More than once have I edited a paper that includes these two points:
When I read comments about the first, I often read laments about how they are soon to be “consuming” like their Western counterparts, and that they are some sort of sinners for trying to catch up to us in the West while allowing their local environment to be stressed. But can you argue both of these positions consistently? After all, when modern nations first developed, the technologies to avoid pollution did not exist, and much of the environmental damage they might have been doing was unknown to them. That is not the case for developing nations today. For the sake of consistency, ought not people argue that is is also unfair to condemn China for its lax local environmental policy because that was the situation which prevailed when First World nations were at similar stages of development?
I am making an effort to shorten up many of my posts, so more analysis of this paradox will have to wait until the future. I thought the question was interesting enough to stand alone without my 3 cents.