Recently, climate experts from three of UK’s key institutions concerned with the environment and climate, issued a strong statement calling for action to cut carbon emissions.
The Royal Society, the Met Office and the Natural Environmental Research Council together released a report that stated, in part, that the evidence for “dangerous, long-term and potentially irreversible climate change” was growing.
The report cites evidence that the last decade has been the warmest on average for the past 150 years and that the recent droughts, heat waves and floods all over the world were consistent with emerging climate patterns.
The report concludes by warning that without substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we are likely to face more droughts, floods, loss of wildlife, rising seas, displaced human populations and increased conflict.
The latter being something we know only too well in Africa.
Another revealing report, from the Global Carbon Project (GCP), says that the average global temperatures are on course to rise by up to 6 degrees Centigrade if there is no urgent action to curb CO2 emissions.
The GCP revealed that emissions rose by 29 percent between 2000 and 2008. This rise came in developing countries, BUT a quarter of it is a result of production of goods destined for consumption in developed nations.
This is a scandal!
There is evidence that, carbon emissions within UK’s boarders fell by five percent between 1992 and 2004 while emissions from goods and services consumed rose by 12 percent over the same period.
This implies that though the developing world, including Rwanda, has its own fare share of crimes against the environment, the West is busy being clever by shortchanging the rest of us.
They export their industries (read pollution) while they reduce emissions at home. They then go ahead and promise huge percentage cuts in emissions at climate summits such as the upcoming one in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December.
This is unashamedly hypocritical and very short-sighted.
Agreed, the west looks clever as we make their cars, clothes and toys from our export processing zones; as they sit pretty at home convincing their citizens that they are doing everything to stop global warming. Meanwhile the developing world is racking up in emissions.
Now, you may say that this is the price of industrialization and I agree. However, I believe that the developed nations should be pressured to come up with more less-polluting methods of production and not just transfer their carbon emissions to the second and third world countries.
John Finnegan, the co-chair of the GCP came to the conclusion that, “In one sense, the developed world owns a large fraction of the developing world’s emissions.”
We in the developing world have thoughtlessly not protected our resources and time has come for us to be decisive in conserving them.
However, evidence is heavy against the West. We should not allow them to export their carbon emissions and destroy us in the process.
They still remain the greatest defaulters and that is why I say that, this time it is quite OK to blame the West!
Johua Kiregu is a regular contributor to The New Times