Guest essay by Eric Worrall
United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, and Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, have proposed that third world countries should be allowed to pay off their debts, by taking “action” on climate change.
According to The Independent;
Swapping national debt for action on climate change could be the solution we’ve been looking for
The Commonwealth’s proposal for a Multilateral Debt Swap for Climate Action alongside green investment and multilateral action from both developed and developing countries are the actions we need post Paris to halt climate change.
Last month’s global agreement on climate change was a remarkable gift to the world and to future generations. One hundred and eighty-eight countries have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, setting out what they are prepared to do to reduce emissions and build climate resilience. Developed country governments have reaffirmed their commitment to raise $100 billion a year for climate action, with small and vulnerable countries first on the list for assistance. As the Prime Minister of Tuvalu – a Pacific nation threatened by catastrophic sea level rises – said during the Paris summit: “If you save Tuvalu, you save the world.”
Now the New Year has arrived and it’s time to act on these resolutions. A rapid and sustained flow of climate finance for the vulnerable developing countries is central to managing the climate challenge. Thus far the flow of climate financing has been less than satisfactory. This must change. Climate financing should not lead to a reduction in traditional official development assistance.
That’s why global warming was a top priority of Commonwealth leaders at their recent meeting in Malta. Their Statement on Climate Change provided timely, important political impetus to the Paris Conference. And they generated some good ideas to free up funds for climate action.
Here’s one: swapping national debt for climate change action. Many vulnerable countries are so burdened by debt they simply can’t afford to address global warming. Jamaica, for example, is struggling with a public debt to GDP ratio of 140 per cent. For the Seychelles, it’s 65 per cent. Think what could happen if countries like these lowered their burden by taking action on climate change: they could expand marine protected areas, strengthen coastal defences, reform fisheries policies, promote water conservation, manage coastal zones, invest in renewable energy and create institutions to advance their plans — working their way out of debt at the same time.
What a plan. Unless I missed something, Ban-ki Moon’s plan means third world despots get to fund their armies and secret police, and fill their offshore bank accounts, by running up huge national debts. Then to have those debts “forgiven”, so the tyrants can borrow even more money, all they have to do is to “create new institutions” (employ lots of UN affiliated bureaucrats), restrict access to irrigation, and ruin their domestic fishing industry.