Meles Zenawi, prime minister of Ethiopia, laid out the, ahem, inconvenient truth: That countries like his suffer because of what countries like ours have done, and that a world-wide cap-and-trade treaty would have to allow countries like Ethiopia to sell carbon allocations to countries like the United States.

He says the funds would be used to invest in green energy. Of course, they could also end up spent on Ethiopia’s continuing quest to take over Somalia, so, it seems, there would have to be some oversight here.

Broadly speaking, though, this is a justice problem, and one that will be politically difficult to solve. Blair made the point earlier that if you say that solving global warming requires less consumption, you’ll lose the argument. But if you suggest more accurately that saving the Earth from climate change will create new consumption choices, and that making the right ones will help the environment, then people will be convinced.

Creating the will to subsidize a real green revolution in the developing world will certainly require a similar analysis and framing.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!