We could use a global carbon tax to give developing countries incentives to phase out coal
Although much derided by climate-change deniers, not least Donald Trump, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal hits the nail on the head with its urgent call for the US to lead by example on global warming. But the sad truth is that, for all the needless waste produced by Americans’ gluttonous culture, emerging Asia is by far the main driver of the world’s growing carbon dioxide emissions. No amount of handwringing will solve the problem. The way to do that is to establish the right incentives for countries such as China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
It is hard to see how to do this within the framework of existing multilateral aid institutions, which have limited expertise on climate issues and are pulled in different directions by their various constituencies. For example, to the dismay of many energy experts, the World Bank recently rather capriciously decided to stop funding virtually all new fossil-fuel plants, including natural gas. But replacing dirty coal plants with relatively clean natural gas is how the US has managed to reduce emissions growth dramatically over the past decade (despite Trump’s best efforts), and is a centrepiece of the famous “Princeton wedges” pragmatic options for minimising climate risk. One cannot let the perfect become the enemy of good in the transition to a carbon-neutral future.
Read more: theguardian.com