U.S. Congress Looking after the World (or Not?)

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 28 July 2011
Filed under Politics

The American Association for the Advancement of Science reports today:

House Bars Funds for International Climate Adaptation Efforts. The House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted to prohibit the use of funds to assist developing countries adapt to climate change or transition to sources of clean energy. The Committee passed H.R. 2583, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, with an amendment from Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) to prohibit the use of funds for the Global Climate Change Initiative, which is part of the United Nations' effort to help provide assistance to developing countries. The House Agriculture and Homeland Security spending bills also contain similar provisions.


So, the country that bears greater historical responsibliity for carbon emissions than any other is barring funding for adaptation by countries who now do the suffering.

The medical journal Lancet (Costello et al., 2009) had an informative graph on this issue recently:

The top panel shows carbon emissions, the bottom panel the expected fatalities from climate change.

Coincidentally or otherwise, this period in human history coincides with a severe cutback of funding to the Humanities and Social Sciences at most universities; areas of scholarship which in the past have tackled issues of ethics and morality.


Costello, A.; Abbas, M.; Allen, A.; Ball, S.; Bell, S.; Bellamy, R.; Friel, S.; Groce, N.; Johnson, A.; Kett, M.; Lee, M.; Levy, C.; Maslin, M.; McCoy, D.; McGuire, B.; Montgomery, H.; Napier, D.; Pagel, C.; Patel, J.; de Oliveira, J. A.; Redclift, N.; Rees, H.; Rogger, D.; Scott, J.; Stephenson, J.; Twigg, J.; Wolff, J. & Patterson, C. Managing the health effects of climate change: Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission. Lancet, 2009, 373, 1693–-1733????

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