Don’t allow climate leeches
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declares climate change ‘the civil rights movement of our generation’ ” (Web, Dec. 3) underscores the planet’s urgent need to halt, or at least slow, the dire effects of climate change. The point was similarly laid bare by both the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Yet the Paris Climate Accord is not off the hook, either.
The accord asks governments to develop merely aspirational “nationally determined contributions.” Such feel-good nostrums aren’t enough. The weakly framed “contributions” leave the door open for some nations to cooperate less with global partners. Believing they can shield their economies with a dome of denial, the risk is that some countries may silently breach the accord while leaning on others to bear the burden of reducing pollutants.
These countries’ myopic rationale is to anticipate benefiting environmentally anyway by piggybacking on others. This so-called “tragedy of the commons” entails some nations pursuing their misconceived self-interest and in the process harming globally shared environmental resources rather than cooperatively promoting the common good.
The current U.N. climate meeting in Poland must lead to firmer goals and tougher accountability to get us to a still-livable planet for generations to come.
KEITH TIDMAN Bethesda