Former UK scientific advisor comments on climate change and development

Sir David King, former scientific adviser to the UK government, dismisses fears that asking developing countries to cut their carbon emissions is a plot to curb their development.

At a media briefing on 18 July at the third Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF-3) in Barcelona, King, currently director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at Oxford University, warned that climate change mingled with population explosion, would bring a series of global challenges, ranging from food and energy security to increased terrorism. The world must rise up now to act against climate change by reducing emissions, he said.

King, however, does not think cutting emissions will curb the development of the emerging economies such as China and India. “If your development repeats our energy intensive road in the past, the development is both a disaster to environment and a big threat to energy safety,” he warns

He also pointed out that levels of permissible emissions considered safe to the environment were not decided by politicians and negotiators, but by scientists at IPCC who have reached global consensus.

“It is not European nations which pressure on China’s development by asking it to reduce emissions. This (pressuring) is mainly done by the United States, which until now did not accept any emission reduction obligation. So it is not a plot at all,” King said.

Jia, Hepeng, China coordinator of SciDev.Net

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