Developing countries and environmental responsibility.

The majority-accepted phenomenon of global warming has implications for the entire of the international community. Often we think of environmental responsibility belonging to developed-countries and arguably ecological threats are much to do with the developed world’s industrialization but is it the sole responsibility of these countries to put things right again.

It’s difficult to have a factual debate about the impacts of global warming when the science itself is currently impossible to prove. Currently, it is only a theory but it is undeniably a risky one to ignore. By the time the impacts of global warming are solid science, its effects will mean any action will be too little, too late. So lets discuss this from the generally accepted view that global warming is real, and it is a monumental problem.

Developed countries today are proof that some paths to reach modernization and growth cause ecological destruction. Our fuels and energy are unsustainable and unclean. Capitalism means competition, which in turn means over-production.

The European Unions statistics in 2001 said that we were using 140% of the world’s resources. That means we are using its resources at a much higher rate than it is producing them. The mathematics of this is impossible, and the conclusion we draw is that it is not a sustainable option.

Different sources would conclude different ideas when discussing the pros and cons of developing countries being able to ignore their emissions. We in the west are living proof that by continuing to modernize without thought of the consequences does indeed result in a more developed economy but, as stated previously, this cannot be sustained.

We are entering into a world with a desperate need for clean energy and renewable resources. The argument that developing countries should have a choice of stunted growth or environmental irresponsibility is close minded. Developed countries are entering a new generation of alternative resources and so have an opportunity now to inspire, encourage and lead developing countries to clean energy too.

David Cameron, prime minister of the UK’s self-appointed ‘greenest government ever’ has said at this year’s Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting in London on 26 April: “Renewables can be one of the cheapest forms of energy within years.” Whilst his words are inspiring, the results of previous climate change conferences bring little confidence in action.

At the same conference, Kandeh Yumkella, director-general of the UK Industrial Development Organization said: “The dream of every developing country is to be modernised, to live as people live in the UK, for example – they can’t do it without energy, but as 60-70% of greenhouse gas emissions come from energy-related activities, we need a transformation.”

Perhaps the debate is taking the wrong angle. We shouldn’t stall environmental change emergencies to allow developing countries to modernize and grow, we should invest in researching methods to assist them to do this in the green, and clean way we are trying to move.

In 2009, the economist wrote: “Poor countries’ economic development will contribute to climate change. But they are already its greatest victims.” It could be said that we need to take economic issues out of the equation, without a stable planet to live on, there’s little point in an economy.


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