Climate change is an important issue, which affects all people around the world to a greater or lesser extent. The significance of this problem is that the effect might be tremendous in its scale and totally unpredictable. According to IPPC (2001), environmental changes accelerate the appearance of melting glaciers, rising sea level, floods, droughts, and other kinds of severe weather conditions, resulting in increased human mortality. All of the mentioned effects are primarily caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, produced as a result of industrialised countries’ activities. Therefore, it is essential to divide the responsibility between countries in order to mitigate the negative impact on environment. This essay is going to discuss to what extent should developed countries bear the responsibility for the climate change and if it should be divided between developing countries as well, before answering the given question.
Starting from the 18th century, developed countries have been emitting vast amounts of gases; using former colonies as an inexhaustible source of raw materials, they managed to gain significant wealth and achieve a high level of economical growth. According to Harris (n.d.), “no country bears more responsibility than United States, since it produces around one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases”. Being a role model for all of the developing countries, if the United States remains inactive, others are likely to follow. Generally, Harris (n.d) argues that both of the sides are doing virtually nothing to lessen the future effect of global warming on the world’s poor. Moreover, the progress of encouraging the world to change for adjusting to these effects is still very basic. There is no incentive for developing countries to support the mitigation of climate change effects, because their contribution is much smaller and the limitations of further economic growth do not seem fair. It would be reasonable to give poor countries limited freedom in order to achieve basic levels of economical development and living standards.
Regardless of countries' wealth, urgent actions should be taken in order to reduce the devastating effect of global warming and other significant climate changes on nature and humanity. To do so, it is necessary to combine reduced energy demand with nuclear power, biomass energy, alternative energy sources and actions to reduce other greenhouse emissions (Mendelsohn, 2010). But not only big actions make significant change: each individual's behaviour is important in the sophisticated battle against harmful emissions. However, Armstrong (2005) suggests that for some people changing the lifestyle is not an option resulting from their responsibilities taking a political approach.
Furthermore, According to Hurrell and Sengupta (2012) emerging powers have deteriorated the situation by increasing the amount of emissions. In recent years BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) are facing the problem of fairness, since they fail to recognise the level of responsibility they have to bear. Compared to the speed of economic growth and rising emissions proportion, their attempts to mitigate possible negative effect on the environment are still relatively small.