Switzerland gets most of its energy from nuclear and hydroelectric sources. But it agreed to reduce its dependence on greenhouse gases. What happens if there are not enough emissions left to reduce? Switzerland said it would pay other countries to reduce their gases and use the cuts to meet agreed targets. In other words, you reduce your emissions, but we get the credit.
Good idea? It’s like you’re a country that keeps spewing carbon into the atmosphere. You pay a poor country to reduce its emissions while making things worse for the planet.
For poor countries, the gift of money allows them to improve their way of life at no cost. And that’s good for everyone. Is that how it works.
Switzerland is paying to install efficient lighting and cleaner stoves in five million homes in Ghana. These facilities would help households stop burning wood for cooking. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
There are questions about whether this payment is fair. It’s a topic at this week’s United Nations climate conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Should rich nations help poorer countries with the damage caused by climate change? The rich are the cause of the carbon dioxide emissions that warm the world.
A rich nation could give money to a poor country and not work on its emissions. It could also be funding projects in poorer countries that are underway. And without foreign funding.
The 2015 Paris Agreement said that countries could cooperate to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The rules make sure that reductions are not counted twice.
Switzerland has signed pacts with eight nations: Peru, Ghana, Senegal, Georgia, Vanuatu, Dominica, Thailand and Ukraine. Japan and Sweden have said they will seek the same type of deals.
Rich nations face criticism for not paying poorer nations to better adapt to rising temperatures.
The way Switzerland is doing it is only part of the answer.
Observers say that the best thing for all countries is to reduce emissions. Investing in old technologies like coal and fossil fuels is pointless. A more climate-friendly future is coming. As they say, follow the money.
Source: The New York Times November 7, 2022