Thursday, April 9, 2015

Colombia, Climate Change Victim or Culprit?

'A dryer coast and rainier Andes mountains because of climate change.'
Yesterday's El Tiempo headlined a report about climate change's coming impact on Colombia: higher temperatures and droughts in some regions and flooding in others. Colombia can expect less predictable harvests and more natural disasters, such as landslides.

'Climate change, a different challenge for each region.'
El Tiempo's article also framed Colombia as a victim, pointing out that the country produces only 0.37% of the globe's CO2 production. That's true enough - but Colombia is also the planet's fifth-largest coal exporter and an important producer of petroleum, all of which is burned elsewhere and turned into carbon dioxide. Colombia is also suffering galloping deforestation, which turns forests into aerial carbon. And, a car driven a kilometer here, or a mile of plane flight here pumps as much carbon into the atmosphere as does the same car driven or a plane flown in the U.S., Europe or Japan.

Colombians are not climate victims, but POOR Colombians - like poor people all over the world - who don't drive cars, don't travel by plane and consume little - are the victims.

Climate change victims, or culprits?
What can Colombia do to deal with climate change? Construct water reservoirs, build dykes around Cartagena and Santa Marta and move peasant farmers to new lands. It will be expensive and traumatic.

The wealthy, whose high consumption ways are causing this mess, will likely weather it best in the end.

And the El Tiempo newspaper, naturally, falls into that category. Its reporting about climate change is squeezed in between advertisements for the cars and international travel which pump more CO2 into the atmosphere.

Colombia has climate change victims, but those complaining about it aren't among them.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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