Who Is Responsible for Climate Change?

Status: This talk is in preparation - details may change

The question of responsibility for climate change lies at the heart of societal debate over actions to address it. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” among nations, suggesting that industrialized nations that had produced the greatest share of historic emissions bore particular responsibility for preventing dangerous interference with the climate system.
But society can distribute climate responsibilities in other ways as well. This talk considers the conceptual territory of climate responsibility, and focuses in particular on the distinctive responsibilities of the major investor-owned producers of fossil fuels – assessing the scale of their contribution to the problem, the actions companies took and could have taken in response to the scientific evidence of climate change, and the prospective implications of a growing scholarly, public and policy focus on their climate responsibilities.