Das Klima der Sicherheit

CAMBRIDGE – Obwohl George W. Bush begonnen hat, die Risiken des globalen Klimawandels anzuerkennen, hat seine Regierung es acht Jahre lang versäumt, in dieser Frage die Führung zu übernehmen. Das kann sich nach der US-Wahl 2008 ändern. Beide Präsidentschaftskandidaten, Barack Obama und John McCain, versprechen, den Klimawandel ernster zu nehmen.

Kohlendioxid, ein Treibhausgas, das sich in der Atmosphäre ansammelt und einen Hauptgrund für die steigenden Temperaturen darstellt, ist ein Nebenprodukt bei einer breiten Palette normaler Wirtschaftsaktivitäten. Und da es sich bei CO2-Emissionen um „negative externe Effekte“ handelt, wie sie von Ökonomen genannt werden – das heißt, die Verursacher tragen nicht die vollen Kosten der von ihnen herbeigeführten Schäden–, gibt es wenig Anreiz, sie zu reduzieren.

Rauchen ist ein ähnliches Beispiel: Nichtraucher müssen einen Teil der erhöhten Kosten für das Gesundheitswesen tragen, die das Rauchen verursacht. Doch anders als beim Rauchen, das durch Steuern und Vorschriften gehemmt werden kann, gibt es keine globale Regierung, um übermäßige CO2-Emissionen zu regulieren, und die Länder sind versucht, anderen die Suche nach Abhilfe zu überlassen. Zudem haben einige Länder, wie z. B. Russland, das von einem wärmeren Sibirien ökonomisch profitieren könnte, andere Anreize als Länder wie Bangladesch, ein armes Land, das wahrscheinlich durch den steigenden Meeresspiegel überflutet wird, der als Begleiterscheinung der Erderwärmung eintritt.

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