Origin of current emissions-based approach
Origin: Global climate change policy dialogue has been shaped by developed countries from the start. These countries have witnessed an unsustainable lifestyle based on excess per capita emissions. Hence, since the start of their development process, they have already emitted much more than the developing countries ever will. This has resulted in their varying levels of per capita emissions when compared to developing countries like India.
- For the USA and Europe, these varying levels of per capita emissions are accounted for by expressways and the urban boom between 1950 and 2000, before China began its infrastructure push, leading to per-capita material use that is four times that of China.
The U.S. first recognized the implications of its way of life, preparing for the Stockholm Summit in 1972. Still, it shaped the global agenda in terms of current emissions which were going to grow in developing countries as they urbanized, rather than the stabilization of cumulative emissions, to draw attention away from its own urbanization and lifestyle.