Making poverty a commodity

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | The myth of localism

To these just measures we can add another, recently developed by the man who designed the “contraction and convergence” plan for tackling climate change, Aubrey Meyer. Contraction and convergence, which the African governments have now adopted as their official position on climate change, first establishes how much carbon dioxide humans can produce each year without cooking the planet. It then divides that sum between all the people of the world, and allocates to each nation, on the basis of its population, a quota for gas production. It proposes a steady contraction of the total production of climate-changing gases and a convergence, to equality, of national production per head of population. To produce more than its share a nation must first buy unused quota from another one.
Meyer points out that by accelerating convergence we would grant the poor world a massive trade advantage. Those nations using the least fossil fuel would possess a near-monopoly over the trade in emissions. This would help redress the economic balance between rich and poor and compensate the poor for the damage inflicted by the rich nations’ pollution.

About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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