Why Electricity Matters, Developing Nations Matter, and Asia Matters Most of All
Suffolk University Law School
February 24, 2009
NYU Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 15, p. 113, 2007
There are several common conceptions about global warming that deserve greater scrutiny than they have received. First, is it true that we must resolve the legal and policy responses regarding global warming? Second, does the U.S. matter most of all to affect global warming? Third, are developing nations really bit players in the global warming equation? Finally, is there no blueprint for turning back global warming with renewable power in developing nations? Despite common wisdom, the answer to each is negative. Electricity matters, and it matters most of all in international venues.
In Part II of this article, I explain how climate change works, why it matters - including some of its potentially devastating impacts - and why we should (and do) use a precautionary approach in the face of any uncertainty regarding the science of climate change. In Part III, I discuss the societal equation of global warming, which concerns population growth, the expansion of electrification, and technological development. Because both population and electrification are expanding throughout the world, the need to focus on technological innovation and implementation of renewable technologies is of paramount importance. This section includes a survey of available renewable technologies. In Part IV, I explain the urgent need to implement these technologies in places where population and electrification are increasing fastest-essentially, I argue in this article that we should be less focused on reducing developed nations' GHG emissions and more focused on forward-looking implementation of renewable technologies in Asia (and other developing nations experiencing rapid growth).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Date posted: February 26, 2009