The science also opens up the possibility that the victims of climate change could begin to take international legal action against the countries responsible, particularly the early industrialisers, such as Britain, Belgium and Germany, whose carbon continues to warm the planet a century after it was emitted. Legal action is not a substitute for politics, but it could highlight the evidence in an uncomfortable way.
There is no international tort law. And countries aren’t responsible for emissions either. Individuals are. By consuming things that have had emissions embedded in their production.
Imagine, just as an example, that my little stove keeping my office warm this morning were coal or oil fired, instead of wood. And further that the emissions from it caused a Bangladeshi farmer’s land to sink beneath the waves. Get over all of the idea that we can’t trace it so accurately.
So, who is responsible for those emissions? The coal or oil company that sold me the fuel? Nope. The country, Portugal, in which I am burning it? Nope. My country of origin, the UK? Nope. I suppose we could try blaming the dogs sharing the heat with me but in reality it is me that is responsible for those emissions. And thus it is me that should be sued.
And there is no legal system at all that provides a manner of suing me for this tort, assuming that it exists.
Now, it is I suppose possible that we could say that governments are responsible for the private actions of citizens or residents. But that’s the point at which we also give governments the power to control those private actions of citizens or residents. And that’s also the point at which you all get told to fuck off I’m afraid.