ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Responsibility Principle and the Climate Crisis


The public response to the evergrowing climate crisis is receiving attention both at the level of experts, policymakers and government officials on the one hand and social groups across different ages and geographical contexts on the other. It is equally true that the efforts made by both do not always work in tandem. In fact, and very often, they work in isolation if not in direct opposition. Hence, in the discourse on climate change, one can notice at least two main strands. One strand seems to be taking a realist turn and is articulated by some experts, policymakers and the government bureaucrats. Those who work along the lines of realism generally make a claim that, in comparison to the common people, they have special expertise and perhaps know more about the climate crisis. Realism, which may have global concern at its core, however, works through high-profile deliberative processes that are selective and complex.

Deliberations on the climate crisis are seen as processes involving heavy inputs of management skill, scientific knowledge, and technical expertise to not only bring forth varied dimensions of the issue, but also to produce a workable solution to the climate crisis. The adoption of international laws has been one of the possible solutions that has been suggested by international agencies from time to time. But to the disappointment of the official realist, some nations and the big players in the business do not seem to respect the environmental laws. In such circumstances where the erring nations fail to take responsibility for flaunting the laws and undermine the suggestions made by the experts, it becomes unavoidable to fix responsibility on such nations. This point has been perceptively brought out in the essay “Paris Agreement: Differentiation without Historical Responsibility?” by Kirit S Parikh and Jyoti K Parikh (EPW, 9 April 2016) and by T Jayaraman’s recent article “Vaunting Rhetoric versus Grim Realities: Assessing the 25th Paris Conference” (EPW, 4 January 2020).

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Updated On : 21st Jul, 2021
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