Demand Greater Climate Responsibility for Developed Nations


Target: United States Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern

Goal: Take greater responsibility for fighting climate change, and urge other developed countries to do so as well

On Sunday, December 14, the 20th annual Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (known more commonly as COP 20) came to an end in Lima, Peru, but as is typical of these meetings, little meaningful work was actually conducted. The only thing the COP 20 produced was a resolution to shift an inordinate responsibility for climate change away from post-industrial nations and onto the developing world.

The conference drafted a resolution called the ‘Lima Call for Climate Action,’ which instructs all member nations to draft their plans for reducing emissions over the next year. These plans are meant to serve as the building blocks for next year’s talks in Paris, but as the last two decades have clearly demonstrated, such measures offer mere lip service to the pressing issue of global climate change. As journalist Ed King, who was in attendance at the conference, reports, nations ‘will not be compelled to offer up front information explaining how their national plans are fair or ambitious, nor will they face any rigorous assessment process ahead of the Paris summit.’

These half-hearted measures do little to affect any real work on the subject of climate change, and as environmentalists warn, the pledges for which each individual nation is responsible will likely be too weak to limit global climate change to workable levels.

This plan shifts a disproportionate responsibility for tackling climate change onto developing nations as opposed to the developed countries who should be expected to take a role of leadership in stemming the progress of climate change. Under this plan, poorer nations are saddled with the same degree of responsibility as post-industrial nations for climate change. According to Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, ‘the only thing these talks have achieved is to reduce the chances of a fair and effective agreement to tackle climate change in Paris next year.’

Tell U.S. Climate Envoy Todd Stern that this shirking of responsibility in the face of catastrophic climate change is unacceptable.


Dear Mr. Stern,

At the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change hosted in Lima, Peru, a resolution was drafted and agreed upon called the ‘Lima Call for Climate Action,’ which instructs all member nations to draft their plans for reducing emissions over the next year. While we can all agree that a global recognition of the pressing nature of climate change is a positive and important step, it should also be clear that some nations bear a greater degree of responsibility owing to their influence, capability and stature on the international stage.

The United States, as perhaps the most influential player in international policy, should take a commanding role in the push to fight climate change. The U.S. should also compel other powerful nations such as Canada, China and E.U. member states to accept a similarly higher degree of responsibility for stemming the progress of global climate change. Spreading the responsibility for protecting our planet evenly across all nations both developing and post-industrial is not an acceptable solution.

When the Conference of the Parties reconvenes in Paris next year, the people of the world ask you to press for a more proactive solution.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Wknight94 via Wikimedia Commons

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