Poor nations paying price of damage done by richer ones

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London, Jan 22 (UNI) Disclosing the extent to which poor countries are trampled by the environmental footprints of the rich, a study estimates that the damage done by the latter costs the former almost 920 billion pounds, on par with or exceeding their combined foreign debt.

The environmental damage caused by rich countries disproportionately impacts poor nations and costs them a huge amount of money, according to the first-ever global accounting of this sort.

However, the effect of poor on rich nations was less than a third of the impact the latter have on the former.

The study, led by former University of California research fellow Thara Srinivasan, assessed the impacts of agricultural intensification and expansion, deforestation, overfishing, loss of mangrove swamps and forests, ozone depletion and climate change from 1961 to 2000.

Ms Srinivasan said, ''Low-income countries will bear significant burdens from climate change and ozone depletion. But these environmental problems have been overwhelmingly driven by emission of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting chemicals by the rest of the world.

About the estimated amount, she said, ''We think the measured impact is conservative. And given that it's conservative, the numbers are very striking. The ecological debt could more than offset the financial debt of low-income nations.

The calculation of the ecological footprints of the world's low-, middle- and high-income nations drew upon more than a decade of assessments by environmental economists who have tried to attach monetary figures to environmental damage, plus data from the recent United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and World Bank reports, the Daily Telegraph reported.


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