Developing world ‘needs carbon leeway’

Developed countries should drastically reduce their emissions to allow developing nations more leeway to produce carbon emissions as they industrialise, a leading academic and social campaigner has said.

Speaking at a debate organised by the Economic and Social Research Council, Charles Abugre, head of the global advocacy and policy division at Christian Aid, said the need to cut global emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change was limiting development in some parts of the world.

Mr Abugre, who trained as a development economist, urged developed nations such as the UK to radically reduce emissions – going even further than the 60% or 80% cuts proposed by governments.

He said: “It has to be more than 80% in order to create the space for developing countries, whose ability to develop through the use of carbon-based technologies has been effectively constrained by the need to cut carbon emissions.

“To create the space to address the development crisis means we have to be prepared to take on drastic cuts in carbon emissions.”

Science and innovation minister Ian Pearson, said developed countries in Europe should lead the way on tackling global issues such as climate change and competition for natural resources.

He said: “We in Britain and Europe must take a leadership role rather than resorting to protectionism.

“These global challenges can be daunting, but they are not insurmountable.”

Professor Colin McInnes argued that complex global uncertainties such as the impact of climate change could not be solved.

He said: “If we believe carbon trading will solve the problem of climate change, we are deluding ourselves.

“Silver bullets do not exist but we can take steps that will help.”

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie