For decades people have worked to cancel unpayable poor country debt, but Andrew Simms explains that there is a larger, different problem – the ecological debt crisis of rich countries that now threatens the international community. He argues that this ecological debt provides the essential paradigm to analyse the predicament of the global economy. Andrew Simms is the Policy Director of nef (the new economics foundation) and heads its programme on Climate Change. His recent reports include ‘The End of Development? Global warming, disasters and the greeat reversal of human progress’ and ‘Environmental Refugees – the case for recognition’.