Discoursing Climate Inequity

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Posted by: Aishwarya Bhatia
Category: Livelihoods and Natural Resources
Discoursing Climate Inequity

In the first article of the series, we discussed the various global climate agreements that have been actively working towards solving climate-related issues with the support of many countries and their dedicated actions towards the decided goals.

We also understood that every country contributes to the fight against climate change differently, based on its capacity and status as a developed, developing, or underdeveloped nation.

Geography has always dictated the kind of resources we have had access to as nations on this planet, be it access to oil and gas for the United Arab Nations or rice from India. However, the effect of climate change is also experienced disproportionately across nations, affecting the developing and underdeveloped countries significantly more than nations with thriving economies.

In this blog, we will understand this disparity and explore how unequal contributions to climate change have affected the developing climate financing discourse.

But first, what is climate inequity?

All individuals contribute to emissions, but not in the same way. Let’s go back to the basics for a while.

The industrial revolution first brought about the warming effects, with increased burning of fossil fuels, thereby increasing the greenhouse gas concentrations. But this revolution did not begin simultaneously everywhere and did not benefit everyone equally. Under British rule, this technology was brought to its many colonies, producing these harmful gases for an increased yield of products that contributed to the mounting prosperity of the British empire.

While this can be viewed as a sweeping argument brought into the forefront to lay blame on colonial history, we cannot undermine its impact on modern economies. Centuries of industrial revolution took away all the profits, leaving nations in a ruinous state with no yield but all the emissions to deal with. As recently independent countries, economies depended on industrial production to sustain themselves. So, the industrial process only increased exponentially over time across the globe. Now, arguing for a halt to industrial processes is futile because of how intricately they are woven with our survival in this increasingly profit-driven world.

Some may ask, sure, some nations have contributed more because they produced emissions and benefitted more. But isn’t climate change a global responsibility?

Yes, climate change is a global responsibility because it affects everyone, and we are responsible for taking care of our planet and cutting down our carbon footprint. However, statistics tell us that the emissions from the Global North are incredibly different from that of the Global South.

According to The Lancet Planetary Health, Global North is responsible for 92% of excess global carbon emissions. Statistics given by the United Nations also reveal that the cost of adapting to climate change could be $500 billion per year by 2050. Expecting the Global South to adapt at such prices is unrealistic, so global agreements have put the largest carbon emitters responsible for leading the green movement. Furthermore, reducing emissions from the Global North is crucial, allowing greater development opportunities for the rest of the world.

As discussed earlier, the Convention and the Paris Agreement hold developed nations at the forefront of this fight against climate change, making them responsible for leading action and aiding the Global South in adapting to climate change for proper development. This led to the development of the concept of climate financing, which we will discuss in the next issue of this series!

Aishwarya Bhatia, Sambodhi 

Author: Aishwarya Bhatia