Player 1: Developing countries like India, China…
Player 2: Developed countries like US, Russia…
At COP21, the world realised that things were not on a level playing field where fighting climate change was concerned. Not all the richest countries were the biggest emitters, not all the biggest emitters could afford to stop emitting and those who needed to ‘go green’ could afford it. These disagreements started the climate change battle between the developing and developed world. And we’re not sure who should be named the winner.
Round 1: Development
The current global warming and climate change is cited as a result of the industrial revolution which took place in the developed regions. As the machinery replaced manual labour, the dependence grew on the rampant use of fossil fuel, oil and gas for power and heat. Fossil fuels replaced wind, water and wood mainly for textile and iron manufacturing, manufacturing plants, automobiles and airplanes. As the production increased so did the emission of CO2 from burning these fossil fuels.
As these processes made the production a lot easier, they were used in full swing and quickly spread to different regions in Europe and North America. As a result, since 1850 these nations are responsible for more than half the world’s carbon emission. In a bid to become a rich nation, the planet and the poor nations who are directly impacted by the climate changes, have to pay a heavy cost. So, it fair enough for having the developed nations pay for their past mistakes.
Many studies and researchers have indicated that factors contributing to the climate change could be traced before the industrial revolution itself. As per researchers in a Washington based institute, clearing of forest for agricultural purposes in the developing nations too added a significant carbon emission into the atmosphere. Developing countries like India and China, resorted to large-scale deforestation to tackle overpopulation. Taking into consideration the deforestation during the pre-industrial period increases the global warming by 5 to 7 percent. And ideally, China, a developing country, and not the US is the largest contributor of carbon emission. So, the burden of climate change is not only on the shoulders of developed regions.
Round 2: Money
Developed countries, through massive industrialisation, became richer and richer. And has enough money now to shell on latest green technology, clean energy and make their manufacturing process eco-friendly. It is because of industrialisation they can afford the luxury of going green, which the developing countries are still are to cope up with.
In developing countries, a majority of the population earns to afford basic necessity like food, clothing and shelter. Whereas in developed countries earn to afford luxuries. In such a scenario, they cannot be expected to contribute equally to combat global warming. Further, developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, get revenue from exploitation of natural resources like coal, oil and gas. In the absence of these, it would be difficult to maintain their economic growth or ever become a developed nation.
Developing countries like China, India and Brazil are now among the most powerful economies and are very much part of the G20 list. This list comprises of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies. Thus, whether a developing nation or developed nation, it should be the world’s most powerful countries who should be contributing towards the global warming fight. Likewise, countries which emit the most too should be obliged to pay for their emissions.
Round 3: Technology
Owing to the past mistakes of the developed countries, the small and poor nations are the ones who are suffering the most and paying for the mistakes which they did not even contribute to. While they cope up with these changes, the developed nations were quick to come up with cheaper form of alternative energy and pump money into research and development.
The developed countries often accuse the wealthy countries who ask them to lower their emission and go green, without supplying them necessary technology to do so. As per experts, there is a need for the developed nations to speed up the process of transferring climate efficient technologies as the time is running out. The developing nations have urged the U.N. to fund projects related to technology transfer, investments in clean energy or which would provide incentives to the companies for sharing the know-hows with developing nations.
As mentioned above, wealthy nations were quick to invent innovative technologies, shift to green technology and increase their dependence on renewable sources of energy. In fact, as per studies, the government of the first world countries actually subsidise renewable energy than on fossil fuel to encourage the citizens to go opt for renewable sources of energy. For instance, in EU all the countries have adopted the national renewable energy plan which sets a binding target of using 20% of the energy from renewable sources of energy by 2020.
While both the sides are right on their parts, but there is a need to focus on saving the planet collectively. Climate change is a global phenomenon and is not limited by any boundaries. It will have horrifying impacts on all the regions whether developed or not, rich or poor.