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India, be careful what you wish for

During climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, June 1-12, developing countries like India and China insisted that the United States and other industrialized countries shoulder the burden of cost in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The discussions are in preparation for a climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.

According to an article in The Hindu, India is insisting that each industrialized country pay 0.8 percent of its gross domestic product to developing countries “in reparation for putting greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.” The article states, “An excess of these gases is leading to climate change, which is affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and severe and raising the sea level. India is among the countries worst affected.”

India and over 70 other countries, including China, are also calling for a global buyout of intellectual property rights for green technologies that are developed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, they want us to not only invent green technology, but to turn around give it to them for free.

“India said it will not let the international community check on what it’s doing to combat climate change unless industrialized countries provide adequate financing and transfer green technologies,” The Hindu article said.

This position was supported by Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International, also quoted in The Hindu. “Rich countries got us into this mess, and they have the money and the technology to get us out of it. This gives them a double duty — to deliver major emissions reductions at home and provide the money poor countries need to start tackling their emissions too.”

The Hindu article notes that according to Oxfam, “at least $150 billion is needed every year to fund both adaptation and mitigation action in developing countries.”

If the United States were to pay 0.8 percent of its GDP to fund climate change measures, we’re talking about $112 billion, or about 3 percent of the U.S. federal budget. For the European Union, the figure is $144 billion. Granted some of $112 billion could stay in the United States, but only if U.S. taxpayers pony up to buy out intellectual property rights on any green technology developed here in the United States.

Before we move down that road, maybe our political leaders should start collecting a few outstanding debts. We could start with what developing countries owe us for the human life we’ve sacrificed to keep them from being overrun by despots and terrorists.

I’m getting really tired of their arguments.

Industrialized countries don’t sit around and spew pollution. Our robust industries create products and services that are exported all over the world. Developing countries like India happily purchase the products of this industrialization. U.S. agriculture is one small example.

India’s agricultural regions used to be regularly decimated by worm infestations in cotton. That was before a U.S. agricultural company took a huge risk to develop Bt cotton. Since then, Bt technology has arrived in India, and farmers embrace it.

That’s not all. In 2007, India imported $5.8 billion in civilian aircraft from the United States, almost $1 billion in chemical fertilizers and $350 million in steelmaking materials. The United States is India’s largest trade partner.

Developing countries have apparently bought into the idea that the only way they can progress economically is to make the United States their whipping boy for climate change. There’s a saying back in the United States worth heeding — be careful what you wish for.


TAGS: Outlook
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