International climate policies are likely to conflict with current poverty reduction strategies, say Terence P. Dawson and Simon J. Allen in this correspondence to Nature.
They blame opposing views on trade and tourism. On the one hand, international development agencies and the World Trade Organization are reducing trade barriers to give poor nations access to global export markets, investment capital and improved technology.
Meanwhile, western consumers are encouraged to source food from local rather than international suppliers, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions associated with 'food miles' — the distance produce travels from field to plate.
Similarly, developing nations are being pushed to promote tourism as a means of sustainable development, while developed countries are under pressure to reduce aircraft emissions associated with international tourism.
Dawson and Allen say that the international community needs to find new ways to promote poor countries' development that do not rely on the carbon-heavy sectors of trade and tourism ― especially since developing countries will be affected most by climate change.