May 30, 2024

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The Legal System

Climate Control: Is it All About the Money?

Climate Control: Is it All About the Money?

Trying to save the world.

Switzerland gets most of its energy from nuclear and hydroelectric sources. But it agreed to cut its reliance on greenhouse gases. What if there are not enough emissions left to cut? Switzerland said it would pay other countries to cut their gases and use the cuts to reach its agreed-upon goals. In other words, you cut your emissions, but we will take the credit.

Good Idea? It is as if you are a country still spewing carbon into the atmosphere. You pay a poor country to cut its emissions while making things worse for the planet.

For poor countries, the gift of money makes it possible to improve their way of life at no cost. And that is good for everyone. Here is how it works.

Switzerland is paying to install efficient lighting and cleaner stoves in five million households in Ghana. These installations would help households move away from burning wood for cooking. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There are questions about whether this payment is fair. It is an issue at this week’s United Nations climate conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Should rich nations help poorer countries with the damage caused by climate change?  The rich are the cause of the carbon dioxide emissions warming the world.

A rich nation could give money to a poor country and not work on its emissions.  It might also be funding projects in poorer countries that are underway. And without foreign funding.

The 2015 Paris Agreement said countries could cooperate in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Rules are making sure reductions are not double counted.

Switzerland has signed pacts with eight nations — Peru, Ghana, Senegal, Georgia, Vanuatu, Dominica, Thailand, and Ukraine. Japan and Sweden have said they will pursue the same kinds of deals.

Rich nations face criticism for failing to pay poorer nations to better adapt to warming temperatures.

The way Switzerland is doing it is only part of the answer.

Observers say it is in the best interests of all countries to reduce emissions. Investing in old technologies such as coal and fossil fuels does not make sense. A more climate-friendly future is ahead. As they say, follow the money.

Source: The New York Times November 7, 2022

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