Developing countries must bail out of the climate game

As obvious as it may sound, developing countries need more fast-paced development, not moral policing on matters of energy, development, and environment.

The onset of the twenty-first century saw the international community coerce developing nations into adopting economy-choking environmental policies.

Earlier environmental laws focused on more tangible and empirically verifiable environmental problems, like deforestation and toxic air and water pollution.  But in recent decades, attention has turned toward global warming, which has become the most talked about sociopolitical environmental issue, impacting every decision made by governments and institutions.

When it comes to energy and development, developing countries have been on the receiving end of things.  The anti–fossil fuel resolutions made by the international community require poor countries to reduce their use of conventional energy sources and adopt less certain, newer technologies for their energy needs.

This is in line with the dominant hypothesis that a reduction in fossil fuel–based carbon dioxide emissions will help us contain climate change and stop global average temperature from reaching dangerous levels.

Yet there is no guarantee in the first place that global average temperatures will reach dangerous levels.  Predictions about future climate states are mere forecasts, not actualities.

In fact, a simple analysis of past predictions (1979–2016) amply demonstrates that forecast accuracy for global average temperatures is wide of the mark.  Both past and present predictions are highly inaccurate, erroneous, and contradictory to real-world temperatures.

In light of these complexities in climate-predictive abilities and the increasing political influence in the discourse of climate science, it is critical that the official governing bodies of developing countries revisit their "climate commitments" made to the United Nations.

Development — the kind that is fast-paced, stable, and affordable — cannot happen without fossil fuels.  Most of the current economic superpowers of the West were built on fossil fuels and continue to depend on them.

Without fossil fuels, poor nations will have to offset their poverty alleviation goals, owing to a more prolonged transitional phase of the economy (from developing to developed).  Developing countries cannot afford that, especially when there are zero quantifiable benefits from emission reduction policies.

Moreover, countries are beginning to understand the superfluous nature of emission reduction benefits.  Consequently, they are putting their national energy interests ahead of unquantifiable, erroneous predictions about a future climate.

The United States government, for example, pulled out of the Paris agreement and reaffirmed its faith in conventional energy sources, re-energizing its fossil fuel industry.  As a result, it became the largest producer of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids.  Even the U.S., with all its might, understands that fossil fuel is critical to ensure economic growth and meet domestic energy needs.

Developing countries are way behind the U.S. in terms of economic achievement and cannot afford acts that are largely symbolic when people are dying of hunger.  Instead of stooping to international pressure, developing nations should make the right move and reap the benefits of a growing international fossil fuel sector.

Developing countries must revoke their commitments to the Paris agreement and revamp their domestic policies on carbon dioxide emissions.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., environmental science, University of East Anglia, England), research associate for developing countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Bangalore, India.

As obvious as it may sound, developing countries need more fast-paced development, not moral policing on matters of energy, development, and environment.

The onset of the twenty-first century saw the international community coerce developing nations into adopting economy-choking environmental policies.

Earlier environmental laws focused on more tangible and empirically verifiable environmental problems, like deforestation and toxic air and water pollution.  But in recent decades, attention has turned toward global warming, which has become the most talked about sociopolitical environmental issue, impacting every decision made by governments and institutions.

When it comes to energy and development, developing countries have been on the receiving end of things.  The anti–fossil fuel resolutions made by the international community require poor countries to reduce their use of conventional energy sources and adopt less certain, newer technologies for their energy needs.

This is in line with the dominant hypothesis that a reduction in fossil fuel–based carbon dioxide emissions will help us contain climate change and stop global average temperature from reaching dangerous levels.

Yet there is no guarantee in the first place that global average temperatures will reach dangerous levels.  Predictions about future climate states are mere forecasts, not actualities.

In fact, a simple analysis of past predictions (1979–2016) amply demonstrates that forecast accuracy for global average temperatures is wide of the mark.  Both past and present predictions are highly inaccurate, erroneous, and contradictory to real-world temperatures.

In light of these complexities in climate-predictive abilities and the increasing political influence in the discourse of climate science, it is critical that the official governing bodies of developing countries revisit their "climate commitments" made to the United Nations.

Development — the kind that is fast-paced, stable, and affordable — cannot happen without fossil fuels.  Most of the current economic superpowers of the West were built on fossil fuels and continue to depend on them.

Without fossil fuels, poor nations will have to offset their poverty alleviation goals, owing to a more prolonged transitional phase of the economy (from developing to developed).  Developing countries cannot afford that, especially when there are zero quantifiable benefits from emission reduction policies.

Moreover, countries are beginning to understand the superfluous nature of emission reduction benefits.  Consequently, they are putting their national energy interests ahead of unquantifiable, erroneous predictions about a future climate.

The United States government, for example, pulled out of the Paris agreement and reaffirmed its faith in conventional energy sources, re-energizing its fossil fuel industry.  As a result, it became the largest producer of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids.  Even the U.S., with all its might, understands that fossil fuel is critical to ensure economic growth and meet domestic energy needs.

Developing countries are way behind the U.S. in terms of economic achievement and cannot afford acts that are largely symbolic when people are dying of hunger.  Instead of stooping to international pressure, developing nations should make the right move and reap the benefits of a growing international fossil fuel sector.

Developing countries must revoke their commitments to the Paris agreement and revamp their domestic policies on carbon dioxide emissions.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., environmental science, University of East Anglia, England), research associate for developing countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Bangalore, India.