPCC’s 2,500-plus page report, here’s the shorter version: Climate fuckery is not futuristic; we have been fucking up the atmosphere; it is fucking us back. But, as I wrote recently, there are certain people — particularly those with large concentrations of melanin in their skin, and smaller concentrations of money in the bank — who are suffering more of that fuckery than their less-melanated, more-resourced counterparts. The IPCC’s latest makes note of this. Disturbingly, the report’s authors wanted to keep this critical information out of the much-shorter IPCC executive summary — the part that’s supposed to be the most accessible to the public and lawmakers. From New York Times reporter Justin Gillis: The poorest people in the world, who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming, will be high on the list of victims as climatic disruptions intensify, the report said. It cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries. The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders. It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during a days long editing session in Yokohama. The edit came after several rich countries, including the United States, raised questions about the language, according to several people who were in the room at the time but did not wish to be identified because the negotiations are private. The language is contentious because poor countries are expected to renew their demand for aid this September in New York at a summit meeting of world leaders, who will attempt to make headway on a new treaty to limit greenhouse gases. Many rich countries argue that $100 billion a year is an unrealistic demand; it would essentially require them to double their budgets for foreign aid, at a time of economic distress at home. That argument has fed a rising sense of outrage among the leaders of poor countries, who feel their people are paying the price for decades of profligate Western consumption. Those bolds are all mine. And before I elaborate, I have to add that it’s equally disturbing to me that this information came two-thirds of the way into Gillis’s article. Talk about burying the lede — this erasure is the story, but it was relegated to the story’s third act, meaning many people probably won’t read it. Back to the bolds, starting with the last one: Rich countries argue that $100 billion a year to shield poor countries from climate impacts is an “unrealistic demand.” I do not believe that if the World Bank said that Europe and U.S. will be destroyed without $100 billion in aid each year, that this would have been deleted from the IPCC summary. Arguing that they cannot afford to deal with the poor in the way that the world’s lead economists say they need to means rich countries do not truly understand what they’re up against. It means that they believe they will somehow be immunized from the kinds of violent uprisings over food, land, energy, and water that result when the poor — mostly people of color — are left out of the picture. It means they do not get what is already happening in Syria, the Ukraine, Taiwan, Mexico, and the Sudan, where forced massive migration and civil wars have already started over limited resources, arguably the result of climate change’s impacts. When rich countries can edit the poor out of the most important document on the gravest danger facing Earth, it means that they are not serious about addressing climate change. It means that climate mitigation funds will help protect millionaire beachfront condo owners in South Beach, but have yet to address how it will protect what’s left of Geechee families in South Carolina. Perhaps it even means that rich countries think their money is better spent on technology and “innovation” to shield themselves from climate catastrophe. And those tricks very well might shield some people from flooding, but it doesn’t shield the “poorest” from the kind of reckless capitalism that traps them in a perpetual state of vulnerability. This is an insult to nations who even with meager resources have already started making the difficult investments that their wealthier counterparts don’t have the courage to make. “Bangladesh has invested $10 billion of its own money to adapt to extreme climatic events,” said Dr. Camilla Toulmin, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development in a statement on the IPCC report. “Nepal is the first country to develop adaptation plans at the community level. It is time for the richer countries to pull their weight and do the right thing, by investing at home and abroad in actions that can reduce emissions and protect people and property from danger.” There is little today that says whiteness is supreme more than arguing that it is an “unrealistic demand” for nations with predominantly, if not exclusive, white leadership to pay what is necessary to protect the people of Africa, India, and South America from climate calamity they did not cause. The oppression, the bigotry, and the fuckery of that argument is that it allows rich countries to continue perpetuating unrealistic demands on the world’s “poorest” — those who “virtually have had nothing to do with” climate change. Chattel slavery was an unrealistic demand. Putting Latin American workers in the most dangerous farm and factory jobs, exposing them to pesticides, carcinogens, and other toxic elements so that Walmart can have “roll back” prices — these are unrealistic demands. Asking the poorest of communities to fend for themselves against unprecedented waves of heat, drought, and rising sea levels is an unrealistic demand. In my estimation, there are two things that will destroy us eventually if not resolved soon: white supremacy and climate change. These happen to both be things that the wealthy believe they can afford to ignore. It’s for this reason that the IPCC’s summary just may be their infamous last words.Filed under: Cities, Climate & Energy

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Shut Up About "Clickbait"

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Ninety-two years ago, a 34-year-old Chicago man named Joseph Wozniak woke up missing one of his balls, which had been surgically removed by hoodlums. Read more…

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Nepal’s Royal Cities Get a Facelift

Isabella Tree on the monuments, towering Himalayas, and million-plus deities of Nepal’s buzzing Kathmandu Valley.

