The best way to ensure that industrialized and developing nations fairly share the burden of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to set national targets based on the number of wealthy people in each country, a new study suggests.
Reporting in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Princeton University recommended that the roughly 1 billion people whose affluent lifestyles make them high carbon emitters should determine how much CO2 each country is permitted to emit under any new climate treaty. Most of those 1 billion people live in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and other developed countries, but an increasing number of well-to-do people with a large carbon footprint will live in China, India, Russia, Brazil, and other developing nations. A climate treaty that focuses on levels of affluence in each country will help bridge a major negotiating divide between rich and poor countries, the study said.
Developing countries, such as China, have refused to accept emissions limits and argue that high-emitting industrialized nations should bear the burden of reducing greenhouse gases. But wealthy nations say China and other developing countries should accept emissions limits as their standards of living rise.
This article originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 at http://e360.yale.edu
[photo credit: AMagill]