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Historical climate emissions reveal responsibility of big polluting nations |

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.

The UK is hosting Cop26 and the prime minister, Boris Johnson, acknowledged this responsibility in a speech to the UN in September.

The analysis, produced by Carbon Brief, includes, for the first time, emissions from the destruction of forests and other changes in land use alongside fossil fuels and cement production. This pushes Brazil and Indonesia into the top 10, unlike when fossil fuel emissions alone are considered.

The data also shows the world has now used 85% of the CO2 budget that would give a 50% chance of limiting heating to 1.5C, the danger limit agreed in Paris in 2015.

US and China have the biggest historical responsibility for the climate crisis

The US, Germany, Britain and Canada are the only top 10 nations to have made pledges of deeper emissions cuts in advance of Cop26. While the US has said it will double its climate finance contribution to developing nations, some still see this as too little from the world’s biggest economy.

Russia has made a new pledge, but it allows for emissions to rise, and the Climate Action Tracker (Cat) group classes it as “critically insufficient” compared with the Paris targets. China and India have yet to make any new pledges, while those of Brazil, Indonesia and Japan do not improve on previous pledges.

“There’s a direct link between the 2,500bn tonnes of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere since 1850 and the 1.2C of warming we’re already experiencing,” said Simon Evans at Carbon Brief. “Our new analysis puts a vital spotlight on the people and countries most responsible for heating our planet.

“We can’t ignore CO2 from forestry and land use change, because it makes up nearly a third of the cumulative total since 1850. Once you include that, it’s really striking to see Brazil and Indonesia vaulting into the top 10.”

Mohamed Nasheed, ambassador for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a group of 48 nations, and the speaker of parliament in the Maldives, said: “Basic justice demands that those who have done…

Read More: Historical climate emissions reveal responsibility of big polluting nations |

2021-10-05 00:00:00

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