Rich must bear climate change costs - report

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LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) The rich caused the problem and must therefore pay the price of fixing the global climate change crisis, a new report said today.

Christian Aid, an agency of British and Irish churches, said industrialised nations were historically responsible and therefore morally liable to foot the multi-billion dollar cost of tackling the problem of man-made emissions of carbon gases.

''Nations that have grown rich in part by polluting without facing the costs of doing so must now repay their carbon debt to the developing world,'' said Andrew Pendleton, author of ''Truly Inconvenient - tackling poverty and climate change at once''.

It is an argument that will appeal to the developing nations which have used it regularly, but will probably meet diplomatic foot-dragging in the industrialised world whose economies are being threatened by surging oil prices.

Based on the Greenhouse Development Rights framework -- an equation allocating responsibility for emissions of greenhouse gases -- the United States should shoulder 34.3 per cent of the annual bill, with the European Union on 26.6 per cent.

India and China, both rapidly industrialising but still way behind their developed world counterparts, should bear 0.3 per cent and 7.0 per cent of the bill respectively.

Based on the calculation a year ago by British economist Nicholas Stern that acting now would cost one percent of gross world product a year, Washington's bill would be 212 billion dollars a year while Brussels' would be 164 billion dollars, the report said.

The report is aimed directly at a meeting next month of United Nations' environment ministers on the Indonesian island of Bali which environmentalists want to agree to open urgent talks on a new global climate protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialised nations to cut carbon gases by five percent on average below 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012 when it expires, with as yet nothing in prospect to replace it.

But the United States rejected it in 2002 as being economic suicide and it is not binding on developing countries such as China which is building a coal-fired power station a week to feed its booming economy.

REUTERS NC KP0842

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