Man, do some of the Republicans have a slick noise machine – Bloomberg is reporting on a group of senators who are referring to the funds the United States committed as aid to get developing countries moving toward cleaner, more sustainable development as an international climate bailout.  What a soundbite.  What complete idiocy.  Senators, let’s have a chat.

First, let’s consider the idea this is a bailout – what, exactly, are we bailing out?  Developing countries were, by and large, consigned to their positions by the last four to five centuries of global history.  Hell, a large portion of these countries had their borders drawn by other people over the last four to five centuries.  Have you seen Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta)?  Nobody chooses to be landlocked and primary commodity dependent, you know.  So, while the bank bailout here in the US generated outrage because we were saving people from their own irresponsible behavior, to label fast start funding as a climate bailout is to blame the victims – basically, to insinuate that developing countries put themselves in that position somehow.  Now, I am not denying that there have been irresponsible leaders and corruption in many developing countries that have contributed to the plight of their citizens, but most of these countries have only been under their own governments for fifty years or less – which means they arrived really, really late to the screw-things-up party.  Hell, the party had ended and the house had been trashed before they got there – these guys are the governance equivalent of the idiot who shows up drunk on the doorstep, pounding on the door at three AM after everyone has gone home.  No, this is not a bailout in the sense of the bank bailout.

Second, what this bunch overlooks is that this is an investment in OUR OWN FUTURE.  If we do not 1) get some sort of meaningful improvement in people’s quality of live in the developing world and 2) find some means to do so that does not involve massive carbon emissions, we are looking down the barrel of a global environmental cataclysm in my lifetime.  I go over this at length in my book – I would be happy to send a copy along to you and/or your staffs if you were at all interested (you’re not, I know, I know). Plain and simple, there will be nowhere to run to when it all goes bad.  Yes, we in the US, Europe and the rest of the OECD have far more resources with which to cope with such challenges, but our way of life will change dramatically – and not for the better.  Let me put this another way: Senators, your failure to grasp the basics of climate science, or the fundamental fact that we are all interconnected on a relatively small rock orbiting a fairly insignificant star in a mostly unimportant galaxy, leads you to believe that we can just carve off a big chunk of the (very poor) world and take care of ourselves.  We cannot.  You are on the wrong side of history here, and the evidence is already mounting.

Of course, what do you all care?

Sen. John Barraso (R-Wyoming): 58 years old

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma): 76 years old

Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana): 49 years old

Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio): 74 years old and retiring at the end of this term

Senator Vitter, you are the only one with a shot of being around long enough to see things go really bad.