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States have no responsibility to other states
States are sovereign meaning they are the supreme authority
within a territory. Increasingly it is seen that it is the people who
are sovereign through a social contract where the government
rules by consent of the people.
They are therefore not responsible to other states. If a
government exists to protect and improve the lives of its own
citizens, then, there is no obligation for any state whether
developed or developing to take on the responsibility of
combating climate change and its spillover elsewhere. Politicians
have to respond to the wishes of their electorate and the
electorates priority is never going to be people who are
thousands of miles away.
In developed countries policy changes to curb climate change
harms its own citizens interests or wellbeing, thus it is highly
unlikely that these changes will be implemented. Developed
countries may have an obligation to their own citizens to do what
they can to prevent climate change but this obligation is no
higher than their responsibility to maintain Socio- Economic
stability and development of their country.
Commitment to cuts in CO2 emission will result in slowing down
of the economic growth and development of their country.
Therefore no developed country will enter into a treaty to combat
the Climate Change effects faced by Developing Countries.
This is exactly why negotiations towards a binding treaty on
climate change is not getting anywhere. ( For example USA and Canada
did not ratify the Kyoto protocol between 1997 to 2006)

Developing countries have the biggest incentive to

reduce emissions.

Developing countries will suffer the most due to climate change

with adverse effects like flooding, crop failure and the spread of
deserts. Since most of the Developing countries are in the Tropics
they will be affected the most by rising temperatures and
changes in precipitation patterns.
Therefore developing countries have the greatest necessity and
incentive to change. Developed countries which are less affected
by climate change have the wealth, technology and International
power to take steps to reverse climate change but they do not
have a compelling need or will to make the necessary economic
As it is developing countries who are in harms way of climate
change it is the responsibility of their politicians to respond to
their electorate and act to prevent climate change or reduce its
impact. When Developed countries are not willing to make the
basic change of reducing their CO2 emissions due to economic
costs how can we expect them to pay for the spillovers of climate
change in Developing countries. Moreover if Developed countries
pay for the spillovers of climate change in Developing countries
there will be no disincentive to force Developing Nations to cut
CO2 emissions. (UK and Germany were recently caught giving clandestine subsidy for
the construction of thermal power plants and coal. So the governments are actually doing
the opposite to encourage an increase in CO2 emissions.

Pinning responsibility on nations is wrong and unhelpful.

The very slow progress being made by the international
community in its conferences to come up with a workable
framework to prevent climate change is due to squabbling over
whose responsibility is for what.
Imagine that all the countries are all in on different leaky lifeboats far from
shore, all the countries have to row and bail, row and bail and only row and
bail to save their lives instead if they take time out to debate on who ought
to do what, all the boats will sink eventually as time goes by and the whole
debate of finding out whose fault is what is futile
The Developed nations are in larger boats and will be the last ones to sink as
they believe, hence there is a difference in motivation between Developed

and Developing countries to do the needful to stop and reverse Climate


QUOTE: Global warming is not just the greatest environmental challenge

facing our planet it is one of mankinds greatest challenge for survival.
- Barack Obama