Look at the strangely robotic body language. Obama’s “accord” is go-nowhere hot air and he knows it. Nowhere good–it’s a letter-of-intent for genocide. It must be unprecedented for a world leader to issue such a warrant so calmly, with such technocratic language–it’s such a brazen refusal of responsibility. 10 billion dollars a year in capital transfers for mitigation and adaptation is an insult to the global South, and to the world’s collective intelligence. As the courageous Lumumba quipped, “Ten billion will not buy developing countries’ citizens enough coffins.” Perhaps they’ll economize on size. Children will die first. They’re more vulnerable to malaria and famine.
So to watch Obama jerkily rotating his head, repeating the words his speech-writers drafted for him perhaps 5 hours before the speech (it looks like he hadn’t even read it before delivering it), reminding the world that “our ability to take collective action is in doubt right now,” is infuriating. The notion of “collective action” suggests “collective responsibility.” But who is this collective? Why is “everyone” responsible? The global North’s climate debt—the dollar-amount of over-use of the atmospheric commons, both historical and projected given reasonable reductions in CO2 emissions—is 23 trillion dollars.
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