Sample Research paper on Global Warming


Having industrialized earlier than the developing world, the developed world has had and continues to have a far greater carbon footprint. Under such circumstances, it is only fair that developed countries take greater responsibility and the lead in the mitigation measures against global warming.  However, developed countries are not entirely to blame for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The developing world is fast industrializing and therefore also contributing to global warming. The case of responsibility for mitigation measures however still rests on the developed countries given that even with their reduced greenhouse gases emission in their home countries; they still are responsible for emissions in developing countries through outsourcing and transportation. This paper offers counter arguments on which, between developing and developed countries, has the responsibility in taking the lead on global warming mitigation measures. It concludes that although developing countries contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases, it is still the responsibility of the developed countries to take lead responsibility given their resources, expertise and contribution to global warming through outsourcing and transportation.

Global Warming

Global warming (and climate change) is a concern for many governments, scientists, and environmental conservation groups. The core concerns of these parties are the course, causes, and mitigation measures against global warming. However, even with the concerns over the rising temperatures and greenhouse gases, there is still controversy over who should take more responsibility for the rising temperatures (Pickering, Vanderheiden, & Miller, 2012). At the core of the debate is whether the developed world should take all responsibility for global warming, and therefore finance most of the mitigation measures, or within the global economy, the developing world too should be concerned with global warming, and therefore take part of the responsibility for the problem (Rosa &Ribeiro, 2011). Arguably however, while the developing world should take responsibility, the buck stops with the developed world, who are the leading greenhouse gases emitters.

Over the past years, global climate change conventions have discussed global warming. Among these is the Kyoto Protocol, which saw many of the signatories, especially the developed countries, agree to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. According to Rosa and Ribeiro (2011), only the UK and Germany significantly reduced their emissions between 1990 and 1996. Concern for the responsibility of the developed world in the mitigation of global warming stems from the fact that a bulk of the gases are emitted from these countries. In fact, over the years, these countries have shown an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from their societies (Rosa &Ribeiro, 2011). In fact, given the early industrialization of the developed world, it is right to say that they have been emitting effluent into the environment for more than a century.

Among the contributing factors to global warming is the increasingly globalized economy, with multinational corporations making their way to both the developed and developing countries. While multinationals are important as drivers of the global economy, they are partly to blame, as through their economic power, they bulldoze countries, both developing and developed, into passing legislation that only profits them (multinationals) without much thought to the environment. According to Baer (2008), such strong-arming by the multinationals only cause problems for the environment as these countries (such as the US, UK and Australia) do the bidding of the multinationals, largely under the assumption of the unlimited resources of the universe. Therefore, within a global economy with focus on profit making, the environment falls prey to the companies and governments, most of which have headquarters in developed countries (Baer, 2008).

The argument towards nations that should take lead responsibility concerning global warming continues to point towards the developed countries. The Durban convention pointed this lead responsibility, and although some developed countries, especially the US, are against the idea of equity between the developed and the developing world, the buck still stops with the developed world (Pickering, Vanderheiden, & Miller, 2012). Of importance here is that the developed world’s carbon footprint does not stop at the individual countries’ emissions, but also includes the countries’ external emissions through global outsourcing and transportation (Northcott, 2007). Therefore, it remains the responsibility of the developed world to take a lead in the development of strategies to mitigate global warming, as it is not only the right thing to do, but also because the developed world has the necessary expertise and resources to lead the mitigation measures.

Countering the idea of responsibility solely lying on developed countries is the arguments that both the developed and developing countries have a responsibility towards mitigating global warming (The Economist, 2009). This is even as international conventions, particularly the Kyoto Protocol, exonerate developing countries such as India and China from global warming mitigation obligations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”  Opponents argue that this is unfair since both China and India fall under the BRIC group of countries; these are characterized by exponential industrial growth and therefore increased carbon footprint (Northcott, 2007).

Moreover, with increased industrialization, the developing world has increased its carbon emissions much more to the levels of the developed world. According to the Economist (2009), Brazil produces more CO2 per head than Germany, a cause for worry for the environment, which receives all these greenhouse emissions. Estimates of affluent emissions stipulated the eventual full-time emissions from the developing world’s planned power stations would come at par with the global industrial pollution since 1850. Part of this is the large population of the developing world and their reliance on fossil fuel, as well as their industrial needs, which therefore increases the amount of greenhouse emissions from these worlds. However, even with such speculations, developed countries continue to produce more in greenhouse gases through their industries, coal burning for power generation and the millions of vehicles on their roads. This is far more compared with the emissions from the developing countries. This points towards the great responsibility that developed countries should take against global warming mitigation.

Both the developed and the developing countries therefore have a responsibility in global warming mitigation measures. Thus, although the developed world has a larger carbon footprint based on the many years of industrialization and globally outsourced emissions, the developing world is also fast industrializing, and therefore needs to shoulder some responsibility. The resources rich developed countries should therefore take the lead in the mitigation measures, this does not however exonerate the developing world from its responsibility in the war against global warming.

Annotated Bibliography

Baer, H. (2008). Global warming as a by-product of capitalist treadmill of production and consumption-the need for an alternative global system.The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 19(1), 58-63

The writer here discusses global warming as one of the most important issues in the 21st century. He shoulders all the blame of global warming on the developed world, especially with the current rate of globalization, and the advent of multinational corporations. The writer particularly points at the US, UK and Australia as among the developed nations willing to do the bidding of multinational corporations in flaunting environmental laws for profiteering. The multinationals, the writer indicates, are bent on profit making with the assumption that the world’s resources are unlimited, with developed nations’ governments playing right into the hands of these multinationals. To the writer therefore, the current global warming crisis is a by-product of this profiteering by multinationals.

