Global Warming’s Misunderstood Victims

Media organizations in wealthy countries regularly send forth reporters to find “victims of global warming.” But when we actually listen to local people who are said to be in danger, it turns out that they are worried about far more immediate problems.

BAMAKO, MALI – Media organizations in wealthy countries regularly send forth reporters to find “victims of global warming.” In dispatches from the Pacific Islands, Bangladesh, or Ethiopia, journalists warn of impending calamity. Global warming is the most horrific challenge facing these regions, we are told. Its resolution is vital.

But seldom do we hear from the local people who are said to be in danger. These people are not voiceless; we just pay no attention to what they say.

The Copenhagen Consensus Center set out to ask people in global-warming hot spots about their fears and hopes. In Mojo, central Ethiopia, our researchers met Tadese Denkue, a 68-year-old former soldier with no regular income. “I never know when I will be able to buy myself some food,” he said. “I only know that I suffer a lot. This is not a decent life.”

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