n.435: Time to pay the piper: Fossil fuel companies’ reparations for climate damages

Human-caused climate change has long been acknowledged as essentially an ethical issue that threatens humanity and ravages the planet. While the Global North’s historical carbon emissions have exceeded their fair share of the planetary boundary by an estimated 92%, the impacts of climate breakdown fall disproportionally on the Global South, which is responsible for a trivial share—Africa, Asia, and Latin America contribute only 8%—of excess emissions. At the same time, the world’s richest 1% of the population contributed 15% of emissions between 1990 and 2015, more than twice as much as the poorest 50%, who contributed just 7% but who suffer the brunt of climate harm. This inequity is exacerbated by poorer societies’ lack of resources to adapt to climate impacts and by the persistent reluctance of the Global North to provide them with the necessary funding and assistance as required by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) of article 3 of the UNFCCC.


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