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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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Major Retailers Agree to Inspection Standards in Bangladesh

Two groups representing dozens of American and European retailers agreed to uphold considerably tougher standards on garment factories in Bangladesh.

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Bangladesh police fire tear gas in clashes with Islamists

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Bangladesh police on Tuesday fired rubber bullets and tear gas at supporters of the country’s largest Islamist party as they protested against a ban preventing it from contesting next year’s general elections. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Linking Factories to the Malls, Middleman Pushes Low Costs

The Hong Kong-based company Li & Fung is a matchmaker between poor countries’ factories and affluent nations’ vendors. But critics call it the garment industry’s “sweatshop locator.”

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Bangladesh Sentences Ex-Party Chief to 90 Years

A former Islamic party chief in Bangladesh was sentenced to 90 years in jail on Monday for crimes against humanity during the country’s 1971 independence war.

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Bangladesh top Islamist jailed for 90 years for war crimes

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A special Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced a top Islamist to 90 years in prison for masterminding atrocities during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan. Ghulam Azam, 90, the wartime head of the largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and now its spiritual leader, was found guilty of all five charges by the controversial International Crimes Tribunal. “He has been sentenced to 90 years in prison or until his death for the charges,” prosecutor Sultan Mahmud said. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Justice Elusive in a Bangladesh Factory Disaster

Bangladesh, where the garment industry powers the economy and wields enormous political clout, has struggled to hold its garment factory owners accountable for recent disasters.

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Obama to Suspend Trade Privileges With Bangladesh

The administration has come under intense pressure to suspend trade privileges with Bangladesh after one factory building collapsed in April and another burned in November.

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Hundreds of Bangladesh garment factory workers fall ill

<!– google_ad_section_start –> About 450 garment workers fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory near Bangladesh’s capital, and authorities said on Thursday the water supply was suspected. Investigators from the government’s health ministry were testing the water at the Starlight Sweater Factory for possible contamination, area civil surgeon Syed Habibullah said. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Legal Experts Debate U.S. Retailers’ Risks of Signing Bangladesh Accord

The plan to assure safety in factories, forged after a deadly collapse, could put American retailers at risk for litigation, some specialists say.

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23 hurt in shelter collapse at factory owned by Hong Kong firm

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A structure’s collapse in Cambodia’s capital injured 23 workers yesterday at a factory thought to be owned by a Hong Kong group and which produces garments for H&M, police said. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Li Keqiang visits New Delhi and vows to end disputes on border with India

<!– google_ad_section_start –> China and India agreed yesterday to launch a fresh round of talks to settle their long-running border disputes. They also pledged to draw up a roadmap to reach a “dynamic balance” in trade between the two emerging economic powers. We need to improve the border mechanisms…and make them more efficient Li Keqiang, Premier The announcements were made after Premier Li Keqiang held talks with officials including his counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Error spoils Hong Kong, Bangladesh racial tolerance data in survey

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Relax – Hong Kong and Bangladesh may not be as racist as suggested by the world map on racial tolerance published last week. The map, made by The Washington Post based on data from the World Values Survey, showed 71.7 per cent of Bangladeshis and 71.8 per cent of Hongkongers did not want a neighbour of a different race. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Relief as Cyclone Mahasen veers west and weakens

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Cyclone Mahasen weakened late yesterday into a tropical storm, causing far less damage than had been feared as it passed over coastal Bangladesh and spared Myanmar almost entirely. At least 18 deaths related to Mahasen were reported in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, but officials had prepared for a far greater storm. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Retailers sign up to accord on Bangladesh factory standards

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Labour umbrella groups Industrial Global Union and UNI Global Union yesterday praised top retailers for joining their drive to make Bangladesh’s garment factories safer, after 1,127 people died in a factory collapse last month. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Two die after ceiling collapse at Cambodia shoe factory

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A ceiling collapse at a factory making Asics trainers in Cambodia killed two workers yesterday, fuelling concerns about workplace safety following last month’s industrial disaster in Bangladesh. Local rescue teams, helped by soldiers, scrambled to search through the rubble of the fallen structure, which appeared to have been on a mezzanine level laden with crates of trainers. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Cyclone Batters Bangladesh as 1 Million Flee

Cyclone Mahasen struck the southern coast of Bangladesh on Thursday, lashing remote fishing villages with heavy rain and fierce winds that forced the evacuation of more than 1 million people.

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Cyclone Mahasen batters Bangladesh as one million flee

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The outer bands of Cyclone Mahasen struck the southern coast of Bangladesh on Thursday, lashing remote fishing villages with heavy rain and fierce winds that flattened mud and straw huts and forced the evacuation of more than one million people. The eye of the storm was expected to reach land Thursday evening, but at least 18 deaths related to Mahasen already have been reported in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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