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Indian Factory

This factory in India provides cheap labour, and is still a massive boost for the Indian economy.

For a while now, western nations have been focussing some of their attention on the cleaning up of emissions caused by industrial processes. Renewable Energy sources have been heavily subsidised by the United Kingdom government, and recycling and carbon neutrality have been the goals of many major industrial powers.

This does come at a cost. It is much cheaper and much more efficient to produce goods and to build infrastructure without thinking about such concerns. Coal power plants produce considerably more electricity than wind turbines, and it is costly to produce cars that run on anything other than petrol and diesel.

Therefore, it is the Emerging Economies that are causing international worries with the environmental impact of their growth. Their need to expand has seen the rapid rise of factories, motorways, and several other sources of pollutants and carbon emissions.

A Successor to the Kyoto ProtocolEdit

G8 Leaders

Leaders at a G8 Climate Summit - before the Kyoto targets were due!

Several G8 summits have tried to find some sort of agreement that follows on from 1997's Kyoto Protocol. In 2012, at the end of the "first period" as set out in the Protocol, 12 nations failed to meet their greenhouse gas emission targets (although these targets did not include many of the emerging economies).

Several alternatives and have been suggested by various parties, such as the Washington Declaration, although critics of such discussions worry that these non-binding agreements are worthless, and that a new direction is needed.

ProblemsEdit

Political WeightEdit

The list of Emerging Markets is large, and due to the very nature of their rapid growth, these nations can wield rather a lot of political power, which makes any effort to stifle their expansion difficult. Four such nations are often referred to as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Although they share no common political ground, the BRIC nations represent 38% of the world's population and 19% of its GDP. Any agreement that plans to change the ways in which the members of the United Nations build factories and use their own natural resources will have to do a lot to appease these new world powers.

HypocrisyEdit

It is entirely fair for emerging economies to stand up to fully industrialised nations such as the United States, Germany and France and claim that they need to go through the same environmental turmoil that the west caused in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It has been said many times that it is the large economies that have caused the environmental damage, meaning that the newer economies are unable to grow as they are the ones who face new restraints and targets.

Furthermore, it is these fully industrialised nations who have failed to meet the arrangements set forth in the Kyoto Protocol. If the United Kingdom cannot cut emissions and look after natural habitats, how can it expect to lead the world and make suggestions to countries who are only trying to grow their own economies in order to compete on the world stage.

Current LawsEdit

  • Kyoto Protocol
  • Washington Declaration

GlossaryEdit

Emerging Economies (or Emerging Markets) - large nations which are growing at quite a rate in terms of their production of goods, the size of their workforce, and the availability of natural resources. South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Argentina and Turkey are often cited among the list of Newly Industrialised States.

Carbon Trading - extra costs artificially added to goods in order to aggregate the previously unseen environmental costs of the carbon emissions associated. For example, petrol priced at 140p per litre could be charged at 145p, with the extra 5p per litre going towards the planting of new trees to neutralise the carbon emissions caused by the fuel consumption.

Carbon Offsetting - similar to Carbon Trading, with the onus placed upon individual businesses and citizens to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in some areas in order to allow other processes to continue to emit carbon dioxide without penalty.

Research LinksEdit

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