Paying Poorer Countries to Cut Emissions so We Don't Have to

What started out as an ambitious, global scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — a concept known as "Contraction and Convergence," whose goal was to equalize per capita emissions around the world by requiring developed nations to cut down on overall emissions much faster than developing ones — has now descended into a pale glimmer of its former self (some might say a charade). During a meeting this past week, Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, issued a new proposal that — in his words — better reflected the realities of the current climate situation.

"We have been reducing emissions and making energy use more efficient in industrialised countries for a long time. So it is quite expensive in these nations to reduce emissions any more. But in developing nations, less has been done to reduce emissions and less has been done to address energy efficiency. So it actually becomes economically quite attractive for a company, for example in the UK, that has a target to achieve this goal by reducing emissions in China."

Put otherwise, how about we pay you less developed countries to cut emissions on our behalf? That way, we can stick to the status quo and continue polluting and emitting greenhouse gases at the same rate as we've been doing over the last few years. Oh, and of course, we'll get to decide just how much to compensate you for your efforts.

Is it just us or does this scheme sound wildly off mark? While the original model of "Contraction and Convergence" may have been a little too idealistic for the short-term, there is no denying that if we are to successfully face down the threat of climate change, we will all need to make significant efforts to reduce our collective emissions and adopt greener, more sustainable lifestyles. The plan offered up by the UN would, at best, temporarily shift the burden over to someone else and would likely come back to bite us in our collective asses in the near future.

Via ::Climate Change: The ultimate carbon offset (blog)

See also: ::US-Based Business Roundtable Faces Climate Change Head On, ::World Bank Clueless On Climate Impacts Of Its Loans
Image courtesy of WorldIslandInfo.com via flickr

Tags: United Nations