Stefan wondered during his presentation into the climate change thicket when discussing the rapidly rising middle-class in India and said “we must fix poverty before we fix climate change.”
To me that sounded a lot like Bjørn Lomborg’s misguided argument that climate change should be given a low priority because increasing the world’s riches will solve climate change in the future without costly interventions or unpopular behavioural change now. Understandably Lomborg is thin on the details of how this magic transition will occur.
I suggest that you read Michael Schellenberger’s Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. He spends quite a bit of time on this subject, using the American environmental movement as his prime example. Schellenberger details the emergence of the movement and offers an interesting observation: it is only when a community is well developed that environmental issues can get mainstream attention.
Should we fix poverty before we fix climate change? This is not a question. In reality, we can’t>/i> fix climate change without fixing poverty. Until the latter has been accomplished there will be no political will to lower carbon emissions.]]>