Yesterday I posted this joke:
Q: What's the difference between a developer and an environmentalist?
A: A developer is someone who wants to build a cabin in the woods; an environmentalist is someone who already has one.
What struck me about it was the truth in it, a truth we need to be aware of. Let me recast it.
Q: What's the difference between the developer of a coal power station from the developing world and an environmentalist who fights the development of coal power from the developed world?
A: The developer just wants a better life for his country's citizens. The environmentalist and his fellow nationals already have a good life.
By 2050, there will be nine billion people but only one billion from the developed world. The one billion of us from the rich countries can go zero impact, but if the other eight billion still have to burn coal for a better life, we're done for.
Not only do we have to find a way to reduce our resource consumption in the United States and Western Europe, but paradoxically, we also have to find a way to transfer renewable energy to the developing world so they can consume more.
Make no mistake. Solving climate change, ultimately, is an equity problem.