At the climate summit in Egypt, poorer countries are demanding high compensation payments from rich countries because rich countries are responsible for climate change. But the division into “perpetrators” and “victims” is not so simple.

In the media and by “climate activists” the image is conveyed of the innocent poor countries (“victims”) and the guilty rich countries (“culprits”). Of course, the absolute numbers of CO emissions for countries like the US are higher than for developing countries in Africa. But Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI), which regularly ranks countries from an environmental and climate perspective, concludes that poor countries get the worst ratings when it comes to climate change.

The university publishes the EPI annually, and the 2020 Index also includes a dedicated chapter (Chapter 11) that ranks countries from a climate change perspective: “The results of the EPI can help identify which countries are on on the road to decarbonization and which countries need to accelerate their progress towards a sustainable future.”

Rainer Zitelmann has a doctorate in history, sociology and has been a member of the FDP for 28 years. He is also the author of the book “Psychology of the Super-Rich”.

The result: The best ratings in terms of climate change in the EPI ranking are given to countries such as Denmark, Great Britain, Romania, France, Switzerland, Norway, Luxembourg, Sweden and Finland. “Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have the lowest average regional performance, with countries from these regions receiving 16 of the 20 worst scores.”

Among other things, the “greenhouse gas emission intensity” was measured, i.e. the co-emissions per unit of gross national product as well as the growth in co-emissions and emissions per inhabitant. The Federal Environment Agency has criticized the general EPI environmental index because it does not contain all the essential factors for the environmental situation, but this special ranking by Yale University is not about the environment in general, but about climate protection.

And the following is important here: In many developed capitalist countries, co-emissions have been decoupled from GDP growth for years – but not in many African countries, most of which are economically unfree. Even if environmental activists blame capitalism for climate change, Yale University’s climate protection ranking shows that countries with a high degree of economic freedom do better than those countries that are not economically free.

The reason why the absolute values ​​in the developing countries (especially in Africa) are lower is simply the poor economic development of these countries, i.e. their poverty. These countries have not managed to guarantee their people a decent standard of living, their economy is underdeveloped. And this is at the same time the reason for the poverty as well as for the – in absolute numbers – lower CO emissions.

These countries are now demanding money from developed countries to fight climate change. However, this did not work in the fight against poverty, because a large part of the aid was directed into the wrong channels – to corrupt governments in these countries. The widespread view that corruption is particularly prevalent in capitalist countries is wrong.

This is shown by comparing Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index CPI with the Index of Economic Freedom, which measures economic freedom. The countries with the least corruption are countries with a high degree of economic freedom. Without exception, all of the 10 countries with the lowest levels of corruption are in the “free” or “mostly free” categories on the Economic Freedom Index. Conversely, countries that rank among the bottom 10 in the corruption index are also countries that are not economically free.

In her book Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo, who was born in Zambia, studied at Harvard and received her doctorate from Oxford, has identified development aid from rich countries as another cause of the hardship on the continent. In the past 50 years, Moyo wrote in 2009, over a trillion dollars in development aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa.

“But is the more than $1 trillion in foreign aid that has been disbursed in recent decades actually better for Africans? No, on the contrary: the recipients of the aid are much worse off. Aid has helped make the poor poorer and growth slower… The notion that aid can and has already reduced systemic poverty is a myth. Millions of Africans are poorer today – not despite, but because of development aid.” A study by the World Bank shows that more than 85 percent of the funding was used for purposes other than originally intended, often diverted to unproductive projects.

It will be no different if billions in transfers to combat climate change flow from rich to poor countries. Development aid and certainly not the abolition of capitalism will help in the fight against climate change, only more capitalism.

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