Beer bottles on grassy lawn

De grootste vervuilers moeten betalen

JAKARTA – Eerder dit jaar veroorzaakten moessons in Myanmar modderstromen die honderden huizen wegspoelden en op grote schaal de oogst vernietigden. Er werden meer dan 1,3 miljoen mensen getroffen en er vielen honderd doden. In Vietnam had dezelfde zondvloed tot gevolg dat beerputten met gif uit kolenmijnen overstroomden, waarna dit door verschillende dorpen heen de Ha Long Bay (die op de Werelderfgoedlijst staat) instroomde; het dodental bedroeg 17. Nu dit soort weergebeurtenissen steeds frequenter en intenser worden is de noodzaak tot verzachting van en aanpassing aan klimaatverandering groter dan ooit.

En vergis je niet: dit soort verschijnselen zijn op zijn minst gedeeltelijk het resultaat van klimaatverandering. Klimaatwetenschapper Kevin Trenberth van het Center For Atmospheric Research in de VS wijst er op dat tegenwoordig: ‘alle weergebeurtenissen worden beïnvloed door de klimaatverandering, omdat de omgeving waarin ze optreden warmer en vochtiger is dan voorheen.’

Internationale klimaatonderhandelaars onderkennen dit tot zekere hoogte. De effecten waar de mensen in Myanmar en Vietnam mee te maken hebben worden gezien als de onvermijdbare kosten van het falen zich aan klimaatverandering aan te passen, door ambtenaren omschreven als ‘verlies en schade.’ Maar dit soort taal vat de volle reikwijdte van de consequenties niet – en vooral hun impact op mensenlevens. De doden in Myanmar en Vietnam zijn niet slechts ‘onvermijdbare kosten,’ en hun geliefden kunnen zich niet simpelweg aan hun verlies ‘aanpassen.’

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