Pressure Ramps Up for Global Carbon Caps

The pressure has been stepped up to persuade rapidly expanding economies such as China and India to incorporate climate change committments into their future growth plans.

Developed countries want countries world-wide to agree caps on greenhouse gas emissions and have been making the demands through the United Nations talks on climate change in the lead up to the conference to be held in Copenhagen in December.

The Chairman of the World Bank Commission for Growth and Development has however warned that both the climate and the global economy are threatened if the developed world tries to force countries with growing economies to restrict carbon emissions.

The Chairman, Michael Spence says that if the developing world is pushed too hard to accept long term carbon emissions targets, there is the potential for these countries to refuse a climate deal. They are less likely to agree caps if they believe long term carbon emission committments put their economic growth at risk.

“Trying to get commitments to long-term target emissions from developed and developing countries is unwise and unlikely to result in an agreement,” says Spence.

“Long-term targets pose significant risks to developing countries. If pursued, this approach will produce a stand-off, followed by growing controversy and attempts to increase pressure, which could spill over into other aspects of international trade and capital flows”

Michael Spence recommends a more gradual approach where some countries should have the opportunity to meet their growth potential, whilst incorporating measures to restrict emissions by using energy efficiently, engaging in carbon credit trading and by stongly incentivising these countries to maximise their use of renewable energy and low carbon technologies.

Attempts to tie large developing countries into long-term carbon emissions targets would, according to Spence fail to lead to a global agreement over how best to tackle climate change and the effects of global warming.

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