Of course, the developed world should curb its consumption, but there’s no reason for developing countries to wait for us to take responsibility for their problems.
The developing world would be wise to use the industrialized world’s errors as a lesson on the difficulties of solving problems once they arise, rather than as an excuse for inaction. Many poor nations already have severe pollution problems (from sewage, industry and cars) and insufficient clean water for their people. All also strive for a higher standard of living, which fundamentally means more consumption and more pollution. By the year 2020, developing countries will account for 60% of the world’s energy consumption. The population problems of developing nations will only compound their pollution problems, and prevent many from improving their standard of living.