Growing Concerns

The countries of the world are roughly divided into two categories:

I Developed: These countries, which are also known as industrialized countries, have a strong industrial base and a relatively high income per capita. The generally accepted grouping of industrialized countries includes Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, and all countries within Europe. Many people would also consider countries such as Russia and Israel to be developed.

I Developing: These countries generally have a low per-capita income and little industry. In developing countries, life expectancy is lower than in industrialized countries, and an increasingly urbanized population is growing more rapidly than the population in industrialized nations. All developing nations are moving toward industrialization (that's why they're described as developing), but some are closer than others. Most countries in the world are considered developing.

Figure 12-1 highlights 50 of the world's least developed countries.

Map of the 50 Least Developed Countries

Figure 12-1:

The 50 least developed nations in the world, according to the UN.

Figure 12-1:

The 50 least developed nations in the world, according to the UN.

• Tuvalu aiti Guinea-Bissau Guinea Sierra Leoni Liberi

• Tuvalu aiti Guinea-Bissau Guinea Sierra Leoni Liberi

Solomon Islands

Guinea

Angi Sau Tome and Principi

Dem. Rep. of the Congo Zambia1

Solomon Islands

Guinea

Angi Sau Tome and Principi

Dem. Rep. of the Congo Zambia1

Based on The Least Developed Countries Report 2004 - Linking International Trade with Poverty Reduction. UNCTAD.

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Some development academics argue that no country can ever truly be fully developed because progress has no real end. Others say that industrialization and a stable and strong economy signal that a country is developed. Another group thinks that development is defined by what educational and health services are available to the general population.

Developing countries face significant challenges while they try to build and improve their countries' economies. The route to wealth that all industrialized countries followed (such as developing big industry by using fossil fuels such as coal and oil) leads to climate change. While the wealth and industry in these huge developing countries grow, so too does their energy consumption. If these countries take their energy from the traditional sources that power industrialized countries, carbon emissions will skyrocket.

Consequently, the development of these countries is under great scrutiny. Some industrialized countries, such as the United States and Canada, have said that they won't commit to reducing their impact on climate change unless major developing countries, such as China, Brazil, and India, also commit. But the "Do as I say, not as I do" position from major industrialized nations doesn't sit too well with people in these countries. As Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told The New York Times, "We don't accept the idea that the emerging nations are the ones who have to make sacrifices, because poverty itself is already a sacrifice."

The generally accepted idea, which is the core of the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols (which we discuss in Chapter 11), maintains that industrialized countries caused the problem and have more resources to tackle it, so they should take the first steps in fixing it. After they get a good start, then developing countries can join in. The technological innovations of industrialized countries can help make the transition to a low-carbon development path more feasible, and the developing nations can focus on reducing emissions when they're financially able to implement new technologies, including receiving financial and technological assistance from industrialized countries.

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