Developed countries’ dominance in climate research may make it harder for poorer nations to participate effectively in the Paris climate agreement, according to a report published last week in Nature Climate Change.

That imbalance is overwhelming: Researchers from industrialized countries published 10,442 scientific and technical journal articles in 2011, compared with only 1,323 by researchers from the developing world, according to World Bank data.

The 14 authors of last week’s paper say that state of affairs could complicate poor countries’ ability to appropriately participate in agreements like the Paris deal, which calls on nations to formulate and fulfil their own commitments.

“Northern domination of science globally relevant to climate change policy and practice and lack of research led by Southern researchers in Southern countries may hinder development and implementation of bottom-up global agreements and nationally appropriate actions in Southern countries,” they write. “The divide may impact most on least developed countries (LDC) and small island developing states (SIDS), which are the most vulnerable to climate change but contribute least to relevant research.”

The imbalance may also erode Southern trust in a process that is sometimes perceived to be more responsive to developed countries’ interests and needs, they wrote. And it may assign developing countries a junior position within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change body responsible for advising on implementation and technological and scientific questions, giving researchers from wealthier countries a disproportionate say in that body’s conclusions.

It also may decide what gets studied, they write.

“Southern scientists have argued that most studies feeding into global assessments focus directly or indirectly on issues more relevant to the North and are often based on assumptions not transferable to the South.”

The group calls for more funding to support the work of climate researchers from developing countries.

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at www.eenews.net.