Poor countries need fossil fuels

In: Uncategorized

23 Nov 2009

Nigel Lawson, a climate change sceptic and former British chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister), has a comment piece in today’s Times (London) predicting the failure of the Copenhagen climate change summit. In it he makes the sensible point that the world’s poorer countries cannot afford to decarbonise their economies:

“Switching to much more expensive energy may be acceptable for us in the developed world. But in the developing world, there are still tens of millions of people suffering from acute poverty, and from the consequences of such poverty, in the shape of preventable disease, malnutrition and premature death. So for the developing world, the overriding priority has to be the fastest feasible rate of economic development, which means, inter alia, using the cheapest available form of energy: carbon-based energy.”

Lawson is also the chairman of the board of trustees of the Global Warming Policy Forum, a think tank that was launched today.