Kyoto treaty is ‘failing the world’s poor’, say scientists

Apr 16, 2009
Researchers call for a climate justice development fund.

Initiatives aimed at cutting emissions while encouraging economic development are failing the world’s poorest countries, leading scientists from Oxford University are warning.

They say that payments from rich countries to fund development schemes in poor nations are unequally distributed because investors choose stronger, more stable states like China, India and Brazil instead of much poorer nations such as Chad, Nigeria and Sudan.

In their new paper published in the first issue of the journal Climate and Development, Dr Chuks Okereke and Dr Heike Schroeder analyse the links between carbon cuts, economic development and justice for .

The paper ‘How can justice, development and climate change mitigation be reconciled for developing countries in a post-Kyoto settlement?’ assesses the existing initiatives for reductions, such as the ‘Clean Development Mechanism’ (CDM). The CDM is part of the Kyoto climate change treaty and allows industrialised nations with emissions reduction commitments to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to their own countries. These certified emission reduction (CER) credits, are traded and sold, and used by industrialised countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets.

The paper calls into question the effectiveness of these initiatives and is calling for a ‘climate justice development’ fund to be established to pay for climate change adaptation and low carbon development in poor countries, and provide insurance for investors. The scientists add that the post-Kyoto climate change agreement should be more closely tied to world trade and other international treaties.

Dr Okereke, from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said: ‘The current system isn’t working because it lumps too many countries together and ignores the socio-economic gulfs between them. Measures that were intended for all developing countries have ended up helping only a few. Investors only invest where they know they’ll get a return and in many cases, rich governments and private investors have been put off by political turbulence in the countries that most need help.

‘This new fund would help solve that problem. It would target the poorest and most vulnerable nations and provide insurance against political turbulence and misuse. The post-Kyoto treaty must emphasise low carbon development without neglecting adaptation; at the moment, the reverse is the case,' said Dr Schroeder, from the Environmental Change Institute.

‘Developed countries have failed the developing world on . We are now looking to key developing countries like China, Mexico and Brazil to demonstrate leadership on this important issue. And they are.’

Provided by Oxford University (news : web)

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

US in spotlight as UN climate talks resume

Mar 29, 2009

UN talks tasked with forging a global climate treaty by year's end were set to resume here on Sunday, with all eyes on the debut appearance of US negotiators from the administration of US President Barack ...

Developing nations help tropical forests

Apr 12, 2006

A rainforest biologist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama says developing nations may help stop tropical forest destruction.

Why 'Made in China' should increase our carbon footprint

Oct 19, 2007

Nearly a quarter of China's carbon emissions are created by goods manufactured and exported to Western consumers, according to research by University of Sussex climate change analysts Dr Tao Wang and Dr Jim Watson.

Stabilizing climate change more daunting than thought

Nov 24, 2005

If the world is serious about halting global warming then it will have to reduce carbon emissions over the next century by as much as 230 billion tonnes more than previously thought, according to new research from the University ...

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2009
Anyone surprised? I thought not...
5 / 5 (2) Apr 17, 2009
Politics make bad science. Climate change 'science' is bad science. Kyoto was and is a bad joke on the whole world. Look closely. Everything is about money. Disgusting.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2009
That is exactly one of several reasons why the United States did not sign on. With Obama at the helm, we likely will get signed onto another CO2 treaty without our consent. One other feature of Kyoto is that under certain circumstances it actually will hurt economies in time.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2009
That is exactly one of several reasons why the United States did not sign on. With Obama at the helm, we likely will get signed onto another CO2 treaty without our consent. One other feature of Kyoto is that under certain circumstances it actually will hurt economies in time.

Obama still has to get it through Congress. He can sign anything but it ain't a treaty until the Senate ratifies it. That's why Clinton never signed it, he knew Congress would throw it back in his face.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.