This Is Who We’re Gonna Wreck Our Economy For?by Brad Warbiany
So, it appears the Tuvaluans are angry about climate change, and they’re going to make sure Copenhagen knows about it:
Tuvalu demanded – and got – a suspension of negotiations until the issue could be resolved.
The split within the developing country bloc is highly unusual, as it tends to speak with a united voice.
After talks resumed in the afternoon, the Tuvalu delegation walked out when it appeared that the issue might be sidelined.
Private discussions will now continue behind the scenes among a small group of concerned countries.
Tuvalu’s negotiator Ian Fry made clear that his country could accept nothing less than full discussion of its proposal for a new legal protocol, which was submitted to the UN climate convention six months ago.
“My prime minister and many other heads of state have the clear intention of coming to Copenhagen to sign on to a legally binding deal,” Mr Fry said.
“Tuvalu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, and our future rests on the outcome of this meeting.”
They demand that draft restrictions supposedly targeted at holding temperature rises below 2C be cut to 1.5C, and that greenhouse gas emissions restricted at about 20% lower than the draft.
So I asked myself: just who ARE these Tuvaluans, anyway? Well, there’s only a little under 12,000 of them. I suspect, actually, that they’re just trying to return the rest of humanity to the sort of “sustainable” economy they’ve developed:
Tuvalu has almost no natural resources, and its main form of income consists of foreign aid. Virtually the only jobs in the islands that pay a steady wage or salary are with the government. Subsistence farming and fishing remain the primary economic activities, particularly off the capital island of Funafuti. Government revenues largely come from the sale of stamps and coins, fishing licences and worker remittances.
Substantial income is received annually from the Tuvalu Trust Fund, which was established in 1987 by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom and supported also by Japan and South Korea. This fund grew from an initial $17 million to over $35 million in 1999. The US government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu, with 1999 payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries at about $9 million, a total which is expected to rise annually.
In 1998, Tuvalu began deriving revenue from use of its area code for “900” lines and from the sale of its “.tv” Internet domain name. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name “.tv” for $50 million in royalties.
Got it? The only way to live in the entire country is subsistence farming, fishing, or working for the government (which survives on foreign aid).
And this is who we’re listening to on climate change?