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China's responsibility for climate changeEthics, fairness and environmental policy$
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Paul G. Harris

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428134

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428134.001.0001

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Climate duties, human rights and historical emissions

Climate duties, human rights and historical emissions

Chapter:
(p.24) (p.25) Two Climate duties, human rights and historical emissions
Source:
China's responsibility for climate change
Author(s):

Derek Bell

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847428134.003.0002

This chapter examines historical emissions, climate duties, and human rights. The Chinese government adheres to two fundamental principles. The first is that of historical responsibility or ‘polluter pays’, which affirms that developed states of the global North should bear the costs of addressing climate change because they are historically responsible for most GHG emissions that have causally contributed to problem. The second principle is that developing countries of the global South have a right to development. They should not be required to sacrifice their development to address problems arising from climate change. Consequently, the costs of climate change should be borne by those who can afford to bear them, namely the developed countries. With this in mind, the chapter outlines an account of ‘climate justice’ that addresses the question of how to fairly allocate the costs of climate change.

Keywords:   Chinese government, historical emissions, human rights, GHG emissions, climate change

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