A case for a differential global carbon tax -Rohit Azad & Shouvik Chakraborty
All nations must climb down the emissions ladder without giving up on their standard of living
Climate change is a global problem, and a global problem needs a global solution. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report suggests that we, as humankind, might have just over a decade left to limit global warming. The IPCC says total global emissions will need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. If these targets are not met, tropical regions of the world, which are densely populated and happen to be mainly concentrated in the global South, are likely to be most negatively affected because of their low altitudes and pre-existing high temperatures. Some impact of this was already felt during the Tamil Nadu water crisis this year.
Sharing the burden
The global South, which has historically contributed less to the problem (and even at present its per capita carbon emissions are much smaller in comparison to the countries in the global North), happens to be at the receiving end of the lifestyle choices made by the global North. Although time is running out, a genuine global consensus on the mitigation of this problem is unfortunately missing. In the absence of a collective agreement, the environment is becoming the casualty. The bottom line is that both the worlds need to contribute to avert this danger in their self-interest. At the same time, the burden of adjustment cannot be equal when the underlying relationship between the two worlds has been historically unequal (climate injustice funnel). But what is the correct balance in terms of sharing this burden, something which can be politically and juridically just?
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