Climate duties, human rights and historical emissions

Derek Bell

in China's responsibility for climate change

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9781847428134
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301844 | DOI:
Climate duties, human rights and historical emissions

Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  8615 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.