By Yongfu Huang and Jingjing He
The climate change crisis and development needs of the world’s poor require us to acknowledge the necessity and urgency for both continued growth at the current pace, and rapid greening of this growth strategy. But are the contradictory aims of growth and environmental protection irredeemably incompatible?
The recent history of economic growth has largely been achieved at the expense of the environment. Thus, serious environmental problems such as ecosystem disturbance, climate change, water and air pollution, and the sea level rise, can be seen as the unintended consequences of the development process. The threat of human-induced climate change poses a serious question to humanity: how can the world achieve well-rounded human development in the future without degrading our environment?
Do we need to trade off our environment for development?
Compared to developed nations, developing countries are much more vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to their low capacity to adapt and their disproportionate dependency on natural resources for welfare. As pointed out by Roberst and Parks (2006), developing countries actually suffer “a double injustice”; environmental degradation and climate change will impinge on the poor countries hardest, at the same time, they are required to be “part of the solution” by cutting Green House Gas (GHG) emissions at the expense of their economic development.