Don’t al­low cli­mate leeches

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

“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

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