Leading Green House Gas Emitting Countries Should Pay More – Cabraal
By Rajiesh Seetharam
State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal claimed that countries emitting higher quantities of green house gasses should do more in terms of financing to tackle climate change and global environmental issues.
Speaking at a conference on sustainable green financing, organised by the International Chamber of Commerce and UN ESCAP, the Minister said, “Sri Lanka has not damaged the environment as some developing countries have done. Sri Lanka is only paying for the sins other countries have committed. In terms of equity, those countries that have damaged the environment at higher levels should pay more to finance green projects and to maintain ecological balance.”
Speaking further he said that the Government is committed to striking a balance between development and environment.
“Inputs from environmentalists are given significant importance for over 250 projects under my purview. Each project is worth more than a billion rupees and these projects are sometimes delayed due to environmental concerns, thus making sure Sri Lanka stays green.
“Sri Lanka was economically backwards due to four hundred years of colonial rule, thus we need to develop aggressively, but also need to maintain a balance on environment.
Only 1% of the population had electricity in 1948. Even now, only 53% of population has access to tap water. In the next 4-5 years, the Government would invest LKR 800 billion in ensuring people get water on tap.”
Secretary to the Ministry of Environment Dr. Anil Jasinghe stated that the ministry identified two projects as being of significance to mange environmental issues. One is the 'Surakimu Ganga' (Protect Rivers) project, which aims to conserve the entire river system consisting of 103 rivers in Sri Lanka. The other project is a Plastic management programme to control environmental issues caused due to use of plastic.
He further noted that Sri Lanka has established an independent semi-government company under the environment ministry named ‘Sri Lanka Climate Fund’, with a view to strengthen green finance projects.
The top three greenhouse gas emitters — China, the European Union and the United States — contribute 41.5% of total global emissions, while the bottom 100 countries account for only 3.6%. Collectively, the top 10 emitters account for over two-thirds of global GHG emissions, states the World Resources Institute. As per data from Union of Concerned Scientists, China emits the highest amount of Carbon dioxide at 10.06GT, followed by the USA (5.41 GT), India (2.65 GT), Russia (1.71 GT).
Despite China being the top emitter of Carbon dioxide and India being one of highest emitters, their Carbon dioxide per capita emission remains low with China emitting 7.2 metric tons of Carbon dioxide per capita, while India only emits 1.8 metric tons per capita. Sri Lanka’s emission also remains low at 1.1.
Qatar (38.4 MT), Bahrain (22.2 MT), UAE (22 MT), Gibraltar (18.8 MT), Brunei (18 MT), Saudi Arabia (17.4 MT), Australia (15.5 MT), USA (15.5 MT), Canada (15.1 MT) are some of the leading emitters of Carbon dioxide per capita as per the World Bank’s latest report.