When discussing global solutions to climate change, a constant distinction is drawn between three groups of states (two of which we sometimes pretend are the same). There are the ‘developed’ states and a ‘developing’ set which consists of those that are growing rapidly (India, China, Brazil, Russia) and those that are stagnant or even getting poorer (Zimbabwe, Sudan).
An alternative way of thinking about the situation is this. Imagine the states as human beings. The ‘developed’ ones grew up in the very unusual situation of huge amounts of cheap, easy energy everywhere. (Sci-fi nerds might appreciate how they could be equated to Guild Navigators.) As a consequence, they developed in a deformed way. Their economies can only keep going in their present form while that unusual situation continues. The rapidly developing states are following the same line of development, despite the certainty of climate change and the probability of energy prices rising in the long term.
The ‘developed’ states may be all grown up, but they have developed into monsters. ‘Developing’ states may want to muster the determination to mature more gracefully.