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Beijing Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development

Contents

Introduction.

Background of the case.

Ownership by the Developed Economies.

Need for Justice.

Recommendations.

Conclusion.

References.

Introduction to Intergenerational Justice Theories

The following essay is an attempt to better understand the impact of climate change vis a vis the impact from the developed and developing countries. This essay will understand the background and analyze the high level impact of the climate changes on the current society. It will help in setting a context to the essay and these anchor points will later be leveraged once the analysis of the climate destruction done by the rich nations would be analyzed. In the next section the essay will evaluate the need for ownership from the developed worlds since they have been majorly responsible for the destruction of the climatic resources. The essay will then analyze whether the developing countries are actually at fault since different economic forums led majorly by the developed nations are putting the major part of blame on the climate destruction currently being caused by the them. Finally, before conclusion the essay will suggest solutions to the problem based on the current understanding.

Background of The Case

In 1991, a group of 41 developing countries met in Beijing for the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development. The goal was to discuss the degradation of the environment. They also discussed the widespread problems that were leading the basic necessities of life air, water and land polluted. Eventually as part of the conference it was also discussed by many participating nations that large part of the overall impact in the environment is attributed to the developed nations. These nations have over-exploited the natural resources for many decades and used them to their advantage. The developing nations are bearing the burnt of this ("Beijing Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development", 2013).

Even in the current times, developed nations like the US blame other developing economies like India and China for the problem of air pollution. They do not realize the fact that over the past 5 decades the US along with other developed nations have been industrializing and manufacturing products which has decimated the environment. While the developing nations are now trying to catchup by increasing the contribution to their GDP from manufacturing the developed nations are causing a hue and cry over it. And this is the reason why there is a demand of checks and balances which should not just only be on the developing countries, to ensure that they are not exploiting the resources but doing a sustainable management, but also on the developed countries which have been exploiting for the past many years (Hindu, 2020).

Ownership by the Developed Economies

After the 1991 Beijing meet there have been several other such global connects where representatives of different nations have discussed climate change and ways to combat it. The most important one is The Paris Agreement of 2016. While there are others which have significant importance the Paris Agreement actually documented the effort that needs to happen from all countries. As part of the agreement the global temperature rise of this century has to be below 2 degree Celsius and then eventually reduce that rise to 1.5 degree Celsius. Now this agreement is signed by both developed and developing nations alike. However, the challenge over here is, as stated earlier, developed economies like the US, the UK, Russia, France, Germany, etc. have already had significant years of unregulated industrialization where there was rampant deforestation and industries were setup. In the last 2 decades these economies have woken up to the possibility of all of this causing a huge impact on the climate. While they have put regulations in place the demand is for the developing countries which are now in their industrialization phase to impose regulations at their end as well otherwise they will have to face sanctions, etc. ("The Paris Agreement", 2016)

The concept of equity essentially takes the disadvantaged group into consideration. It talks about redistribution which is about reducing inequality. This is applicable in this context as well. The greenhouse gasses that were emitted during the Industrial Revolution phase were dominated by the developed nations and cumulatively speaking (Gosseries & Mainguy, 2015). While in 2018 study the countries that emitted maximum carbon dioxide had more developing economies than developed (Mooney & Dennis, 2019) . However, if a cumulative calculation is done which is basically from 1751 to 2017 then the numbers are strikingly different. The below image shows that countries which have added most to the CO2 in the atmosphere need to take the greatest responsibility in tackling it. The US, which is at the first position, is responsible of over 25% of the historical emissions which is twice more than China, which is at number 2. Prior to 1750 the global emissions level were minimal, but in 1751 the emissions were 10 million tones which was over 3600 times less than the global emissions of today, as the world averaged 30 – 32 billion tones of emissions every year (Ritchie, 2019 ; "Each Country's Share of CO2 Emissions", 2020).

