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Who is really to blame for climate change?

Who is really to blame for climate change?

One of the most frustrating things about the climate crisis is that the fact that earlier action could have prevented it. With every passing year of inaction, the emissions cuts needed to limit global warming to relatively safe levels grow steeper and steeper.

Many groups have been accused of being at blame for this ongoing lack of action, from fossil fuel companies and wealthy countries, to politicians, rich people and sometimes even all of us.

Others may feel it’s not useful to blame anyone. “If you want to engage with the non-converted and get them to want stronger climate action, blaming them is not going to be a very fruitful pathway,” says Glen Peters, research director of the Center for International Climate and Environment Research in Oslo.

Whether we label it blame or not, the question of who is responsible for the climate crisis is a necessary one. It will inevitably impact the solutions we propose to fix things.

But it’s also important to acknowledge that allocating emissions to someone – the extractors of fossil fuels, the manufacturers who make products using them, the governments who regulate these products, the consumers who buy them – does not necessarily mean saying they are responsible for them.

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