Men Warm Globe, Women Feel the Heat, Group Claims
CNS.com ^ | December 6, 2005 |
By Marc Morano
MONTREAL — The debate over climate change evolved into a battle of the sexes Monday at the 11th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal. The spokesman for a feminist-based environmental group accused men of being the biggest contributors to human-caused “global warming” and lamented that women are bearing the brunt of the negative climate consequences created by men.
“Women and men are differently affected by climate change and they contribute differently to climate change,” said Ulrike Rohr, director of the German-based group called “Genanet-Focal point gender, Environment, Sustainability.”
Rohr, who is demanding “climate gender justice,” left no doubt as to which gender she believes was the chief culprit in emitting greenhouse gasses.
“To give you an example from Germany, it is mostly men who are going by car. Women are going by public transport mostly,” Rohr told Cybercast News Service. Rohr was standing in front of her booth, which featured a banner calling for “creative gender strategies” from “rural households to global scientific bodies.”
“In most parts of the world, women are contributing less [to greenhouse gasses],” Rohr continued. But it is the women of the world who will feel the most heat from catastrophic global warming, she said.
“At least in the developing countries, it is women who are more affected because they are more vulnerable, so they don’t have access to money to go outside the country or go somewhere else to earn money and they have to care for their families,” she said.
“What we are calling for is to take into account more of the social aspects of climate change,” Rohr added.
When Cybercast News Service asked Rohr if men should feel guilty for allegedly producing negative climate consequences for women, she responded, “No, they should change. I think [men do not] have to feel guilty, but it might help to take these [gender] issues a little bit more into account.”
A spokesman for a conservative group attending the conference mocked the linking of gender to any potential climate change.
“Nature does not discriminate between the sexes. The issue is absurd on its face,” Peyton Knight, the director of environmental and regulatory affairs at the Washington D.C., based conservative group, National Center for Public Policy Research, told Cybercast News Service . The National Center takes a skeptical view regarding the scientific basis behind the theory of catastrophic human caused climate change.
“It’s hardly surprising that in the same year liberals tried to inject race into natural disasters and hurricane issues that they are now trying to inject gender into global warming issues,” Knight said, referring to the politically charged racial fallout surrounding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
“Feminists must be running out of arenas in which to stage their issues,” he added.
But the United Nations has already begun to take the issue of “global warming” — and the roles men and women play in it — seriously, according to the “Gender and Climate Change” website.
It is important for the U.N. “to integrate gender sensitivity into all mechanisms, policies and measures, and tools and guidelines within the climate debate,” according to the website.
“In general, the Climate Change policy process tends to be driven by a masculine view of the problem and its solutions,” the website explained.
The website calls for “a gender-sensitive criteria” for the Kyoto Protocol and for “global and national studies on the gender-differentiated impacts of global climate change, including a focus on gender differences in capabilities to cope with climate change adaptation, and mitigation are urgently required.”
But the U.N.’s attempts to address gender and climate change have failed to impress Rohr. She accused the U.N. meeting in Montreal of being male-dominated.
“As I am looking around the negotiations, it is really a male discussion going around, [discussing] climate change with a closed view to the people (women) that are being affected,” she explained.
“It’s not [a meeting] that will really help to mitigate climate change,” she said.
Rohr’s exhibition booth set up at the U.N. conference featured signs questioning, “How to overcome the nearly uniform domination of men in leadership structures?”
“Women are frequently marginalized in a variety of ways … Initiatives addressing adaptation to climate change require consideration of local customs while ensuring that all concerns and perspectives are voiced and valued,” read signs at Rohr’s booth.
More than 8,000 government leaders, environmentalists and scientists are attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference. Organizers are calling the conference, which runs until Dec. 9, the largest meeting since the Kyoto Climate Conference in 1997.