Rich Country, Poor Country

Question: What responsibility does the wealthy world have to countries that haven't yet added to the greenhouse gas buildup? 

Gro Harlem Brundtland: Well, it has been clear to me since the time of the commission that I led in the '80's, that no doubt the historic responsibility for where we are and where we were already in the '80's due to naturalization that has to be basically borne or taken on by those countries that have industrialized. And that doesn't mean only that they have to change their development patterns, which is happening and has to happen even more, but they have to be "paying" part of that debt to the planet and to the rest of the world by helping them have a chance for sustainable development and overcoming of poverty and building their development the right to development is something that all peoples, not only aspire, but I think we have to accept that it's just going to happen. And the less we participate in bridging the divide and paying these kinds of bills, we will not find a solution. 

Question: If we are approaching a tipping point in the climate change, will developing countries have to accept sacrifices? 

Gro Harlem Brundtland: I think the pattern of development in developing countries will have to be different than the pattern that we had been through because there's no need to use, and not a good idea to use the old fashioned technologies that brought us to where we are. So, developing countries don't need to go through the polluting stages of industrial development that we had done. But to help them be able to develop in another pattern and in a sustainable way, we have to be investing and helping them by paying some of those debts to nature that we have already taken on. And in that way, I believe that a sustainable development happen can give developing countries the benefits of a good development pattern and can look into the future of a greater prosperity and more equity and overcoming of poverty. I don't doubt that this is possible. 

Recorded on February 26, 2010

Wealthy countries have to pay for part of their debt to the planet by helping developing countries have a chance for sustainability.

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