Why we fail to end poverty and cut emissions



The newly launched climate news service for journalists worldwide, www.climatenewsnetwork.net , has published an article, based on a trade union study.

For those interested in global climate issues, it is worthwhile to tag that site as it every day presents articles about climate change and all its societal aspects.

Anyone can go in and see what’s going on.

"Most fail to end poverty while cutting emissions" was the article’s headline, based on the trade union study.

The article’s main points are that:

. The world’s attempts to achieve sustainable development - tackling poverty and simultaneously curbing greenhouse gases - seem condemned to widespread failure unless politicians change course.

. The study of 134 countries published by TCO, a confederation of 15 Swedish trade unions (based on data from the TCO RioRank database), shows that sustainable development is not yet close to being achieved, despite it being the stated aim of many politicians.

. With the right policies countries can develop and at the same time reduce carbon dioxide emissions by combining energy efficiency and the greater use of renewable sources of power. About 40 countries have managed to do this, but the vast majority have not - and among those that have failed are the fastest-growing economies and the most polluting: China, the US and India.

. Energy efficiency makes countries and companies more competitive. It is very bad news for countries engaged in world trade if they are less energy-efficient than their competitors while the price of energy continues to rise. This is especially bad news for i.e. India. Unlike China, with its 77% increase in energy efficiency, India has managed only 3%, while using 500% more energy. There are also examples of countries having become less efficient, some of them located in southern Europe and others in the fossil fuel producing parts of the world.

. China’s example is especially instructive. Thirty years ago it produced 40% of its electrical power from renewables: since then, to keep pace with development, it has invested heavily in fossil fuels. China’s renewable industry has also grown dramatically, but not as fast, and it now accounts for only 14% of overall electricity supply.

. That it is difficult to achieve sustainable development as governments are pulled in opposite directions, and how hard it is to reach a fair agreement to cut emissions. Because resources, growth rates and stages of development differ, so do priorities and policies.

To read more about this: visit www.tco.se/riorank or www.climatenewsnetwork.net, where you can also find other interesting material about climate change and sustainable development.