Climate change and the United States: A moral responsibility to human rights and policy change
LE3 .A278 2013
Bachelor of Arts
Within the realm of contemporary politics, the issue of climate change has been brought to the forefront of both domestic and international debate. Since the mid 18th century, humans have industrially produced an abundance of greenhouse gases, which, in excess concentrations contribute to an unnatural warming pattern known as ‘global warming’. As industrialization has continued to increase, so too has average global temperature and today, we are consequently beginning to witness changing patterns in our climate. Since its discovery, climate change has been contributed to melting glacial ice caps, rising sea levels, and severe increases in frequency and strength of weather events. Overall, these events have the potential to threaten the well being and livelihood of citizens across our globe, as well as their politically declared human rights; the issue however is while these threats can be reduced, the United States has chosen a path focused on adapting to the impending threat of climate change. Drawing on works from Dale Jamieson, Simon Caney, and Al Gore, this thesis seeks to examine the United States’ actions towards both international and domestic climate change policies as well as the United States’ moral responsibility and political obligation to acknowledge human rights in the process. Overall, the argument concludes that in order to secure an environmentally sustainable future for American and non‐American citizens alike, the United States needs to approach climate change policies with an aim to mitigate climate change and adapt to its effects through a collaborative global partnership.
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