Thursday, May 20, 2010

Climate mind

Shreekant Gupta on “Let The Market Work Its Magic”

  • The point often missed in terming China and India big emitters is that global warming is not caused by current emissions of GHGs but by their accumulated stock in the atmosphere. Once released, these gases can stay in the atmosphere for up to 100 years. A tonne of CO2 emitted by industrial revolution-era Britain in the late 1800s is almost as bad as a tonne of CO2 emitted by China or India today. So, EU with 16 per cent of current emissions accounts for nearly 27 per cent of cumulative emissions, ranking second only to the US. For the UK, an early industrialiser, the difference is even more pronounced: its historic share is nearly three times its current share. Conversely, the historic share for many developing countries is sharply below their current share of global emissions. China's and India's cumulative shares (7.6 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively, since 1850) are only half their current shares.
  • The most transparent and objective way resource transfer can occur is through the creation of a global carbon market and the assetisation of the global atmospheric commons coupled with an equitable distribution of these assets. Any country wanting higher per capita levels than the safe limit would have to buy this right. This is how markets work: property rights are traded at a prevailing price and in that exchange is implicit a transfer of money (which in India's case could be used to finance clean and renewable energy without depending on the patronage of aid or having to deal with donor fatigue and sermonising).

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