Blame-Shifting on Climate Change

I think that there is less outright denial that climate change is occurring globally than there is here in the United States, but it is still true that no one wants to suffer any economic costs to deal with the problem. While economically “developed” countries are the most responsible for creating the problem, “developing countries” are most responsible for current rises in carbon emissions. They don’t want to shoulder all the blame.

So, now, the way the problem is described by scientists has become politicized, with developed countries eager to shift blame for their role onto developing countries, and developing countries eager to avoid taking responsibility for exacerbating climate change.

Domestically, the argument becomes that we are no longer the culprits and our efforts to limit carbon emissions won’t accomplish anything because “developing economies” are responsible for all the growth in carbon emissions, Meanwhile, the “developing economies” argue that they didn’t put all the carbon in the air in the first place and, therefore, shouldn’t have to shoulder all the burden of reducing emissions now.

Both sides have solid cases to make, but it’s really just a giant excuse to avoid making the changes that need to be made.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at