Op-Ed Contributors

Counter-strategy for low-carbon era

By Lin Boqiang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-07 07:58
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Editor's note: The coming low-carbon era will test developing countries' ability to face down the tactics of the West.

What kind of impact will the coming low-carbon era have on future global economic patterns is a question worth considering.

Trade and investment form the bedrock of the current global economy in which countries reap profits on the strength of their comparative advantages.

This economic globalization means developing countries pay a high price in terms of environmental degradation in order to protect the environment in developed economies.

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Varying development levels have resulted in uneven environmental protection criteria across countries.

International trade and direct investment mean low-income countries manufacture pollution-intensive products, which are chiefly consumed in high-income countries.

This is the existing picture of trade relations between emerging economies such as China and India and the developed world.

However, transferring emissions is feasible only if its impact can be confined locally.

That is not possible with carbon dioxide emissions. No matter which country it emanates from, the result is climate change across the world.

Due to differences in productivity and energy efficiency, the level of greenhouse gases emitted during the manufacture of the same product differs from country to country.

Developing countries emit more carbon for every unit of product manufactured than developed nations, simply because of outdated production technology and low energy efficiency.

Hence, the current structural imbalance in global production and consumption is certain to increase carbon emissions.

So, if the shared goal is to reduce carbon emissions, then low-carbon globalization means all countries are in the same boat.

Low-carbon globalization is expected to influence future trade globalization as well as global industrial patterns.

Therefore, developed countries must show more concern about the industrial structure and energy efficiency of developing countries.

Low-carbon globalization is based on the fact that carbon dioxide emissions have global impact and need to be addressed by all.

The low-carbon approach closely connects global economic development and its transition of modes.

If developed countries care little about raising energy efficiency in developing countries, carbon emissions will not reduce significantly.

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