Onus of climate change risk on rich, says Watkins

Written by Economy Bureau | New Delhi, Oct 30 | Updated: Oct 31 2007, 06:41am hrs
The onus of making the first move to avert the risk posed by climate change rests with rich countries, especially the US, which is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, said Kevin Watkins, chief author of this year's Human Development Report (HDR) 2007-08, to be released next month. The HDR, which will focus on climate change, will call for mandatory cuts in carbon dioxide emission from all major emitters.

At an Idea Exchange with the Indian Express Group staffers, Watkins said the world has less than a decade to change course, and the failure to do so could lead to unprecedented reversals in human development, the brunt of which would be borne by the world's poorest countries and vulnerable people.

India, which has a vast majority living below $2 a day, may be among the worst hit. A single monsoon failure, floods or drought could thrust people into greater misery, more so as the poor in India do not even have an insurance cover, he said. Commenting on India's zooming economic growth rate and the Sensex, Watkins said Bangladesh, which doesn't have a growth rate as high as India, has done better when it comes to indicators like child malnourishment.

Stressing on the need for aligning energy policies with climate change targets, Watkins told the media yesterday that though, the developed countries will need to put deeper cuts, the other countries will also have to work under a certain carbon budget. The HDR will call upon all countries to start living within a global carbon budget.

Developing countries like China and India have been resisting to take on commitments to slash their carbon emissions.