Is It Fair to Ask Developing Countries to Grow Sustainably?

Question: Is it fair to ask developing countries to develop sustainably?

Kal Raustiala:  I think it’s fair to ask. I think they need assistance and I think that politically any solution to climate change is going to require a serious amount of money and resources going in to the developing world to assist them in that process in part because they are- they’re poor. There are just many, many poor countries and they need the assistance but in part because we have to do that because they are so--  Take China. China’s producing a couple of coal-fired power plants a week and so if you don’t do something about what’s happening in China it doesn’t matter how many of us get compact fluorescent light bulbs and put them in our--  It’s irrelevant. In L.A. where I live, much of the air pollution is coming over from China across the Pacific so we need to be in there assisting these countries technologically, financially, so that they can make this transition in a way that is not harmful to their economic growth. And they’ve shown a great desire to continue to raise the living standards of their people and unless that’s achieved sustainably the future is grim.

Raustiala speaks out about climate change from the perspective of international law.

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