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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reuters reports that African Union leaders met ahead of the UN summit on climate change to agree on a request of $67 billion per year from "rich nations." The request rests on the argument that "rich nations," not African countries, are responsible for the climate change in Africa.

I won't deny the existence of climate change. However, it is more a regional phenomenon than a global one. For example, many environmentalists cite the melting glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro as a sign of global warming. These people overlook basic science. The area surrounding Mt. Kilimanjaro has been largely deforested by the local population. Due to the deforestation, less water evaporates from the trees, providing less snowfall to replenish the glaciers each year on the mountain.

Deforestation and land degradation is rampant throughout much of the African continent. It was not caused by "rich nations."

As for the request of $67 billion per year, this sum will have no effect at best. In 2005, the Center for Global Development released a study, finding that short-impact aid worked better than aid that had a long-term goal. The study also found that aid "had a zero effect on growth when it reached 8 percent of the recipient’s GDP, and after that the additional aid had a negative effect on growth."

So, up to a certain point aid can work, but efforts past that actually impede growth. Therefore, the continued aid given to the average African country is actually harming it, with 15% of its GDP coming from aid in the 1990s. Most likely, that percentage has increased, especially with the Millennium Development Goals.

The additional $67 billion per year will likely cause more harm than good.

Posted by Eleutherian

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