This paper examines to what extent the developed countries are shouldering their responsibility for mitigating climate change. Developed countries have a responsibility to reduce the threat of climate change in two ways: (1) by reducing their own emissions and (2) by facilitating the mitigation efforts of developing countries by providing financial support. Recent proposals for emission reductions being made by the wealthier nations which prima facie seem dramatic, on closer examination are not so. In fact, these proposals essentially seek a deferral of the commitments under the Kyoto Protocol for 10-15 years in the case of the OECD countries which are also in Annex I, and for 15-25 years in the case of the US. The record on financial transfers has been just as disappointing with actual financial transfers to developing countries being a very tiny fraction of what is required.
This was published as a paper in the Economic and Political Weekly issue of 31st January 2009.