Global Warming (February 2000 TOTM)
- Dear Alochoks,
Welcome to the Topic of the Month for February 2001. This month, we will be
taking a closer look at what is possibly one of the biggest issues that will
face mankind in the coming millennium - global warming. More specifically,
we�ll be focusing on efforts by international organizations to push through
environmental treaties and agreements that hinder, in one way or another,
development efforts by third world nations such as Bangladesh. As an
introductory mail, this article will not get into any specifics. There will
be sufficient time (and hopefully interest) to get into that in the coming
month. For now, let�s concentrate on what many believe are the key issues in
Firstly, there is the issue of national sovereignty. A nation rightfully
belongs to its people. A democratic nation like Bangladesh elects
representatives to represent its people, both at home and abroad. What are
these democratically elected representatives of the people morally allowed
to �give away� to extra-national organizations like the UN? Does a Prime
Minister, for example, have the right, constitutionally and ethically, to
sign a treaty with the UN requiring the use of expensive pollution control
equipment, even at the cost of the local economy?
At what point does the elected representative overstep his or her bounds,
and at what point do extra-national organizations with no accountability,
like the UN, overstep theirs?
The second key issue in all this is so obvious most of us tend to miss it.
We may call ourselves American, Bangladeshi, or Argentinean, but we share
the same planet. Deforestation in the Amazon rain forest, for example,
affects us all. So do excessive exhaust emissions in Mumbai, Shanghai, and
Dhaka. What responsibility do the people of Bangladesh have to the rest of
the world? What role does �national sovereignty� play? Can Bangladeshis
reasonably say that the Americans or the Indians have no right to be
concerned about pollution in Bangladesh (or anywhere else) when such
pollution affects them?
If you believe they can be reasonably concerned, what then? The implications
with regards to the very idea of the modern nation-state are mind-boggling.
Final issue that is much more controversial. Does global warming really
exist, or is it a bogeyman raised by crazed environmentalists, backed by the
governments of developed nations, in an attempt to stop development in the
rest of the world? Many reputable scientists have claimed that there is NO
evidence to indicate there is any truth to what they regard as the malarkey
and scare tactics of so-called global warming. Also, many theologians
(Christian and Islamic) believe that God has given man a mandate to multiply
and use this planet�s resources; and that God will take care of the rest.
Many Christian theologians believe the effect of global warming is the wrath
of God. According to New Testament (Romans 1:18-32) God condemned mankind
for their sins, and because of mankind�s sin God gave sickness, natural
disaster, and other unpleasant behavior to mankind. Many Christian
theologians believe only way we can be saved from the wrath of God if we
turn to God and confess our sins. The fact is, this is a hugely popular
viewpoint and cannot be dismissed outright. Given the intensely religious
nature of most people in the developing world - including Bangladesh - how
does this factor play into the controversy over global warming?
Alochona Topics Team
*A subscriber-Abhijit Mitra from USA, contributed this month�s topic.