Monday, March 23, 2009

Reference: Low carbon growth is the model to adopt, Bangkok Post, March 24, 2009

An article citing economist Nicholas Stern argues that developing countries including Thailand should switch to a "low carbon growth model" (LCGM) in order to save the earth from climate change catastrophe (Low carbon growth is the model to adopt, Bangkok Post, March 24, 2009). It presents an oversimplification of the issue to the point that it is actually inconsistent with what was proposed by Mr Stern (see "The Economics of Climate Change" by Nicholas Stern) who argued that the LCGM is viable only if it can first be demonstrated by the developed countries and only if all of the technologies required can then be transferred costlessly to the developing countries. Currently the developed countries emit 10 to 20 tonnes of carbon per year per capita and the wordwide average is 4.5 tonnes. The Nicholas Stern plan to mitigate climate change calls for a reduction of the worldwide average to 1.0 tonnes per capita. No developed country has yet demonstrated that economic growth is possible at this Spartan rate of carbon emission and no technology has been proposed for developing countries to achieve economic growth at this emission rate. Denmark is cited in the article as a leader in LCGM technology and yet their per capita carbon emission is 9.7 tonnes, far from the target of 1.0 tonnes and that relatively large rate of 9.7 tonnes does not coincide with economic growth but with recesssion. The call for Thailand to adopt LCGM is premature. We are decades if not centuries away from methods and technologies that will allow the developed economies to continue economic growth at the per capita carbon emission rate of Bangladesh.

Cha-am Jamal

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