We must tackle global energy inequality before it’s too late

We must tackle global energy inequality before it’s too late

There should be a worldwide tax on emissions backed by help for developing countries to cut CO2

While denizens of the world’s wealthiest economies debate the fate and fortune of the middle class, more than 800 million people worldwide have no access to electricity. And more than 2 billion have no clean cooking facilities, forcing them to use toxic alternatives such as animal waste as their main cooking fuel. Furthermore, per capita carbon dioxide emissions in Europe and the US are still vastly higher than in China and India. What right do Americans, in particular, have to complain as China increases production in smokestack industries to counter the economic slowdown caused by its trade war with the US? To many in Asia, the inward-looking debate in the west often seems both tone deaf and beside the point.

Even if Europe and the US deliberately stall their capitalist growth engines – as some of the more radical policy proposals might do if implemented – it would not be nearly enough to contain global warming if emerging economies stay on their current consumption growth trajectory.

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