Globalization and politics of fair burden for global environmental problems

by Wataru Yukita

As globalization has progressed, global environmental problems have been addressed in recent years. Global environmental problems are related to all people and all nations, so the problem should be covered equally by all countries. However, is it possible? Despite the fact that there is a large economic difference in the world, could these problems be really shared by all countries? So, I will consider of difficult points for fair and equitable burden in global environmental problems.

First, a feature of the global environmental issue is that it is difficult to set responsibility and role of shared burden. Because defining cause and outcome is hard, to identify responsibility and sharing role is also hard when take measures for these problems. Global warming, which is symbol of global environmental problems, is true of this example, in that it is difficult to identify and share roles. Though IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change) provides scientific proof, there is a firm opposite opinion yet and skeptical eye that global warming is caused by greenhouse gas (GHG).

In global warming problem, not only cause and outcome relation, it is also difficult to specify who is a wrongdoer and who is a victim. That is because all people’s behavior has an effect on global warming more or less, regardless of rich people or poor people. What is more, though global warming is a significant issue in the long term, incentive to take measures by having a sense of ownership is likely to decline because the effect is spreading thinly and widely in short term.

Second, while anyone agrees with the concept of sustainable development, in fact, it is not easy to balance environment and development. There is no agreement that how much environmental damage is allowed for economic activity. It is true that it is possible to convert environmental damage to economic cost. But if we pay the cost, are we really allowed to damage environment? It will introduce another problem like morality. Therefore, simple converting is not beneficial solution.

Finally, how adjust interest of developed and developing countries? Perhaps, this is the biggest problem for global environmental issues. For example, in global warming problem, developed countries have emitted CO2 too much for economic growth. Thus, developing countries also want to use energy and progress their economy. However, regulating to emit CO2 around the world and raising cost is not fair for developing countries. They will say “we need to emit CO2 as well as other countries”. In these problems, we need to consider responsibility that is common and differentiated.

Global environmental problems come to be more complicated as global economy has developed. So, it will be hard to solve these problems fairly and equally. However, I think developed counties have responsibility that make framework to solve the problems. For this activity, we need to use globalization.


“Govt must replace strategy for new CO2 framework”, Dec13, 2012, The DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE.


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