Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to groups in Jakarta, Indonesia about the dangers of climate change for their nation. After China and the United States, Indonesia has moved into third place in greenhouse gas emissions because of its deforestation and reliance on cheap electricity from coal power in recent years. In his speech, Kerry stated that the fishing economy of Indonesia is at huge risk with the rising sea levels and temperature of oceans that are caused by global climate change. He estimates that in the next forty years, Indonesia may have to pay up to $1 trillion in damage costs for the floods that are already on the horizon. Kerry is attempting to be the leader for an upcoming UN Treaty regarding climate change, and his speeches are supposed to help smaller nations realize that they must bear some of the economic burden of establishing global initiatives for alternative energy sources.
Kerry has traveled around most of Eastern and Southeastern Asia advocating for greenhouse gas emission reductions in these production-heavy countries with rising car ownership. However, India, China, and other developing nations have ignored Kerry's requests to make changes in gas emissions because they feel as if the United States should make its own changes before forcing these smaller countries to solve climate change for the United States. Since the United States is the world's largest economy, they feel as if it should pay all of the economic costs. Kerry's speech series is trying to change their minds.
I find it interesting that Kerry is trying to change the energy policies of developing nations while conveniently forgetting to mention that Obama is considering allowing the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline across the United States, thereby jeopardizing Kerry's attempts at making a change in the nation and in the world. If the pipeline is built, I do not think Kerry has any hope of convincing any of the more stubborn nations that they need to pay for part of the global initiative of new energy sources. However, if the United States begins to lead by example by paying for its share of improving global energy sources and establishing programs for reduction of climate change, perhaps China and India will do the same. In this situation, the United States and China should pay for more of the programs because they are the primary cause of the problem, but I do not think Kerry will really get anywhere by trying to spread the burden among smaller nations who do not play as much of a role in the global climate change crisis. But if the main sources of the "fearsome weapon of mass destruction" do not act quickly, it may be too late to make this major change.
|Flooding already occurring in Jakarta as a result of climate change and rising sea levels|