01 Feb 2013
Is it time for Asia to abandon the dream of an effective multilateral climate treaty and adopt new approach?
By: Mukul Sanwal
For growing economies the stress has to be on patterns of natural resource use and not on the status of natural resources; that is, dealing with the causes rather than the symptoms of the problem of climate change. The time has come for rapidly growing Asia to distinguish between the global, regional and national aspects of climate policy, recognize the linkages and shape the deliberations for the new climate regime by taking substantive measures at home.
The climate treaty was negotiated in 1992 and twenty years later looking back at the approaches that have been adopted by the US, China and India raises questions on whether an effective multilateral treaty is at all feasible, and suggests the need for rapidly growing countries in Asia to review their climate policy. Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases reflect changing patterns of energy use and the issue now is primarily about standards of living, and central to the domestic agenda of all countries.
China and India, because of their large number of poor, are going to be the major users of energy, and emitters, in the future. China has replaced the United States as the global economic powerhouse, plans to double its per-capita GDP in the next ten years, and it is likely its per-capita emissions will also double, reaching levels equal to those in the European Union. China will continue to account for roughly 30 per cent of global emissions until 2030. The issue is also critical for India, with 650 million less than 25 years of age of whom 400 million are below 15 years, it will continue to grow beyond 2060 whereas all the other major powers will stabilize around 2030, because of aging populations. The national interest now requires the Asian giants to take measures to deal with climate change in line with their energy transition. ….(more).