Export Fossil Fuels, Import Climate Change
Can a country exhibit self-destructive pathology? Yes, judging by the behavior of fossil fuel exporters. Take Australia and the United States, respectively, the world’s largest coal exporter and the soon-to-be largest exporter of crude oil. Even as these extractive industries fuel economic growth, climate change due to burning these very fuels wreaks havoc on both countries. Australia is suffering severe drought, with the second lowest amount of autumn rainfall on record. In the US, the western states have suffered crippling droughts, and parched California is experiencing the deadliest wildfires on record. As with individuals, patterns of self-harmful behavior for states can be difficult to change, even when the remedy is clear: leave the oil, gas, and coal safely underground.