It’s time for the Global North to take responsibly for climate change.
Article by Jack Wrigley
We are rapidly approaching disaster as a world, and it is all through our country’s actions. The Holocene has now ended, and we have entered the age of The Anthropocene. The Global North are beginning to make the vital changes needed to combat climate change, we are seeing carbon emissions per capita decrease in these developed countries. However, the negative contributions by developing countries have been growing recently. These contributions have doubled in developing countries as a group and tripled in China. One of the biggest issues here we face is the fact that numerous developing countries globally still cannot provide the necessities to their populations. Without trying to copy westernised living and just trying to provide for its population it will inevitably lead to more need for natural resources and thus more carbon emissions.
The Global North are the Countries that began the chain of effects all the way back in the industrial revolution with the discovery of the Black Gold in the UK. With this discovery of coal and gas came mass prosperity for the now developed countries. But with this economic gain came the disastrous climate implications we are facing today, with these climate changes often affecting developing countries. In a study done by Lancet Planetary Health, they found the Global North was responsible for 92% of global emissions (the US with 40% and the EU with 29%), with the study taking into consideration population and geographic size and the contributions since 1850 to emissions. Climate change is a global problem, not one which cares about race gender ethnicity or religion it’s going to affect every single living creature on this planet. But with this data provided, we can see that it is not in fact the whole globe that has created this problem. The Global North exploited a lot of the global south for its natural resources and then used these for their economic gain, not allowing for the south to gain from its benefits but instead suffer from its waste products. We must find a way to quantify global responsibility, as author Jason Hickel says “we have to have some way of assigning liability for damages. If Bangladesh goes under water, who is liable for that? If a third of species get wiped out, who is liable for that?”.
The UN believe that by 2050 adapting to climate change in developing countries will cost $500 billion per year. Using the study, I wrote about earlier we can begin to make figures on how much these countries in the global north should be paying towards mitigating change. Another important point I should make is that these Global North countries are still the countries that are producing the most emissions per capita. India predicts that they will not produce anywhere near the Northern countries are producing when they become fully developed. The Global North now need to start investing heavily in more green energy and working out cost-effective ways to produce this. The UK aim to be carbon neutral by 2050. These plans and aims are being produced more frequently now by the global north however each of these plans is long-term. Action needs to be taken rapidly to make changes needed much quicker. As I said earlier Developing countries are often the ones who are dealing with the consequences of climate change. Therefore, developed countries making these mitigations quicker will allow developing countries more time to develop without the risk of collapse or catastrophe from extreme changes. As the global north we are more educated and technologically advanced we now need to start helping the south develop much cleaner greener ways to get their energy. We need to emphasise the importance of public-based transport systems, better urban planning and protecting and nurturing our natural resources. We cannot leave these changes up to the capitalist system, which continues to create undesirable wants and unsustainable production. As the population, we now need to begin to put more pressure on our governments who have known for several decades about the dark future we are facing if we continue this path. We have shown in the past that we can make changes and sacrifices to save the ozone layer, now we need to take action and responsibility to tackle Climate Change.