Public Library of Science

Proposals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions must balance with development needs

Efforts to combat climate change should take into account the development levels of different countries when negotiating agreements, according to a study published in the Dec. 21 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

On an early stage, developing countries tend to rely on fossil fuels to achieve their development targets. In a world of limited technology transfer, cumulative CO2 emission necessary for development are between 20 and 30% of previously calculated budges to keep global temperature below 2°C target. The authors of the recent report, led by Luis Costa of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, propose a new allocation framework that reserves individual emissions paths for the Development As Usual (DAU) of current developing countries until certain development standards - in the form of long, healthy life, access to knowledge, and decent living standards - are reached, at which point the countries become responsible for reducing their emissions.

Diego Rybski, a co-author, cautions that the results should not be considered predictions but rather as a possible future. Nonetheless, Juergen Kropp concludes that an integration of fair a CO2 allocations and individual carbon budgets considering development dynamics might have a better chance for acceptance in climate negotiations.