Wednesday, December 05, 2007

China and India Must Reduce Emissions!

The typical frame used for discribing the talks is that of an epic battle between the world and the two asian giants: them resisting us requiring there action. This is a very badly distorted picture indeed. Firstly we have to consider that the process has history. Then we have to consider the difference between nessecity a nessecity for action and a right to have that action carried out.

In terms of history the story is one of inaction, by us--The North--and futher inaction by us, to even do things that we had agreed to! The biggest failure is that of the USA to take on a
carbon cap and start to reduce it's emissions. The other major failure is by the developed countires who are party to Kyoto but who have not followed through in there promises fro adaptation and development funding.

The problem with these failures is that they leave developing nations in a terrible position and make rapid progress on climate change most unlikely. Firstly, of all the carbon currently in the atmosphere the vast majority is from wealthy developed nations and the consequences are overwhelmingly being fely by the poor. The developed nations have failed to pay reperations for this, and in the case of the US have failed even to stop commiting this crime against humanity.

So, given this background, how can India and China be expected to stop using there cheapest for of energy, namely coal in order to protect the climate for all? If it is carbon emissions that matter then there is a stronger case, ethically, for the US decreasing emissions by 80% to chineses levels than the chinese halting emissions at current levels. Emitting carbon now
does not automaticaly mean you have the right to: not cutting emissions from
a high base is the same as not slowing them down from a low base. However in reality not reducing emissions is infact worse than continuing to increase emissions, this is because the economic benefit of industrialisation using fossil fuels has already been had!

China and India do need to stop increasing emissions in order for us to save the planet.
However we must realise that they have not responsibility to do this. They are poorer than us,
have emiited less carbon than us, are emitting les per capita than us, have been damaged by us.
If there is going to be a deal then all of these issues will have to be resolved before we have a
right to say that they should reduce emissions.


Climate Change Action

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