From: By Jeremy Lovell, Reuters
Published November 11, 2007 09:57 PM

Rich urged to bear climate change costs

LONDON (Reuters) - The rich caused the problem and must therefore pay the price of fixing the global climate change crisis, a new report said on Monday.

Christian Aid, an agency of British and Irish churches, said industrialized nations were historically responsible and therefore morally liable to foot the multi-billion dollar cost of tackling the problem of man-made emissions of carbon gases.

"Nations that have grown rich in part by polluting without facing the costs of doing so must now repay their carbon debt to the developing world," said Andrew Pendleton, author of "Truly Inconvenient - tackling poverty and climate change at once."

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It is an argument that will appeal to the developing nations which have used it regularly, but will probably meet diplomatic foot-dragging in the industrialized world whose economies are being threatened by surging oil prices.

Based on the Greenhouse Development Rights framework -- an equation allocating responsibility for emissions of greenhouse gases -- the United States should shoulder 34.3 percent of the annual bill, with the European Union on 26.6 percent.

India and China, both rapidly industrializing but still way behind their developed world counterparts, should bear 0.3 percent and 7.0 percent of the bill respectively.

Based on the calculation a year ago by British economist Nicholas Stern that acting now would cost one percent of gross world product a year, Washington's bill would be $212 billion a year while Brussels' would be $164 billion, the report said.

The report is aimed directly at a meeting next month of United Nations' environment ministers on the Indonesian island of Bali which environmentalists want to agree to open urgent talks on a new global climate protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialized nations to cut carbon gases by five percent on average below 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012 when it expires, with as yet nothing in prospect to replace it.

But the United States rejected it in 2002 as being economic suicide and it is not binding on developing countries such as China which is building a coal-fired power station a week to feed its booming economy.

(Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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