What’s New October 2009

This page lists changes to this site for October 2009.

See below for other updates and to get notified of changes to the site.

For a number of years, there have been concerns that climate change negotiations will essentially ignore a key principle of climate change negotiation frameworks: the common but differentiated responsibilities. This recognizes that historically:

  • Industrialized nations have emitted far more greenhouse gas emissions than developing nations (even if some developing nations are only now increasing theirs) enabling a cheaper path to industrialization;
  • Rich countries therefore face the biggest responsibility and burden for action to address climate change; and
  • Rich countries therefore must support developing nations adapt to avoid the polluting (i.e. easier and cheaper) path to development—through financing and technology transfer, for example.

This notion of climate justice is typically ignored by many rich nations and their mainstream media, making it easy to blame China, India and other developing countries for failures in climate change mitigation negotiations.

Development expert, Martin Khor, calculated that taking historical emissions into account, the rich countries owe a carbon debt, because they have already used up what would be considered their fair quota of emissions between 1800 and 2008 and while they will emit less up to 2050, they will still be way over their fair share:

It is likely that rich countries will emit 200 gigtons of carbon more than what it would under a fairer allocation. (That is, they will likely emit a total of 325 gigatons out of a maximum of 600gt by 2050)

However, rather than continue down the path of unequal development, industrialized nations can help pay off their carbon debt by truly helping emerging countries develop along a cleaner path, such as through the promised-but-barely-delivered technology transfer, finance, and capacity building.

In this update, additional videos, including from Martin Khor, as well as additional charts similar to above, have been added to explore this further.

Climate change is already impacting different people around the world, affecting agriculture and livelihoods.

For example, in Nepal people are finding that cultivating rice (a staple crop) is not as easy as before and are having to change to other crops.

In the Himalayas, retreating glaciers are already causing water shortages for local villages high in the mountains, while vast areas of the South Asia region will be affected.

In Mozambique, increasing floods are affecting agricultural practices and ways of life, while in Mauritania problems are being caused by increasing desertification.

The global warming and climate change introduction page has been updated to include a number of short videos that highlights these issues further.

World military spending in 2008 topped $1.4 trillion. Military spending has been on the rise since the late 1990s.

Using 2005 constant prices (where the spending for 2008 would be equivalent to just over $1.2 trillion), a comparison of previous years can be seen:

Global military spending started increasing during the late 1990s

This page has been updated with various new and updated charts, as well as further discussion on peace spending vs. military spending and US military spending debates about pegging it to GDP or not.

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