The editorial “Copenhagen’s indifferent start” (Dec. 15) has rightly said that the prospects of an equitable, operationally binding political agreement on curbing global warming emerging from the climate summit is remote. It is deplorable that the rich, industrialised nations — who as the world’s greatest polluters have a historical responsibility towards restricting global warming — are seeking to renege on their earlier commitment. Their thinking is reminiscent of the hypocrisy of the Nuclear 5 who, sitting on a stockpile of nuclear arsenal, preach nuclear non-proliferation to the less powerful nations.
Most world leaders excel in oratory, not in fulfilling their commitments. One hopes the walkout by the African nations at the Copenhagen summit in protest against rich countries’ move to “kill Kyoto” will have the desired impact and force the developed nations to rethink on their commitments. The developing countries should stand firm on getting a legally binding agreement on reducing emissions. It is a defining moment which should be seized by all.
S. Lakshmi Narayanan,
The inability and unwillingness of the developed nations to commit themselves to emission cuts in a time-bound manner spring mainly from two reasons. First, the carbon emissions of the affluent class in the first world cannot be reduced unless there is a reduction in the production of greenhouse gases. This necessitates changes in the energy-intensive and extravagant lifestyle followed there. Second, the leaders of the developed nations are more worried about how their voters will react to their moves than about saving humanity from future disasters.
The developed nations are trying their best to salvage the declining benefits of the industrial culture they initiated 150 years ago. India, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, can make a beginning. It should unilaterally declare that it will initiate an era of zero per cent carbon emission. Slowly, we can demolish the existing energy system and convert ourselves to the Gandhian economy.
The developed nations are shifting the burden of reducing emissions on the poor nations, which are at different stages of development. Countries such as India, China, and South Africa have been under years of colonial rule and are making efforts only now to offer a better quality of life to their people. To bypass the Kyoto protocol consensus and impose a burden on the developing economies is a new form of carbon colonialism. The developed world should look at altering its people’s lifestyles — the real reason behind global warming.