WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some developing countries, rapidly catching up to the industrialized world in greenhouse gas emissions, must take more responsibility for the output and act to curb it, the World Bank’s chief economist said on Sunday.
Francois Bourguignon said while industrialized nations still account for about 60 percent of emissions, that figure is seen falling further to around 50 percent by 2020 and the bulk of incremental emissions will come from rapidly growing developing countries, like China, India, Brazil and Mexico.
“Definitely, the developing countries have to do something now,” Bourguignon told reporters. “It will be very difficult to compensate this increase in emissions by reducing the emissions of developed countries.”
The Bank says the answer lies in boosting energy efficiency, without forcing countries to curb industrial production, steps that can be attained more easily in developing countries by, for example, switching from coal-fired plants to cleaner power generation or carbon credit trading.
“There is very much scope for intervention, policy and action by developing countries,” Bourguignon said.
The World Bank has launched an initiative — the Clean Energy for Development Investment Framework — which would see project funding rise beyond $10 billion in the next three years from about $7 billion in the past three years.
The objective is to help developing countries reduce their carbon emissions while expanding their electricity generation capabilities.
Britain said on Sunday that the Bank must challenge rich countries to take action on climate change and encourage developing countries to play a role that allows for growth while addressing the issue.
Alan Gelb, World Bank director for development policy, said developing countries should not be left to bear the entire cost of efforts to reduce emissions.
“There will be a question of who finances this and how incentives can be built into the world system whether it’s through pricing carbon or other mechanisms,” he said.
“Clearly it would not be equitable, even if a poor developing country were responsible for much of the forward-looking global emission, for (it) to have fund the entire cost of mitigating it. That’s going to be the question, as to how that works.”