What is it about?

Calculating the cumulative cost of carbon dioxide emissions gives new insights into the question of who is responsible for climate change. One of the major reasons for the failure of the 2009 Climate Convention Conference in Copenhagen was the issue of carbon debt. Developed countries called for emission reductions in developing countries, while the latter use the former's historical emissions, their carbon debt, as a reason for inaction. A new article suggests how to finally settle this question of historical responsibility.

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Why is it important?

One of the major reasons for the failure of the 2009 Climate Convention Conference in Copenhagen was the issue of carbon debt. Developed countries called for emission reductions in developing countries, while the latter use the former's historical emissions, their carbon debt, as a reason for inaction. Our article published in Scandinavian Economic History Review suggests how to finally settle this question of historical responsibility.

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This articles contribution is a scientific analysis of how to calculate the welfare effects of historical greenhouse gas emissions, and new insights into the question of who is responsible for climate change.

Dr Jan Kunnas
European University Institute

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This page is a summary of: Counting carbon: historic emissions from fossil fuels, long-run measures of sustainable development and carbon debt, Scandinavian Economic History Review, May 2014, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/03585522.2014.896284.
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