Friday, December 07, 2007

Report Says Developing Countries Need to Curtail Carbon Emissions

The idea that severe climate change can be prevented by developed countries sharply cutting back on carbon emissions while developing countries continue to increase emissions to lift their populations out of poverty has been dealt a blow by a report from the Center for Global Development which concluded that the developing countries too must back and soon. According to, the report, which has the long title of “Another Inconvenient Truth: A Carbon-Intensive South Faces Environmental Disaster, No Matter What the North Does,” found that even if emissions from the North suddenly dropped to zero emissions from the South alone would drive atmospheric carbon dioxide levels past 450 ppm by 2060, generally regarded as the point where climate change has catastrophic consequences. The lead author, David Wheeler, is quoted as saying that “Our results reveal the dangerous fallacy in the notion that the South can utilize carbon-intensive growth to dramatically increase incomes--a kind of last-minute, fossil-fueled development push--before the onset of catastrophic climate change.” To make matters worse, Wheeler claims that the conclusions of the report are on the conservative side because it only included carbon dioxide emissions, leaving out other greenhouse gases and the effects of positive feedbacks. All in all, it is a grim picture that emerges as the meeting about what do to after the Kyoto Protocol ends takes place in Bali, Indonesia.

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