If you are among the thousands of people heading to Copenhagen this December for the United Nations Climate Change Summit, chances are you will encounter a group of men and women from Denmark, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, dressed in red suits.
They are the Climate Debt Agents, and their job is to get the
Danish government industrialized countries, including Denmark, to pay their “climate debt” to the developing world. If you are in Denmark, and would like to don a suit and join them, you can apply here. You can also visit them on their blog or on Facebook.
Who pays the price?
When rich countries make decisions that have negative affects on the environment, people living in poverty pay the highest price. Drought, hunger, and death caused by climate change could be prevented in many places with technology like water storage facilities that can help communities adapt to new climate conditions.
But that costs money.
“Who should pay the climate debt?” [PDF] is the title of a short report by the international anti-poverty organization ActionAid that calculates the monetary value of the debt at €135 billion per year until 2020, and proposes how the bill should be divided between countries.
Over the past 3 months, MS ActionAid Denmark has educated a team of online and offline activists to help deliver their message, by sending them on research missions to Kenya, Brussels and Denmark, and pairing them up with Global Voices bloggers who mentored them virtually for 6 weeks on blogging.
On their website, the mentees-turned-debt-agents explain: “We want a world with climate justice and global justice. In order to get that the attitude of decision makers has to be changed so that they recognize and realize to pay off their climate debt.”