What is it about?

Climate change is a global threat, and tackling climate change is something we must work on together. But climate change does not affect all countries in the same way, and not all countries have been equally responsible for the current state of our climate. Developed countries benefit more from activities that cause climate change; developing countries often suffer the most from its effects. It is important that we are fair in how we allocate responsibility for climate change. But what does ‘fair’ mean? For instance, China currently has the highest level of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and it is common for people to say that we cannot tackle the emissions problem without China taking its share of the responsibility. But if you look at the amount of greenhouse gas emitted per member of the population, China is 43rd on the list. Countries such as Canada, Australia and Luxembourg all emit twice as much greenhouse gas per person as China.

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Why is it important?

If we want everyone to work together, people need to feel that they are being judged fairly. China’s government feels that China is unfairly singled out for blame. Understanding China’s idea of fairness is particularly important since it is currently the largest contributor to climate change. KEY TAKEAWAY: Countries are more likely to comply with international laws on climate change if the laws are perceived to be fair.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: China’s Fairness Discourses and Allocation of Climate Responsibility, Chinese Journal of Environmental Law, July 2021, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/24686042-12340064.
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