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~ A ~ - Redressing Historical Responsibility for the Unjust Precarities of Climate Change in the Present

from Debate 7: Historical Responsibility

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2021

Benoit Mayer
Affiliation:
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Alexander Zahar
Affiliation:
Southwest University of Political Science and Law
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Summary

This chapter debates historical responsibility for climate change. The argument from historical responsibility has a legal dimension, as it is often used to assert the heightened mitigation and compensation obligations of some states. The debate here begins with the question of whether certain historically high-emitting states are legally bound to provide some sort of compensation for past levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Sarah Mason-Case and Julia Dehm answer this question in the affirmative, arguing that international law, but also notions of justice, provide bases for recognizing historical responsibility and for claiming reparation for the wrongs inflicted. Alexander Zahar, on the negative side, attacks the assumption that historical emissions and their growth rate since Industrialization are known accurately enough, such as to allow for blame to be pinned on certain countries and not others.

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Debating Climate Law , pp. 170 - 189
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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