Let us start with Infrastructure. The poorer countries in the world need more investment in energy and transportation to develop. Yet the construction and use of these will contribute to green-house gas emissions and alter the eco-systems in the areas where they are built. Without a recognition of their aspirations for economic development, international agreement of climate change and biodiversity will be difficult to achieve.
The mitigation of the Climate Change challenge requires a reduction in green-house gas emissions either by lowering energy consumption or by reducing the resulting emissions. Poorer countries want energy, and the cheapest initial investments are, unfortunately, often the dirtiest. A switch to greener alternatives will require substantial financial and technical assistance if they are to agree to any solution. Moreover, the alternatives to fossil fuels pose their own challenges to sensitive ecosystems.
The earth’s Biodiversity is already under threat. Species extinction has been accelerating due to changes in weather patterns, changes in land-use and the destruction of unique eco-systems caused by infrastructural development. The challenge here is to find species specific solutions that can be combined in effective international action.
We have framed these contradictions as though all the problems emanated from the poorer countries. This is not true. It is the richer countries that have contributed most to causing the climate change problems, and that are planning most of the new infrastructural investment. The changes required to slow the damage will incur considerable short-term costs, and there are powerful industrial lobbies determined to avoid them.
This site is devoted to facilitating a fact-based discourse on these complex issues by providing access the necessary statistical data, to the policy proposals and evaluations and to the findings of the most recent scientific research.