Energy, the Environment, and Public Policy: Issues for the 1990s

By David L. McKee | Go to book overview

14
Developing Countries and the Potential for Global Warming

ROBERT J. SAUNDERS

This chapter is about global warming. It focuses on what developing countries might do to address greenhouse gas emission issues related to their use of energy and also focuses on areas where better energy sector planning and management can assist.

In the developing world there are numerous environmental problems partly arising from emissions of particulates, SO2, NOx, hydrocarbons and lead, contamination of water, deforestation, soil degradation, and sometimes the impacts of large dams. These are causing a deterioration in the quality of life and are a long-term threat to economic and human potential. Concerns about global warming, ozone layer depletion, and transboundary pollutants are justified. As noted above, this chapter addresses only one of the above environmental concerns: energy issues relating to the potential for global warming.

There is a growing concern that the buildup in the atmosphere of greenhouse trace gases -- gases mostly associated with economic activity and population growth -- could cause significant global warming leading to potentially harmful consequences for mankind. Although clear scientific evidence confirming an enhanced greenhouse warming is not available, there are, at present, a range of scenarios depicting differing possibilities for the size, timing, and global distribution of a potential warming. For this reason, this paper addresses issues pertaining to the mitigation of any global warming rather than adaptation to climatic change.

____________________
The author is indebted to numerous colleagues for their assistance in the preparation of this chapter. Foremost among them are Anthony A. Churchill and Erik Arrhenius. This chapter may not be published or quoted as representing the views of the World Bank Group, nor does the World Bank Group accept responsibility for its accuracy or completeness.

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