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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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Chinese responsibility for climate change

Chinese responsibility for climate change

(p.222) (p.223) Ten Chinese responsibility for climate change
China's responsibility for climate change

Paul G. Harris

Policy Press

This chapter returns to some of the major themes of the book in a final attempt to answer the underlying question at hand: is China responsible for climate change? Not surprisingly, the answer must always be prefaced by ‘it depends’. It depends on whether people are looking only at the Chinese state or also at the Chinese people. Arguably, the responsibility of the former is less from the perspective of the past and greater from a future perspective. Some still argue, as the Chinese government does, that its ‘responsibility’ remains very low because the country's per-capita emissions have been low historically and remain low relative to most developed countries. That said, one cannot deny that China's GHG emissions are affecting the global climate in profound ways, and even its per-capita emissions now exceed the global average.

Keywords:   China, climate change, Chinese state, Chinese people, historical responsibility, per-capita emissions, GHG emissions, global climate

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