Climate change inequality identified in the Commonwealth

1st May 2018

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Matthew Dewsbury

The Commonwealth’s poorer nations are doing more than their fair share to tackle climate change, while richer nations like the UK and Canada fail to do enough.

That is according to a new study by NGO Christian Aid, which measures the Paris Agreement pledges made by each Commonwealth country against their national capacity and historic emissions.

This is intended to calculate the fair proportion of effort each nation should give tackling climate change, with the UK, Canada and Australia found to be in the red, while Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia are in credit.

It was also found that the UK burns more carbon dioxide than 18 commonwealth countries combined on a per capita basis, and along with Canada, could eradicate energy poverty across the bloc.

“For Britain, the host country, which claims to care for both the climate and the Commonwealth, it risks being embarrassing if it doesn’t step up its game,” said study author, Mohamed Adow.

“The UK is proud of the shared values between the ‘family of nations’, but it is not pulling its weight, and instead is leaving the heavy lifting to much poorer countries.”

The UK must mitigate 700 metric tonnes of CO2 worldwide by 2030 in order to meet its obligations, which equates to 1,730 terawatt hours of renewable electricity.

However, owing to its relative wealth and high emissions since 1990, this cannot be achieved within the country’s own borders and will require action to displace emissions abroad.

By investing in renewable energy across poor Commonwealth countries, Britain can tackle climate change and assist the world’s most needy.

The top five countries that suffer the worst from extreme weather are all Commonwealth nations: Mozambique, Dominica, Malawi, India and Vanuatu.

“As the UK readies itself for departing the EU, there has been much talk about the importance of trade and collaboration within the Commonwealth,” Adow continued.

“What better way of boosting the fortunes of its future trading partners than by tackling climate change and bringing power to those that need it?”

Image credit: iStock


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