Responding to Climate Disaster: The Cosmopolitan Challenge to China
The 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change aims for “stabilization of greenhouse gas [GHG] concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” (UNFCCC 1992: Article 2). To achieve this objective, governments have agreed that climate change is a common but differentiated responsibility: all countries are responsible for doing something about climate change, but the affluent ones, which are the largest historical polluters of the atmosphere, are obligated to act first to reduce their emissions of GHGs before the developing countries are required to limit theirs. Diplomats heeded recommendations of philosophers and experts on international cooperation who saw international justice as essential to an effective and fair climate change regime. Some governments have started to act on their obligations, as reflected in recent efforts by some European states to limit their GHG emissions (Harris 2006; 2007b). However, these efforts have been tiny compared to what is required. Nearly every day we are confronted with news about the increasing impacts of global climate change. By any reasonable measure, anthropogenic interference with the atmospheric commons is already dangerous, contributing to environmental damage and human suffering, especially in the poorest parts of the world (IPCC 2007).
KeywordsClimate Change Poor Country Climate Justice Wealthy People International Justice
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