There has been a lot of talk surrounding the recent G8 summits and the unwillingness of developing countries to join in on environmental programs. It may not seem that important to include these developing economies in a climate control plan. Given the current statistics about energy use and pollution creation in which the US and other developed countries top the list it stands to reason that what the developing world is doing isn't that important. However, there are several key factors that are not being considered that make the developing countries of the world a very important part of any global climate change discussion.
First off, as we in the US are seeing now, once you have an established method of power generation, it becomes more difficult to change. The life cycle of a power plant is very long and it takes much of this lifecycle to recoup the costs of development. This means that power plants being developed today in developing countries to meet their growing electrical needs will still be in use 25 years from now. It is much easier to start out producing clean energy then it is to transfer to it after the fact. If developing countries continue to use dirty power generation to meet demand today, everyone will pay the price in the long run.
The second reason that we must be concerned about power generation in developing countries is the size of the populations in many of these countries. As countries like India and China start using more energy on a per-capita basis and approach the levels of more developed countries there is going to be a huge demand for electricity generation due to the massive size of their populations. If allowed to continue to meet this demand with dirty power generation methods they will over time create a huge pollution problem, the effects of which will be felt everywhere in the world.
If allowed to continue unchecked, the increase in dirty power generation in the developing world will offset any reductions in pollution made in developed countries. The world cannot afford to continue producing pollution at current levels, the goal of any environmental plan as to be to reduce global emissions. These developing countries are therefore a huge threat to any environmental program that is really trying to fix the problem. This is not to say that the developed countries in the world shouldn't reduce their emissions if developing countries don't agree to as well. Any effort to reduce emissions is better than none. However, it is important to get the support of developing countries in stopping global climate change. Without their help, nothing we do can truly stop the problem, it will just put it off.
About the Author: Barret Hudson is a representative of Green Collar Operations, a home weatherization company in Austin, TX. We specialize in home energy efficiency improvements. More information at http://www.greencollaroperations.com