Kishore Mahbubani: Is it fair to ask developing countries to go green?
Kishore Mahbubani was appointed Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on 16 August 2004 after having served 33 years in the Singapore Foreign Service (with postings in Cambodia, Malaysia, Washington DC and twice as Ambassador to the UN, during which he also served as President of the Security Council). He was the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry from 1993-1998.
He is the author of Can Asians Think? published in Singapore, Canada, US, Mexico, India and People’s Republic of China and of Beyond The Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World. His new book entitled The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Gobal Power to the East was published in New York in February 2008. He was also listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines in September 2005.
Question: Is it fair to ask developing countries to go green?
Kishore Mahbubani: Not all, I think we all want to live in a world that is green. I mean none of us want to live in the polluted cites or live with global warming, and I think the good news is that the newly developing countries is as committed to the green movement as the west, in theory at least. But, of course, in practice, take global warming, for example, if you want China and India to reduce their flows of new greenhouse gas emissions, then the West must take responsibility for the stock of greenhouse gas emissions that the West has put out in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. But if you don’t responsibility for the stock, and you are only going to tax the new flows, then, come on. They are going to say—China and India are going to say, “come on that’s not fair, you are not putting an economic price and what you put up and you are putting economic price in what I am putting out, and I much poorer than you.” Come on, let’s be fair about this. So, I think, if the West can accept responsibility for what it has done to, you know, create global warming than I think China and India will join the bargain too.
Everyone wants to be green, Mahbubani says. It just has to be done fairly.
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