Need for Justice

The above image clearly indicates the level of disruption that has been caused by the developed countries and China which is partially developed and partially developing. The countries like the US, European Union countries, Canada, Russia, Japan, etc. all continue to be on the top of global emissions list even on the current list. This shows that the developed economies are themselves not taking enough measures to take this issue seriously. Unless they start using the resources wisely it is impossible to expect other countries like India, Ukraine, Iran, Brazil, etc. to follow suit.

This can only happen once the world councils takes notice of this and puts sanctions on these countries in case they fail to take appropriate measures. This is a strong call for justice and the developed need to ensure that they are taking care of the problems that have been majorly caused by them.

Recommendations on Intergenerational Justice Theories

To meet the goals laid forward in the Paris Agreement the developed economies have to take major responsibility in the matter. This is because they have the resources which can be leveraged to make the required fixes and mitigations.

Plant more trees- the most basic fix that can be done it to increase the forest area. While in most developed countries there is a stagnancy in the population and there is a huge aging population, which means that the speed of growing of the economy can be adjusted in such a way that more and more tree plantation drives are done. This will benefit in greatly reducing the weather in the short term period and will have a great impact on the overall greenhouse emissions in the long run.

Support the underdeveloped- expecting African nations to not do deforestation or other types of pollution activities like mining etc. is fair as it is harming the climate. However, the challenge with some of these nations is that there whole economy is dependent on few key activities that is actually supporting the country. If they have to stop these then the people will be become unemployed. This is where the developing countries need to be assisted by the developed ones. They have to setup collaborative centers of excellence in which they are being shared resources which can be leveraged to create jobs without harming the environment.

Population explosion- it is widely believed that our planet is not suited to sustain the needs and requirements of around 8 billion people. Thus, with more and more people being born it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage their growing needs of food, shelter, etc. Thus, there have to be more and more manufacturing units which need to be setup in order to manage their demands. This needs to be taken into consideration. Both the developed and the developing nations need to understand that they need to manage their populations otherwise their economies will collapse. Overpopulated countries like China, India, etc. have to manage their people as they are increasingly responsible for more and more emissions. These countries due to their high population have highest emissions coming from vehicles and industries which is impacting the climate adversely.

Conclusion on Intergenerational Justice Theories

It is clear that the developed economies have to bear the responsibility as they have had the maximum impact over the past many decades. They need to ensure that they are now taking the world in a more progressive direction with the topic of sustainability not just on papers but in effect as well. This can only happen if world organizations like UN takes ownership and put regulations on the developed economies which would be over and above the ones that are there on the developing economies. This is critical as stated, that the quantity of emissions have been historically been done by the currently developed nations and therefore, they have to ensure that they are responsible for fixing the problem as well. At the same time, the developing nations need to be put in check as even they cannot be careless in the decisions that they take. They also have to move towards the overall goal of environmental sustainability.

References for Intergenerational Justice Theories

Beijing Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development. (2013), 1:1, 54-60. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/10042857.1992.10677337

Each Country's Share of CO2 Emissions. Union of Concerned Scientists. (2020). Retrieved 23 October 2020, from https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/each-countrys-share-co2-emissions.

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data | US EPA. US EPA. (2020). Retrieved 23 October 2020, from https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data.

Gosseries, A., & Mainguy, G. (2015). Theories of intergenerational justice: a synopsis, 8(8.1). Retrieved 23 October 2020, from https://journals.openedition.org/sapiens/1702.

Hindu, T. (2020). Donald Trump accuses China, India and Russia of not taking care of their ‘filthy air’. The Hindu. Retrieved 23 October 2020, from https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/donald-trump-accuses-china-india-and-russia-of-not-taking-care-of-their-filthy-air/article32925071.ece.

Mooney, C., & Dennis, B. (2019). Global greenhouse gas emissions will hit yet another record high this year, experts project. Washington Post. Retrieved 23 October 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/12/03/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-will-hit-yet-another-record-high-this-year-experts-project/.

Ritchie, H. (2019). Who has contributed most to global CO2 emissions?. Our World in Data. Retrieved 23 October 2020, from https://ourworldindata.org/contributed-most-global-co2.

The Paris Agreement. Unfccc.int. (2016). Retrieved 23 October 2020, from https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement.

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