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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
As the United Nations climate change conference slated for Copenhagen in December approaches, world leaders still confront a quandary they’ve faced since first grappling with global warming. Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have made it clear: to avoid calamity for the most vulnerable nations, and a serious threat to all, the world needs a new treaty to dramatically improve on the weak emissions reductions targets of the Kyoto Protocol. How to assure equity between wealthy nations and those that are poor but developing at often unprecedented speed?
Consider the world’s two largest democracies—the United States and India. Per capita, the United States emits almost 20 times more greenhouse gas. Effects on world climate could be catastrophic if India, with its population of over 1 billion, approached individual U.S. per capita rates.
Cheap fossil fuels that allowed the United States to rise to affluence also have made it the top per capita carbon emitter. Now that it has befouled the planet’s nest, how much can it ask of a nation where 400 million people still don’t have electric lights?
“Can you ask someone to eat less food if he’s starving?” says Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC.
Pachauri, who also directs both Yale’s Climate and Energy Institute and the India-based Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), joined Yale President Richard Levin in convening a first-ever U.S.-India Energy Partnership Summit in Washington, D.C., in October. Co-sponsored…
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