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Who is Responsible for Climate Change? Implications for United Nations Talks, Shareholders, and Liability.

November 4, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Implications for UN talks, shareholders, and liability

The question of responsibility for climate change lies at the heart of societal debate over actions to address it. In 1992 the United Nations climate framework divided the world into two parts — developed countries, which had produced the greatest share of historic emissions and were given the task of preventing dangerous greenhouse gas levels, and developing countries, which were given few duties. The world’s economy looks much different today than it did in 1992, and the notion of “common but differentiated responsibilities” among states is being transformed.

But society can assign climate responsibilities in ways other than among nations.  This symposium explores the conceptual territory of climate responsibility, and scientific, legal, ethical and policy bases for assigning responsibility to countries and to other entities – from individuals to emitting industries to the fossil fuel companies at the base of the carbon supply chain whose responsibilities are now being actively debated in shareholder resolutions and calls for institutional divestment.


Peter C. Frumhoff
Director of Science & Policy
Union of Concerned Scientists

Michael B. Gerrard
Professor and Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Columbia Law School

Karenna Gore ’00
Director, Center for Earth Ethics
Union Theological Seminary

Sivan Kartha
Senior Scientist
Stockholm Environment Institute

Naomi Oreskes
Professor of the History of Science
Harvard University

Michael Vandenbergh
David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law
Vanderbilt Law School


Union of Concerned Scientists

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Center for Earth Ethics

The Earth Institute

This program is generously supported by the David Sive Memorial Fund.

This program is open to the public. Registration is free, but required. Please register here.

Photo credit: Columbia University


Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027 United States
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