Posted by phulbarinews on September 22, 2008
In the name of carbon trading, developed countries are offering developing countries paltry handouts to keep development in check while they go ahead in leaps and bounds
A PROBE report
Climate change is on us. Ardent environmentalists and hardened skeptics alike are ready to admit this. It is a reality that has caught global attention and which is causing concern among developed and developing countries alike. We are, after all, under one sky. Given the magnitude of the issue, climate change is now one of the most important social, economic and political issues of all time. Atmospheric gases responsible for causing global warming and climate change have increased by 25% since large scale industrialisation began a century and a half ago. World carbon dioxide (CO2) was expected to increase by 1.8% annually between 2004 and 2030. Other greenhouse gases (GHGs) are methane, nitrous oxide and some which are less significant.
Global bodies have taken up the climate change issue in all earnest. There is the Inter-Governmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, UN bodies, the European Union bodies and others all making a loud clamour about climate change. It is commonly acknowledged that it is the industrialised nations which are the main cause of global warming, what with their excessive carbon emissions and other forms of industry-related pollution. And the developed world is bearing the brunt. However, as has been the propensity, it is the wealthy developed nations which are now drawing up rules and regulations, imposing restrictions, and the developing countries, with exceptions, that are acquiescing with characteristic complacency, bordering on fatalism.
A study reveals that where annual carbon emissions are concerned, USA and Canada take the lead. This region, in 2000, was spewing out nearly 1800 million metric tonnes of carbon annually. This has increased manifold since. This region is followed by Western Europe. Bangladesh, given its insignificant industrialisation, is nowhere on the carbon emission map. Yet Bangladesh is having to pay the price. If the Asian Development Bank is to be believed, this region is particularly vulnerable to climate change, threatened with freshwater shortages by 2020. Crop yields could drop by half within 2050. And Bangladesh in particular will be vulnerable to flooding. Even if all this is taken with a pinch of salt, the fact remains that the spectre of climate change looms large in our horizon.
As one of the mechanisms to address this problem, the Kyoto Protocol was drawn up in 1997. This is linked to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries for reduction of 5.2% GHG emissions against the 1990 level over its commitment period until 2012. For EU the target is 8%. In short, countries are to cut down on carbon emissions. The industrial and other sectors of these countries must take measures to this end, to curtail their contribution to global warming. Ironically, USA is not a signatory to this protocol despite being the highest on the carbon emission charts.
The big industrial players invariably find a way of wriggling out of paying the price for their “sins”. Since 2005, about 12,000 energy intensive plants of EU have been able to buy and sell permits to allow them emit carbon dioxide. There are three flexible mechanisms to enable countries with quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments to acquire GHG reduction credits: International Emission Trading (IET), Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI). There is even consideration for a Stock Exchange for carbon credits!