In theory, Leftists want poor countries to have a greater say in international affairs. In practice, they don't much like it when it happens.

At the Paris climate summit, representatives of the industrialized world have been frustrated by the refusal of their more southerly colleagues to play their allotted roles.

They don't mind being excoriated by the likes of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe or Bolivia's Evo Morales. On the contrary, they tend to go along with the anti-colonialist belief that most of the world's problems are caused by capitalism.

No, what really bothers them is the courteous but determined refusal of states like India and China to sabotage their economic development. Decarbonization, say these countries, is all well and good, but they have more immediate priorities, such as lifting hundreds of millions of their citizens out of crushing poverty. And the surest route out of poverty is through cheaper energy, which increases productivity, lowers living costs and makes everyone better off.

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