Why Bahrain (and others) should compensate Fiji (among others)

There has just been another devastating cyclone in Fiji. So what has this to do with Bahrain’s new shale discovery?

Some will prefer not to join up the dots, but steadily increasing CO2 and CH4 (methane due to fracking escapes) involve steadily increasing energy, and hence violence, in the atmosphere, and of course heavier rainfall, which caused more damage than wind in Fiji this time..

The only additional point which readers may not immediately think of is the urgent necessity of a World Basic income. This can bring about a world-wide mind set which can allow homo allegedly sapiens to back away from the causes of increasing devastation. (as per my blog Page on the Tragedy of the Commons).

There will be a paradigm shift from a world view based on growth, to one of ecological sustainability. The only question is will it happen after t he Tragedy has struck, or will humans be really clever enoughto avert that catastophe? I wish someone  would draw Kate Raworth’s attention to the role of the universal Basic Income as a catalyst.

The Basic Income makes sense to allow everyone, everywhere to live sustainably. Once that paradigm shift has taken place, instead of being indivdualistic and competitive, rich countires will ccept a responsibilityfor poorer, even if they are not directly responsible for damage. This will involve all recognizing the need to stabilize world population, but that in turn throws back a responsibilty on rich countires to provide the infrastructure which enables women everywhere to have confidence that their first two childfren will reach adulthood. Buts long as ‘growth’ remains the dominant, ideologythere will be calls to reduce aid to underdeveloped countries.

But in the here and now, Fiji is not the only place where more urgent help is needed. There is already quite along list. Some will point out that there have always been storms in the tropics, and droughts in Syria. It is less easy to explain the plight of the Sami, coral bleaching, or areas relying on glaciers to provide water all summer. But fair enough – Exxonmobil and Co are only resonsible for a part of the problem. But that proportion is growing inexorably

Without a switch away from a growth-oriented mind set to one based on ecological sustainability, there is nothing to stop Bahrain exploiting its new-found wealth. But if profits are going to be made regardless of the consequences for others, at least they must pay full compensation for all victims.

2 responses to “Why Bahrain (and others) should compensate Fiji (among others)

  1. It’s easy to condemn the oil producers for climate change but it’s half the truth at best. First, it isn’t pumping oil that wrecks the climate its burning oil and the oil companies don’t burn that much. Oil, gas and coal are burned in power stations, cars and homes following decisions made by almost all of us.

    To change those decisions we need a global carbon tax. This should be levied on the producers but, as they will pass it on, it will be paid by all us users. And as users change their decisions emissions will shrink.

    Since an unabated carbon would bear too hard on the poor we need – as Clive says – UBI or a carbon dividend. This still won’t be comfortable. But it will work./

  2. Thnk you David.
    First pont, fracking DOES cause CH4 escapes at extraction.
    But it is the mind set as much as growth per se which is the root problem. Sandy Irvine suggests that the Tragedy of the Commons should instead be seen as the Tragedy of millions of individual decisions, but for me (Asperger’s tendency) that begs a deeper question: How the Hell has the most intelligent species ever got into this dangerous cultural pattern? I see Easter Island as a textbook example. Sandy thinks igt is too small, and too simple to be such an example.
    To me the answer in both cases is the same: the stragtedies which were optimum whilst there was scope for expansion (though there were always innocent victims) become the worst possible strategies once limits to growth are reached.
    For you and me there are obvious practical solutions.They will be resisted by those making profits as long as growth remains the dominant orthodoxy..

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