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Distribution of economic burden of global warming

While reading your favorite magazine in the field, you come to a column that stirs you to respond. In it you read that Article 4 of the U.N. Convention on Climate Change (commonly known as the "Rio Treaty") contains the following paragraph.

The developed country Parties...shall adopt national policies and take corresponding measures on the mitigation of climate change, by limiting its anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting and enhancing its greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs. These policies and measures will demonstrate that developed countries are taking the lead in modifying longer-term trends in anthropogenic emissions consistent with the objective of the Convention, recognizing that the return by the end of the present decade to earlier levels of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol would contribute to such modification, and taking into account the differences in these Parties' starting points and approaches, economic structures and resource bases, the need to maintain strong and sustainable economic growth, available technologies and other individual circumstances, as well as the need for equitable and appropriate contributions by each of these Parties to the global effort regarding that objective.

Is it proper to place the burden for the reduction of greenhouse gases on the developed nations, considering that some of the worst examples of deforestation and air pollution are occurring in developing nations?

You decide to send a few paragraphs to the magazine editor in response.

Solution Preview

The basic argument in favor of placing the responsibility for the environment on developed nations is that they are in the best position economically to do something. Developing nations simply do not have the resources to make progress in this front. The third world is a major issue environmentally. The people there are just too poor to really care about how much damage they're doing, so governmental regulations are really essential. In the developed world, the public is somewhat concerned and will support companies that comply.

The argument for having undeveloped nations share in the effort is that while it is true that they are currently producing the least emissions, this is changing rapidly. At the present rate of increase, global CO2 emissions will increase by 55% by 2030, and this is due to developing nations' increasing use of fossil fuels. This was the reason why President Bush refused the sign the Kyoto protocol, which would have placed a large burden on the US economy while asking very little of developing nations. (see ...

Solution Summary

Different views about the distribution of the economic burden of global warming are discussed in terms of the Rio Treaty. Some believe that developing countries must shoulder some responsibility for this problems, while other believe that the terms of the Rio Treaty are appropriate.

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