A matter of equity

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équite egalité accord climat

China is the country that emits the most CO2 on the planet. However, its emissions are not limited. How can it and other so-called big emergent countries be made to take part in the common effort?

The Chinese and Indian governments, for example, do not deny the reality of climate change as the Bush administration did for years. But they do want the efforts to solve these problems to be shared out equally. But how and based on what?

Emergent countries think it is unfair to make an effort whilst the most developed countries are not setting the example and highlight the fact that emissions in the USA – who did not even ratify the protocol – rose by 15% between 1990 and 2004. The problem is precisely that the USA has set the condition that developing countries should take steps against global warming before they (the USA) will get involved. Who will make the first move?

Even if it is accepted that everyone has to get involved, how should the effort be shared out? Developing countries insist on the fact that historically, 77% of the total CO2 emitted by Man comes from developed countries, which means they should shoulder more responsibility. Then again, emergent countries are indeed emitting more and more CO2. But an American still emits 5 times more than a Chinese person and 15 times more than an Indian person.

Globally, emergent countries are worried that the required efforts will hinder their economic development. Thanks to the latter, the number of poor and people suffering from hunger has decreased by several hundred million in China and India to mention but two countries. To keep developing whilst limiting their emissions, emergent countries are therefore asking for a special effort to be made in regards to “green” technology transfer. This is obviously a delicate subject for the West as it will encourage the emergence of new economic competitors.

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