In 2009, during Barack Obama’s first year in the White House, the United States made a commitment to join with other wealthy nations to provide 30 billion dollars in climate aid to the world’s most impoverished nations, helping them to cope with the expensive problems being caused by climate change. Today, the International Institute for Environment and Development released a report that shows that the United States has failed to live up to its part of this financial commitment.
One of the big problems with the climate aid coming from the worlds’ wealthy nations’ is that it isn’t really new aid at all. Much of it has simply been money that was already planned as aid to the impoverished countries, given a new label. The Obama Administration pledged new aid.
What’s more, only 20 percent of the aid that has been delivered has been allocated to programs to help impoverished nations deal with the increasing damage caused by climate change. Furthermore, most of the aid that has been granted has come in the form of interest-bearing loans, adding economic weight to keep the aid-receiving nations in poverty. As damage from climate change accelerates, these nations will have diminishing ability to repay these loans, and will have to make cuts in climate amelioration programs as a result.
At the same time that the Obama Administration has failed to deliver on its pledge of climate aid, the ecological disasters associated with climate change have been growing worse. The latest news indicates that molluscs, which serve as an important part of the oceans’ food web, are already suffering thin shells as a result of ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is a consequence of increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in our planet’s atmosphere, a result of human industrial activity. Specifically, new research into pteropods, a univalve found in Antarctic waters that is commonly referred to as the butterfly snail because of the “wings” it uses to swim through the water, has found that the animals’ shells are growing more delicate, leaving them more vulnerable to disease and predation.
If species like the pteropods are diminished, then the larger animals that feed upon them will be placed at risk as well. If that happens, the animals at the top of the food chain, human beings, will be in for a world of trouble, too.