Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is Poverty An Excuse To Rape Our Environment?

The G8 summit concluded on an emphatic note, declaring that a breakthrough agreement on climate change has been reached, wherein the members have agreed to cut at least 50 per cent of their current carbon emissions by 2050 and committing to the principle of mid-term reduction or stabilization targets.

How valid is this agreement? Who makes sure that the targets are met? What happens when the targets are not met?

With these questions swimming in my mind, I decided to dig in. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. I came across an article from The Financial Times written by David Pilling. The article states that China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa have declined to stand by the agreement and have gone on record saying that “That they cannot adopt any measures that will endanger growth needed to pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

These countries have dangled the poverty card to as a license to continue polluting the environment. To how far an extent is this justifiable? These are the ones who are right now the culprits, contributing a major share of carbon emissions. They also have adamantly suggested that the “rich & developed” countries are the ones who should cut their emission levels by between 80 and 95 per cent from 1990 levels, while they are given a free license to go and pollute our environment. Yea…license to rape.

I believe developing countries have the flexibility to adopt measures to check and cut carbon emissions when compared to the already developed ones. Any measure put in place now will hold good even in the coming future, taking into account that there would be continuous increase in population; which directly corresponds to increased amount of carbon emissions.

Why wait till a country achieves the coveted status of “developed” to implement carbon emission cutting measures? Why not now?

The stance adopted by a few countries calls into question the futility of conducting these meetings. Why cheat our conscience by adopting resolutions which will not be adhered. Go ahead. Rape our environment. We are more concerned about alleviating poverty.

We can always live with the fact that at this rate of pollution, the day when the environment becomes inhospitable for the existence of our kind is not too far away. But we just cannot live with “POVERTY.”

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