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Binding Emissions Targets are “Eco-protectionism” says Civil Society

February 29, 2008 by content_admin No Comments »

Friday 29 February, London/New York: Responding to reports that the US, Russia and Japan are pressuring rapidly developing countries such as India and China to sign up to binding emissions targets, an India-based member of the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change described the plans as “eco-protectionism.”

“Globally binding limits on emissions would hold back economic development in India, China and other poor countries, thereby preventing us from solving the problems we face today. The poor are being asked to sacrifice their wellbeing today, so that the rich may enjoy a better tomorrow,” said Coalition member Barun Mitra of India’s Liberty Institute.*

Mitra criticised the push for globally binding limits on emissions, saying that they are clearly being driven by vested interests which see opportunities for short-term profit.  He explained:

“India and China – and increasingly Vietnam and other emerging countries – have become globally competitive in the production of goods as diverse as cars and computers. Some businesses in the US, Japan and Europe clearly view controls on greenhouse gases as a means of ‘levelling the playing field’ by driving up costs in poor countries.  While a very few businesses may profit, it will come at the expense of billions of people who will suffer from the negative economic effects of this scam.”

Mitra added that there is an inherent hypocrisy to the emissions limits advocated by industrialised countries: they will fall hardest upon the world’s poorest people in countries like India, which are most in need of all forms of reliable, clean energy. He said:

“The poor pay with their lives today for lack of energy, transportation, water and sanitation facilities, while ironically the rich world is preaching the virtues of austerity and reducing energy use. Over half a million Indians, largely poor women and children, die each year due to burning of inefficient fuel in their kitchens, but the rich world is promising to save lives in 50 or 100 years.”