The problem with second hand smoke is that non-smokers in the vicinity of smokers are also exposed to the risk of lung cancer. The smoker, of course, bears the major risk — but at least he gets the joy of puffing away for that nicotine high. When it comes to countries polluting the Earth with greenhouse gases, there seems to be even lesser justice in the scheme of things. Such gases trap solar heat and lead to global warming, triggering destructive climate changes worldwide. According to a recent study by Australia’s University of Queensland and Wildlife Conservation Society, those countries most responsible for causing climate change are the least vulnerable to its effects. The researchers found that 20 of the 36 highest greenhouse gas emitting countries including the US, Cada, Chi, much of western Europe and Australia too — are least vulnerable to serious environmental change like desertification or rising ocean levels threatening coastal inundation. But most of the highly vulnerable countries are African and small island tions like Maldives, Mauritius, Fiji and Antigua and Barbuda. They are also among the least developed tions, having not yet had the opportunity to pollute their way to growth. Due to pollution by other countries much farther along the road of skewed development, these vulnerable countries in future are likely to turn into deserts or go completely under rising oceans. And they have little resources to cope with their existential threat, while rich, polluting countries wrangle over funding issues. The study forecasts that by 2030, the number of acutely vulnerable countries will rise sharply as climate change related pressures like droughts, floods, bio-diversity loss and diseases mount. Clearly, this ‘second hand’ pollution is yet another global inequality already in the making.
'Second hand' pollution