Differentiating historical responsibilities for climate change

Christian Ellermann, Niklas Höhne and Benito Müller

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:
Differentiating historical responsibilities for climate change

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This chapter examines historical responsibilities for climate change. It pulls apart the notion of historical responsibility and challenges common assumptions about it, doing so through rigorous analysis of data. The chapter delves into a politically sensitive aspect of past GHG emissions, namely the issue of differentiating historical responsibility. In so doing, it shows that contributions to climate change and responsibility for it are fundamentally different. The chapter describes a methodology for calculating ‘shares of responsibility’ rather than ‘shares of causal contribution’, which are more commonly addressed in analytical models. The significant difference between contribution to climate change and responsibility for it requires people to think in new ways about the sorts of burdens that can justly be demanded when applying the CBDR concept, notably in the case of China.

Keywords: past GHG emissions; historical responsibility; climate change; China

Chapter.  8891 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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