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Who has the greatest historical responsibility for climate change?

Who has the greatest historical responsibility for climate change?

One of the biggest fights at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow is whether — and how — the world’s wealthiest nations, which are disproportionately responsible for global warming to date, should compensate poorer nationsFor the damage that rising temperatures can cause.






23 rich, developed countriesThey are responsible for half the historical CO2 emissions.

More than 150 countriesThe other half is their responsibility.

23 rich, developed countriesThey are responsible for half the historical CO2 emissions.

More than 150 countries They are responsible for the remaining half.

23 rich, developed countries Half of all historical CO is accounted for by them2 emissions.

More than 150 countries They are responsible for the remaining half.

23 rich, developed countriesThey are responsible for half the historical CO2 emissions.

More than 150 countriesThe other half is their responsibility.


Source: Global Carbon Project·Note: The rich and developed countries group is based upon the United Nations’ Annex II definition. International transport is not counted as part of either group’s total emissions. The data includes carbon dioxide emissions from cement and fossil fuels, but not land-use or forestry. The graphic shows emissions from different countries and territories.

The United States, Canada Japan, and many other rich countries account for only 12 per cent of the world’s current population. However, they are responsible for half of all the planet-warming greenhouse gasses released by fossil fuels and industry in the past 170 Years.


Note: Population data available starting in 2020. Source: World BankGlobal Carbon Project

Earth has warmed up by approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) over that time. This has led to stronger heat waves, floods and droughts, as well as wildfires and other severe weather events. These countries, which are more vulnerable than others, have asked richer countries to give them more money to adapt to these hazards.

Sonam P. Wangdi, the chair of a group comprising 47 nations known collectively as the Least Developed Countries (LDC), pointed out at the summit that Bhutan has little to no responsibility for global warming. The nation absorbs more carbon dioxide than is emitted by its cars and homes. However, Bhutan is at risk from rising temperatures. The melting glaciers in Bhutan’s Himalayas have already caused flash floods and mudslides. that have devastated villages.

“We have contributed the least to this problem yet we suffer disproportionately,” Mr. Wangdi said. “There must be increasing support for adapting to impacts.”

A decade ago, the world’s wealthiest economies pledged to mobilize $100 billion per year in climate finance for poorer countries by 2020. They are not yet. falling short by tens of billions of dollars annuallyThe aid to poorer countries has been very limited. It has not gone towards measures that help them cope with the dangers of a warmer planet like sea walls or early warning systems in case of flooding and droughts.

Separately, vulnerable countries have also emphasized that they won’t be able to adapt to every storm or every hurricane or famine worsened by climate change. The world will continue heating. People will continue dying from climate-related catastrophes. Increasing sea levels will continue to wipe out villages.

So, those countries, many of which still produce a tiny fraction of overall emissions, have asked for a separate fund, paid for by wealthy countries, to compensate them for the damages they can’t prevent. This issue is called “loss and damage.”

“Lots of people are losing their lives, they are losing their future, and someone has to be responsible,” said A.K. Abdul Momen is the foreign minister of Bangladesh. He compared loss to the damage done by the United States government. sued tobacco companiesIn the 1990s, to recover billions in higher health care costs due to the smoking epidemic.

Wealthy countries have traditionally resisted the call for a specific funding mechanism in case of loss or damage, fearing that it could lead to a floodgate of liability claims. Only the government in Scotland has offered dollar amounts. pledging $2.7 million this weekFor victims of climate disasters.

At the same time, some of the world’s biggest developing economies are beginning to catch up on emissions. China, home to 18 percent of the world’s population, is responsible for nearly 14 percent of all the planet-warming greenhouse gases released from fossil fuels and industry since 1850. But today it is the world’s largest emitter by far, accounting for roughly 31 percent of humanity’s carbon dioxide This year, energy and industry.






170 Years of CO2Emissions

European Union

United Kingdom

170 Years of CO2Emissions

170 Years of CO2Emissions


Source: Global Carbon Project

China has endorsed vulnerable nations’ call for loss and damage financing at the climate summit in Glasgow, but so far China has not been pressured to contribute to such a fund. (So far, finance discussions at global climate talks have focused on the responsibility of developed countries, which the U.N. calls “Annex II” nations.)

Historical responsibility isn’t the only way to look at issues of justice and fairness. Another important metric to consider is the number of people who emit carbon dioxide. So, for instance, India as a whole produced about 7 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions this year, roughly the same as the European Union and about half of the United States. India is home to far more people than the other regions, and has a much lower level of electricity access. Therefore, India’s emissions per person today are much lower.






Total CO22020 emission targets

Total CO22020 emission targets


Source: Global Carbon Project

The United States and the European Union argued at the climate summit that the world cannot reduce the effects of global warming unless rapidly industrializing countries like India do more to reduce their emissions. India, however, has recently made a pledge to reduce its emissions. to reach “net zero” emissions by 2070, which claims it needs much more financial assistance to shift from coal-based energy to cleaner ones, citing its lower per capita emissions as well as its smaller share of historical emissions.

This is the first step in determining if negotiators representing nearly 200 countries can reach a new global agreement in Glasgow to limit future global warming risks.

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