Reuters Column: CO2 emission limits and economic development – Kemp

LONDON (Reuters) by John Kemp – For policymakers in North America and Western Europe, energy policy is often viewed exclusively through the lens of climate change, which takes priority over everything else. But for their counterparts in developing countries, where energy is still scarce and expensive, and other social problems are pressing, it is only one of a number of competing objectives. “Taking action to combat climate change” is one of the 17 high-level sustainable development goals agreed by members of the United Nations in 2015, with a target delivery date of 2030. Others include poverty reduction; improvements in healthcare and nutrition; access to clean energy, water and sanitation; creating better employment; and reducing inequality (sdgs.un.org/). For policymakers in advanced economies, combating climate change tends to take lexical priority over all these other objectives, but their counterparts in the developing world must take a more balanced approach. Lexical priority is just a fancy way of saying “dictionary order”. In the dictionary, all the words beginning with A come before all the entries starting with B. For many Western policymakers, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions takes precedence over all other aspects of energy policy, but prioritisation is more complicated for… continue reading

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