The epic blow-up at Copenhagen was ultimately about something very simple. It was about economic growth — about who gets to grow, how fast, under what terms, using which energy supplies.
Within this purportedly zero-sum framework, if China grows quickly, burning cheap coal for fuel, with a slowly increasing amount of renewables added to the mix, the West will have to cut growth too sharply. Meanwhile most of the global South worries that the Copenhagen proposals could have permanently put a stop to their plans for growth.
But what if there’s an escape from this cul-de-sac? What if development — entailing, but not the same as, economic growth — could co-exist harmoniously with sharp emissions reductions? What would that imply for development planning?
The question is not rhetorical. It can.