Some small countries that produce little pollution suffer greatly from the effects of climate change. In the South Pacific, greater coastal erosion, more frequent storms and increasing amounts of salt in the water table have all been linked to global climate change.
In this article, originally published in Le Monde Diplomatique, Agnès Sinaï argues that small countries such as the Pacific island nations gain little from the Kyoto Protocol. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the protocol's only tool to promote North-South cooperation, benefits only large, rapidly developing nations, such as India and China, she says. The CDM allows developed nations to gain carbon emission credits by investing in developing countries to help them reduce their emissions through 'green' technologies.
Sinaï says that the Kyoto Protocol is designed to benefit Northern industrialised countries and Southern giants that are already on their way to being major global polluters. She concludes that the burden of finding alternative systems for sustainable development may, in the end, rest on the shoulders of the smaller Southern countries.