Economic Development and Environmental Protection in Latin America

By Joseph S. Tulchin | Go to book overview

Discussion

Peter Kahn of the International Trade Commission raised the issue of the level of environmental concerns in the less developed countries (LDCs) given lower incomes and greater need for development.The trade-off between environmental issues and conventional efforts to increase incomes may differ in the LDCs, and gaining their cooperation may require substantial resource transfers that may, in turn, create political problems in the developing world.

Jessica Mathews identified three aspects within the issue raised by Kahn.First, there is a need to eliminate policies that are economically punitive and environmentally counterproductive in order to gain significant environmental improvement. Second, changes that are expected to be expensive may be less so. One example is the Montreal CFC treaty, which will require technology transfer to the LDCs.Although some of this technology will be more expensive, other aspects will be less expensive, so the outcome will be neutral. Third, major shifts in resource and income transfers will be necessary. Mathews predicts that these transfers will come from some type of global carbon tax. 1 Herman Daly added that the question refers to the trade-off between natural and man-made capital.Traditionally seen as substitutes, they are actually complimentary. As examples, a sawmill is useless without trees and a refinery is useless without crude oil.

Thomas Tietenberg then asked Mathews to elaborate on her "Foreign Affairs" article about national security and environmental concerns.Mathews noted that the only growth in budgets throughout the world has been in defense spending, while spending in all other areas has been reduced. There should be substantial reductions in defense budgets by the superpowers. However, the end of the cold war may bring about more Third World conflicts, so it is impossible to predict if there will be a similar reduction in Third World defense budgets.

Elmer Cern, a lobbyist, expressed concern that recent auto emissions

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