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Title: Global climate justice and China's responsibilities
Author: Nelson, Gillian
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 2025
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2015
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This research develops a distinctive theory of climate justice that addresses important gaps in the existing literature, and provides an account of China’s ethical responsibilities in the context of climate change. China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and a key actor in international climate negotiations. The Chinese Government has offered various arguments to justify its current climate policy, which includes a commitment to reduce the energy intensity of the Chinese economy while rejecting an absolute limit on Chinese emissions. This research critically examines five key aspects of the Chinese position: (1) the bearers of climate responsibilities are states; (2) the right to development should excuse developing states from binding emissions limits; (3) consumers should be held responsible for the embedded emissions in the goods that they consume; (4) developed states bear more responsibility for tackling climate change because of their greater historic emissions; and (5) China can fulfil its climate responsibilities by reducing the energy intensity of its economy. Cumulatively, this analysis produces a distinctive theory of climate justice and an accompanying account of China’s climate responsibilities. More specifically, this thesis defends a Revised Beneficiary Pays Principle, which takes into account: (1) distinctions between subsistence, development and luxury benefits; (2) the degree to which benefits have been voluntarily accepted; and (3) the degree of influence that beneficiaries might have had over the quantity of emissions generated. Based upon the proposed theory of climate justice, the thesis offers a qualified defence of China’s commitment to reduce emissions intensity in the context of a fair global climate agreement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available