The European Union, USA, China, Russia, Japan and Korea have developed their natural resources, created industries and mechanised their agriculture for maximum output to achieve the economic growth in the last fifty years. Some of these countries nationalised land, oil/gas producing companies, coal mines and rail networks. They subsidise their farmers and industries to this day and protect them from international competitors with high import taxes to this day. . Consequences of such rapid development on climate change was not a consideration for these countries until recently. Exploitation of fossil fuels, mining for metals (gold, diamond, aluminium, copper, tin), chopping down millions of trees in rain forests in South America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to plant palm trees for oil and hardwood for construction were considered essential for British, French, Dutch and Portuguese colonies. Donor countries like USA choose to tie their aid to investment that does not always target the most essential requirements of poor countries.
In the last ten years, concern about climate change, has become as important as investment in health, education and housing in the rich countries. An international agreement was signed in Paris to secure approval of minimum measures that signatory countries are obliged to comply with. This policy is supported by the UN and other international NGOs. It has been supported by almost all countries in the world to minimise the impact on so many
poor countries that face desertification, flooding and invasion by the sea of many island nations.
The citizens of rich countries consume more water, food, and fuel than developing countries. Until recently, they exported their plastic waste to poor countries to pollute their land. They have been responsible for plastic pollution of oceans which have consequences They use more plastic and other packaging that pollute the air, land and oceans. Measures to control, pollution and improve and maintain the quality of air, sea and land requires substantial and sustained finance. President Trump’s USA, the richest country in the world, has withdrawn from the Paris Treaty on Climate Change because of the perceived cost to its industries and agriculture. This is outrageous as the USA and China are the biggest polluters of air and oceans in the world. Whilst the EU and other countries have politely criticised the USA , there is no suggestion from any country or international organisation of any financial or diplomatic sanction against the USA.
Whilst rich countries continue to support high polluting industries and intensive farming using pesticides and fertilisers in their own countries, they tie their aid to and trade concessions for poor countries to compliance of environmental protection outlined in the Paris Climate Change Treaty. They dictate policies on resource management, choice of energy use and agricultural policy for food sufficiency. Poor countries cannot afford to allocate limited funds in their national budgets for protecting their environment as they struggle to provide basic health, food and homes for their poor populations.
All aid to poor countries should be conditional on independent test of good governance and ensure that foreign companies involved in development aid projects do not exploit by overpricing their inputs and corruption of politicians and bureaucrats of the country receiving aid.
Whilst entrepreneurs in rich countries enjoy freedom to invest, those in poor countries are expected to incur expensive measures to protect the environment. This extra cost is a burden on corporate taxes making companies in poor countries less competitive. Why should the poor countries prioritise investment environmental protection when they need to invest in their public services, infra structure and development of their economies? Why should their people live without access to water, sanitation and a roof over their head? Why should these poor people not fish in their rivers and oceans to survive whilst rich nations use fishing trawlers equipped with sophisticated sonar technology to identify the location of fish that they plunder for sale in their own countries? Why should the poor not occupy part of their forested land to cultivate food crops for survival when international r companies plant palm trees for oil production for use in food and cosmetics in their own countries? Why do international logging companies exploit the hardwood of ancient trees in the forests of Congo, Brazil and other countries in South East Asia for profit from sale in their own countries?
What does democracy mean to a family who is trapped in a cycle of poverty and dependence? A family sleeping in a tent or mud hut in rural sub-Saharan Africa without access to water, sanitation and fuel is desperate for opportunity to work. This applies to the poor in all developing countries on all continents.
The poor can only liberate themselves from poverty if they opt for fast economic growth even if this means a degree of environmental degradation. They must feed their people, find them sustainable employment and give them an opportunity to create wealth so that every citizen, especially the poor, has a stake in the national economy. Poverty in third world countries will only be eradicated by the sweat and determination of their own people when they realise that production and provision of basic needs of life are more important than the concerns of the rich!
The rich countries of the world need to invest in developing skills of the poor. They need to invest in vocational training centres in rural areas where the poor, especially the young and women, can acquire skills in plumbing, masonry, construction, carpentry, engineering (mechanical, electrical and electronic), information technology, animal and poultry breeding and care, farming using irrigation and rotation of crops, sanitation, healthcare and learning to read and write. The poor need these skills desperately to enable them to be self- sufficient by using their land and natural resources in the best way to secure water, food, shelter and work that will finance education and health for their families. The poor in their countries do NOT wish to emigrate to Europe or the USA. Corruption and bad governance in the poor countries forces people into poverty and the brightest and the fittest young people take life threatening risks to cross deserts and oceans to reach the shores of EU countries or the USA border. This exodus of the young from any poor country is the most serious loss to the economic and social development of all the people left to continue to suffer forever!