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The Only Way To Prevent the Worst of Climate Change

The fight against climate change will be won or lost in less wealthy countries that will produce the most emissions in the future.

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, continues in Dubai, too many people are still looking in the wrong direction when it comes to fighting climate change. Just about everyone focuses on the United States and other advanced economies since they are most responsible for past and current greenhouse gas emissions causing the planet to warm. But fewer think about less wealthy countries that will produce the most emissions in the future.

A new report from The Rockefeller Foundation reveals that the fight against climate change will be won or lost in these latter countries. Wealthier countries have made major investments in greening their economies but emerging and developing economies have not had the same opportunity. If they continue to fuel their growth with fossil fuels, these countries will produce enough emissions by later this century to trigger catastrophic global results regardless of what the United States and others do. Though harrowing, this data makes clear it’s possible to not only prevent the worst but ensure a better future for some of the world’s poorest people by empowering these countries with renewable energy technologies.

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This oped first appeared in bostonglobe.com on December 11th, 2023.