Incentivizing Climate Mitigation: Engaging Developing Countries

By Perkins, Richard | Harvard International Review, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Incentivizing Climate Mitigation: Engaging Developing Countries


Perkins, Richard, Harvard International Review


The challenge of tackling human-derived climate change has emerged over the past two decades to become one of the most important, yet divisive, issues on the agenda of the international political community. Within international debates, developing countries have historically portrayed themselves as innocent victims of profligate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the industrialized "North." States from the "South" have successfully argued that a combination of low emissions, widespread poverty, and limited capabilities means that they should be exempted from quantified mitigation (i.e. emission reduction) targets.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

More recently, the special status of developing countries has come under growing scrutiny. Against a back drop of rapid urban industrialization in a number of the largest developing countries, the developing world will soon overtake the developed one as the leading source of GHG emissions. These shifts in the dominant sources of emissions are forcing the domestic GHG-related choices of developing countries into the spotlight of the international community, and they are creating pressures for high-emitting industrializing countries to commit to mitigation targets. At the same time, the ability and willingness of developing countries to contribute to global efforts in mitigating emissions will depend profoundly on leadership from, cooperation with, and assistance from developed countries.

Too Poor to Care?

A popular view of developing countries is that they are too poor to care about environmental protection. The environment, the argument goes, is a luxury good. Only when developing countries have satisfied their basic development goals will they become actively engaged in environmental protection. Although not without foundation, this caricature of developing countries is an oversimplification of reality. True, the immediate and most important task for low-income countries remains economic growth, poverty alleviation, and social development, which is hardly surprising. Yet countries' core commitment to economic development should not be conflated with a complete disregard for environmental sustainability. Beginning in the 1970s, governments in the vast majority of developing countries have taken steps to protect the environment. Among others, they have adopted various environmental policies and standards and established regulatory agencies. Many have created high-level environmental departments and ministries, as evident in India's 1974 national water pollution control legislation and its establishment of a Department for the Environment in 1980. The government has subsequently introduced a wide range of environmental policies covering areas as diverse as vehicular emissions, forestry management, and environmental impact assessment.

As evidenced by ongoing and often serious environmental degradation across large parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, environmental policies have generally been poorly implemented. To take one example: the much-publicized air and water pollution experienced in China over the past decade is not simply a reflection of inadequate policy, but also of weak enforcement on the part of provincial administrations. Indeed, in many developing countries, state environmental protection remains more of a ceremonial activity than a substantive one. Yet the very fact that the majority of developing-country governments have been willing to begin to address environmental is sues indicates that norms of environmentalism--which prescribe environmental protection as a legitimate and worthy state goal--are not simply the preserve of rich, industrialized economies.

Similarly revealing about the existence of environmental concern in developing countries are non-state forms of environmentalism. A large body of work has demonstrated that, contrary to neo-Malthusian narratives, low-income groups may assume the role of active environmentalists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Incentivizing Climate Mitigation: Engaging Developing Countries
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.