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Gurkhas disrupt Darjeeling tea industry in West Bengal

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Its fragrant, delicately flavoured leaves have enthralled tea drinkers for generations, but stocks of Darjeeling are being threatened as India’s ethnic Gurkhas fight for a separate state in the hills of West Bengal. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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South Korea eases visa rules to attract more Chinese tourists

<!– google_ad_section_start –> South Korea, in an effort to boost its tourism industry, plans to ease visa restrictions for Chinese citizens, particularly those from Beijing and Shanghai. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Six pilgrims drown in swollen river in Nepal

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Six pilgrims drowned in northeastern Nepal Monday while trying to cross a rain-swollen river, becoming the latest casualties of heavy monsoon downpours, a local police official said. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Nepal bans chicken sales after bird flu outbreak

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Nepal on Thursday banned the sale of chicken after health workers found cases of bird flu at several poultry farms on the outskirts of the capital Kathmandu, officials said. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Bosnia reburies Srebrenica dead 18 years after massacre

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Bosnia reburied another 409 victims of the Srebrenica massacre on Thursday but, 18 years after Europe’s worst atrocity since the Holocaust, the country remains mired in ethnic disputes long after other parties to the conflict have moved on. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Judges reinstate second genocide charge for Karadzic

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic must stand trial on two counts of genocide, appeals judges at a war crimes court in The Hague said on Thursday, reinstating one count that had been struck down. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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US plan for Bangladesh factory safety ‘a sham’

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A plan developed by North American retailers including Gap and Wal-Mart to improve safety in Bangladeshi garment factories has been labelled a “sham” by workers’ rights groups. The two retailers are part of an alliance of 17 US and Canadian brands and retailers that have launched a five-year agreement as an alternative to a legally binding European accord backed by 70 international brands. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Down, out and waiting to be evicted

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Homeless people living under a flyover in Yau Ma Tei are worried that officials may come any time to grab their few belongings and force them out to make way for “greening work” and a park for pets. The 17 street sleepers who live under the flyover in Ferry Street received notices to move elsewhere early last month while about 200 heavy flower pots have been installed along the now partly fenced-off area. Mike, a 35-year-old Indian refugee who came to Hong Kong in 2007, set up home under the flyover three years ago. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Tibetans quietly mark Dalai Lama’s birthday in China

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The streets of Chabcha county in western Qinghai province were quiet on Saturday as Tibetan monks marked the Dalai Lama’s birthday in their homes, wary that any public celebration could endanger a tentative softening by Chinese authorities. Tibetans in China have always had to steer clear of public ceremonies revering their 78-year-old exiled spiritual leader who Beijing has denounced as a “wolf in monk’s robes”. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Suicide attack kills 12 police in south Afghanistan

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A suicide bomber killed 12 policemen in southern Afghanistan on Friday when he blew himself up inside a police station as officers ate lunch in a dining hall, officials said. The bomber targeted a base used to patrol the main road from Uruzgan province to neighbouring Kandahar, through one of Afghanistan’s most volatile regions where Taliban militants have a strong presence. “A suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a battalion station in Tirin Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan,” said Abdullah Hemat, the Uruzgan governor’s spokesman. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Beaten six-year-old boy trapped in ditch for two days

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A six-year-old boy was trapped in a ditch for two days without food and water after being beaten by three other boys in a Yau Ma Tei playground. The victim, of Nepalese origin, was found by police officers under a concrete ditch cover in a culvert near Ferry Street in Yau Ma Tei late on Monday. The ditch was about 0.6 metres deep and 0.6 metres wide. The city was lashed by rain for most of Monday, with up to 40mm of rainfall recorded in Kowloon. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Taliban attack on Kabul supply firm kills seven

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A Taliban truck bomb and gun attack killed seven people in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday, destroying the entrance to a Nato supply company’s compound in the latest insurgent attack to shake peace efforts. A plume of smoke rose above the scene in the city, where the Taliban has recently staged a series of bombings that have targeted the Supreme Court, the airport, the presidency and a CIA office. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Pilots, passengers need nerves of steel to land at Everest gateway Lukla

<!– google_ad_section_start –> As soon as the decades-old Twin Otter landed at Lukla airport, passengers burst into applause. They do that for nearly every safe landing at the often terrifying airport at the gateway to Mount Everest. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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India Ink: Police Arrest 3 in Gang Rape of American

On Thursday morning Himachal Pradesh Police arrested the men and seized the vehicle in which the alleged crime was committed.

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Conquering fears for a second time on Everest

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Despite seeing friends lose their lives to the mountains, one Hongkonger is facing his fears – and has just conquered Mount Everest for a second time. John Tsang Chi-sing has been climbing mountains for 22 years. In 2009, he was the third person from Hong Kong to scale the 8,848 metres to the summit of Mount Everest. This year, the 60th anniversary of man’s first ascent of the mountain, he has done it again. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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