Thursday, 1 December 2011

We're all in it together... almost

Yesterday I talked about the ongoing climate talks in Durban and I mentioned the Kyoto Protocol. I was looking at this on Wikipedia and found an interesting image:

This picture shows the varying participation in the Kyoto Protocol by countries around the world in 2010. Green indicates countries that have ratified the treaty, with dark green representing Annex I and II countries. These are countries which are registered as industrialised or in transition to industrialisation and countries which are developed and support developing nations. Grey shows countries which have not yet decided whether to ratify and brown shows those countries which do not intend to ratify.

Now, I was quite impressed with how many countries have ratified. The world is still facing serious environmental problems but at least most countries have agreed to acknowledge the problems and try to fix them. It's quit clear which of the world powers is kicking it's heels in and refusing to play though. From what I can see the main reason the U.S.A. won't ratify (and I suppose it's good that they haven't withdrawn from the protocol either) is because they want developing countries to be required to minimise emissions too. The concern is that developed countries will be harmed economically as they must make the most changes while less developed nations are left free to increase their emissions and economies.

The way I see it though is that we've caused the damage so we should sort it out! If you went to a meal with friends and one of them ate almost all the food you wouldn't be expecting to pay equally for it would you? Neither would you be pleased if that friend told you that you both had to diet because they'd eaten too much. It's important that developing countries develop in a sustainable way, and learn from our mistakes by investing in sustainable energy, avoiding wasteful consumerism and protecting important natural habitats. We all have to face the consequences of man made climate and it's the developing countries that will be hit worst with floods, severe weather and famine to come.

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