After the 2008 financial crisis, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook classified countries into developed and developing countries. Some of the factors that affect this distinction are based on the Gross Domestic Product(GDP), i.e. markets and economic growth, the Human Development Index(HDI), i.e. the standard of living and the literacy rate among several other factors.
When talking about climate change, the effects of it can be seen all over the world. But when we talk about the contribution to climate change and global warming, developed countries consume more global energy and also contribute more carbon emissions in comparison to developing countries.
Developed countries’ contribution to climate change:
There are quite a few developed countries around the world like Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the UK, the USA, etc. there is no doubt that developed countries use up more resources and energy while also contributing the most to carbon emissions.
The above chart indicates the difference between the contribution to global emissions from 1850 to 2011. The developed countries are responsible for 79% of these emissions. Since then there has only been an increase in industrialization and consumerism, major contributors to global emissions. These developed countries are largely driven by consumerism and capitalist economies. This makes them source raw materials for cheap, which is often unethical, employ a large number of workers at non-standard living wages, and carry out unfair trade practices in the name of profit.
With their affluent practices, developed technologies and large consumer base for every industry, they are bound to pollute more. As developed countries are richer with more spending value they tend to have a larger ecological footprint. Countries like the United States and of the European Union have grown their economies by burning fossil fuels and emitting high volumes of carbon from their homes, vehicles and factories.
Developing countries’ contribution to climate change:
There are more than 150 countries in the world today. Usually, agricultural-oriented, high use of fossil fuels and continuously growing industrialization are the major contributions by developing countries to global warming or climate change. These developing countries are also the biggest source of raw materials for the world. This results in massive deforestation. Due to their low level of technology and lower purchase power, these countries often resort to unsustainable methods of production and consumption. India, a developing country, is one of the largest contributors to climate change.
Though the contribution of developing countries is comparatively lower, they face far worse impact than the developed countries. Due to their vulnerable geography, infrastructure and lesser ability to deal with mitigation and adaptation developing countries are the first ones to face the effects of global warming. Events like severe heatwaves, floods and droughts due to climate change have been of great concern lately.
So what are these countries doing to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change?
Change at the global level cannot be brought along by some individual or one country. The whole world needs to act together to bring about long-term changes. Both developing and developed nations contribute enough to climate change so they need to combat it jointly.
Actions of developed countries:
It is fairly easy for developed countries to work out solutions to keeping global warming and climate change in control. With the means of their technology and finance, these countries can make some serious impacts on change. These countries can be the torchbearers of mitigation techniques.
The Climate Change Performance Index that tracks the progress of many countries pulled up Sweden, UK and Denmark as countries performing well enough. However, the top three spots were left vacant as no country performed well enough to achieve those spots. To enter the top three, some challenges they have include keeping the rise in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, similar to the Paris Agreement target. Developed nations must understand their position of power and help developing and underdeveloped countries fight climate change.
Actions of developing countries:
As the major affectees of climate change, developing nations have some serious alterations to be made. Being more efficient in both energy supply and demand, afforestation, reducing greenhouse gasses emissions and having strict laws. Their major focus should be on improving things environmentally, economically and socially. With their limited technology and resources, they are trying to mitigate the impact of global warming.
United Nations Climate Change:
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a platform that is globally addressing the climate change problem and has near-universal membership. The convention has laid out a framework for all nations to abide by. According to the UNFCCC climate change is an issue that requires coordinated solutions at international levels and all countries need to assist each other to achieve the climate goals.