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US needs to work with India, China on climate change: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 14:02

Washington: The US, which accounts for 18 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions, needs to work with India and China to make meaningful improvement on issues related to climate change and resource scarcity, a Congressional report has said.

"US currently accounts for about 18 per cent of global CO2 emissions which is projected to decline to about 15 per cent by 2035 as emissions in other countries rise. Growing economies like China and India should reduce their intake of carbon emission," the Congressional Budget Office said in a report on the policy implications of enacting a carbon tax.

The report notes that global efforts to reduce carbon emissions have fallen short.

"Analysts have estimated that in absence of a global approach, between 1 per cent and 23 per cent of the reduction in US emissions stemming from carbon tax could be offset through leakages, as higher prices for emission-intensive goods produced in US increased demand for cheaper emission intensive goods produced elsewhere," said the report.

Some of the leakages could be addressed through policies, such as tariffs that would impose the same costs on imports of emission-intensive goods that a carbon tax would impose on US goods. However, practical and legal challenges to such policies could limit their effectiveness, CBO said.

"Alternatively, in the case of a cap and trade programme, analysts have proposed reducing the extent to which production of emission-intensive goods would shift overseas by providing US producers in those industries with free emission allowances based on their level of production," it said.

Addressing the same concerns through a carbon tax would entail providing such producers with a tax rebate that was linked to their output.

A group of US lawmakers in a letter to Congressman Ed Whitfield, Chairman Subcommittee on Energy and Power and Committee on Energy and Commerce has said CBO`s conclusions about the costly impacts of climate change are consistent with recent reports released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Economic Forum.

In March, UNDP had released its 2013 Human Development Report, identifying more than 40 countries in the developing world that have made significant gains in human development due to investments in education, health care and social programs.

Despite this, chronic pollution and vulnerability to natural disasters continue to plague many of these countries.

UNDP concluded that failing to address climate change human development progress in the world`s poorest countries would come to a halt or even reverse.

The World Economic Forum`s annual global risks report report released in January 2013 found that in next 10 years rising greenhouse gas emissions poses one of the biggest global risks and that failure to adapt to climate change could have a tremendous socioeconomic impact across the globe, it said.


First Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 14:02

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