Historical climate emissions reveal responsibility of big polluting nations

(The Guardian, 5 Oct 2021) Six of top 10, including China and Russia, yet to show ambition on emissions cuts before Cop26.

Analysis of the total carbon dioxide emissions of countries since 1850 has revealed the nations with the greatest historical responsibility for the climate emergency. But six of the top 10 have yet to make ambitious new pledges to cut their emissions before the crucial UN Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.

The six include China, Russia and Brazil, which come only behind the US as the biggest cumulative polluters. The UK is eighth and Canada is 10th. Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries and the cumulative amount of CO2 emitted is closely linked to the 1.2C of heating the world has already seen.

At the UN negotiations, historical emissions underpin the claims for climate justice made by developing nations, along with the disparity in wealth of nations. Countries that grew rich on fossil fuels have the greatest responsibility to act, developing nations say, and to provide funding for low-CO2 development and protection against the impacts of global heating.

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The Guardian, 5 Oct 2021: Historical climate emissions reveal responsibility of big polluting nations