Is climate change, if it is caused by the actions of humans, a kind of oppression?

I was always very interested in climate change when it was brought up in school. I remember in one of my high school history classes, there was a discussion about the demographic transition model. The demographic transition model has four stages: pre-industrial, urbanizing/industrializing, mature industrial, and post-industrial which work to explain the pattern of population growth compared to how industrialized (or more technologically advanced) countries are. I learned that when countries started the industrializing phase, they often contributed much to global climate change due to the increased use of cheap fuels. For example, during the Industrial Revolution, the burning of fossil fuels was a primary mechanism to increase production of goods; it was also the leading factor in climate change. As countries moved from the industrializing stage to the mature industrial stage, technologies have improved to the point that production of goods don’t rely heavily on burning fossil fuels and instead some have invested into renewable energy like hydroelectric power. This technology can be very expensive to develop, so current industrializing countries have stuck to burning fossil fuels instead of converting to these (more expensive) renewable strategies. The main question we tried to answer in my class was: “Do mature industrial countries have a duty [to the world] to help currently industrializing countries invest into renewable energies?”

Personally, I think that yes they do. They [mature industrial countries] have contributed to the global climate change we have today during the 18th and 19th centuries. This climate change still affects us greatly today. Imagine another wave of industrial revolution-like effects because countries who are just starting to industrialize have to use the cheaper (and more harmful) method to catch up because those who control the renewable technologies withhold it for profit.

The oppressive element in this is that all of this could be prevented by the people who hold the power (in this case the knowledge of how to apply and utilize renewable energy), but they choose not to simply for profit. If I use one of Young’s “Five Faces of Oppression”, I would consider this marginalization because further developed countries are excluding those who are less developed (and probably not their allies) from information that would better the whole world.,also%20affect%20the%20earth’s%20climate.

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