The Ethics of Climate Change

With a ratcheting up of awareness culminating in the Paris climate change conference, 2015 may have been the year that the threat of climate change was finally taken seriously. But a question remains: Who, if anyone, is most deserving of blame, and who should be held responsible?

Today, six of the top 10 greenhouse gas emitters are developing countries, with China the largest contributor at approximately 28 percent of the global total. Yet on the per capita level, the United States and Canada emit more than double the global average.

Pope Francis pointed out in his controversial encyclical on the environment,Laudato Si that, “regarding climate change, there are differentiated responsibilities.” He said greater attention should be given to the needs of the vulnerable in a debate often dominated by more powerful interests, and that in many cases, developed countries have caused harm to less wealthy nations while fueling their own economies.

Susan Melkisethian