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A fair international game for all in reducing emissions

The US house of representatives has passed a bill to reduce greenhouse emissions and the bill will need to be past in the US senate to become a law. It is an encouraging sign from the US that has acted to drag the international efforts to reduce emissions in the past, re the Kyoto protocol.

The recent G-8 meeting is reported to be going to make declaration on reducing greenhouse emissions. Some reports say G-8 countries would reduce their emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. It is commendable target and encouraging.

There are also reports that the developing countries are expected to reduce their emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.

While all these seem to be good, there are some interesting questions that demand answers sooner or later. For example, what is a fair target of emissions reductions and hence the level of emissions by a certain time for a particular country? This is relevant and unavoidable, because some of the developing countries have almost negligible emissions per capita. Do we ask them also to reduce their emissions by 50 per cent by 2050? Is that fair for that country? How can that country raise its living standard?

It would be difficult to reach an agreement on fair emissions levels for countries. However, it seems fair enough to have an equal right for every person to have the same level of emissions at a future time, even the past responsibility of who have contributed to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is forgiven. The number of total population should also be decided at a time, so any future changes in population should be the responsibility of individual countries. If a country has faster population growth its total allowable emissions levels will not be increased.

An equal per capita level of allowable emissions should be an important part of fundamental human rights, irrespective who is rich or poor, where he or she lives, which country he or she belongs to.

The international community must resolve this fundamental issue of fair levels of emission entitlement for everyone on the global at a certain time.

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