The writer additionally raises the awareness on the need for theoretical and applied solutions on the impact of global warming, particularly to anthropologists. This the writer states, is due to the fact that global warming will continue to affect people. The need for fast solutions to the problem, the writer indicates is because global warming has moved from its place a thought of fringe theory into a mainstream issues that has received attention from world leaders such as former US president George W. Bush and Australian Primer John Howard.

In exemplifying the gravity of the issue, the writer provides grave statistics on the effects of global warming, indicating that scientists from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have projected a 3 degrees Celsius rise in the global temperature by 2100. With such grave findings, the writer therefore indicates that the responsibility should lie with the developed world in finding mitigation measures against global warming.

Northcott, M., S. (2007). A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming. New York: Orbis, Maryknoll

Northcotts offers a balanced view on the issue of global warming, with a reliance on the Christian view towards a solution to global warming. The writer herein looks at global warming through two contrasting anthropologies; the Enlightenment view that sees human as autonomous beings with no connection to the earth and the classical Christian view, which sees humans as part of a moral order created by God as evidenced through the earth’s structures. The moral order therefore, includes characteristics such as care for the land, respect for others and compassion for the poor. By viewing the world as a work of the divine order, the writer therefore sees global warming as a repercussion of man’s false view of himself as epitomized by imperialism and global capitalism. For this reason therefore, the writer puts the blame squarely on the developed world as the architects of capitalism. He therefore supports the idea of carbon tax to the developed world as a mitigation measure against global warming.

Nothcott put the blame on the developed world, given their carbon footprint not only in their respective territories, but also through their external emissions through global outsourcing and transportation. In measuring these countries carbon footprint, the writer therefore insists on the inclusion of these external emissions. He however does not absolve the developing world of blame given their current state of industrialization. As a solution to the global warming crisis, Northcott fronts the idea of individual repentance and change.

Pickering, J., Vanderheiden, S. & Miller, S. (2012). “If Equity’s in, We’re Out”: Scope for fairness in the next global climate agreement. Ethics & International Affairs, 26(4), 423-443

The writers here relay the developed world’s role as hurdles towards the implementation of global warming regulations. According to the writers, the developed world come together to create huddles, which would then go into the negotiation for better terms for them in the negotiation of long-term global climate agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. The writer report that among the dissenting countries is the United States opposed to the use of equity in the formulation of measures and agreements towards global warming mitigation measures. The argument of these developed nations is that the passage if these tough measures should also include other major emitters such as China and India, which, although are developing nations, have a higher carbon footprint than other developing nations.

The writers therefore, while insisting on the need for the developed world to take lead responsibility towards instituting the mitigation measures against global warming, also see the need for the developing world to take responsibility for global warming. The article therefore insists on the need for fairness in setting international negotiations, particularly as it concerns feasibility and responsibility. The article therefore outlines a number of minimum fairness standards in the negotiations, as well as constrains in feasibility, which should therefore be considered in the development of proposals aimed at reforming the differentiations in the multilateral climate regime. The argument of the article therefore is that there is need for fair and feasible agreement in the reformation of the dichotomy existent between the developed and the developing worlds in relation to commitments to the mitigation measures.

Rosa, L., P. & Ribeiro, S., K. (2011). The present, past, and future contributions to global warming of CO2 emissions from fuels. Climate Change, 48, 289-308

This article emphasizes on the responsibility of the developed world in the implementation of the agreement of the global Climate Convention. The article also takes a position on the role of developing countries in carbon dioxide emissions control, even as it insists on the rights of the developing countries to increase their energy consumption per capita through their development process. The article gives statistic on the emission from the developed world indicating more than three times the level of emission from North America, in comparison with Latin America; a pointer on the high levels of carbon emissions by the developed world and therefore the need for these countries to take the lead in combating global warming.

The article includes calculations on the cumulative contribution of both the developing and developed countries. The comparison of the two puts the developed countries high in the list of global warming contributors. The writers specifically provide a historical contribution of the developed and developing countries to global warming. It additionally computes future contribution of the two. The writers indicate that while the developing countries will increase their emissions as they move towards development, this should not be an impediment to their development. Moreover, the writers indicate that while greenhouse gas emissions should be a concern of the developing countries, the developed countries are not doing enough in their commitment to the Climate Convention. Moreover, the article indicates that most of the developed countries are not members of the Climate Convention, and that only Germany and the UK have so far shown some indication towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emission.

The Economist (2009). A bad climate for development. The Economist. Retrieved from

The article spells out the effects of climate change ranging from disastrous drought to cyclones, which affect both the developed and developing countries. The article reveals that while most people in the West know of the contributions of the developing countries to climate change, it may come as a surprise knowing the scale of the contribution of developing countries. The article indicates that while the developed countries highly contributed to climate change between 1850 and 2005, developing countries have so far surpassed the developed countries, and contribute to more than a half of the entire continents greenhouse gas emissions. To illustrate the gravity of the issue, the article indicates that Brazil produces more carbon dioxide per head than Germany, with a lifetime emission of the developing countries from the stipulated power generation plants producing greenhouse gases equal to the world’s industrial pollutions from 1850.

With global warming causing more harm to the developing countries than developed countries, the article indicates that the developing countries have a responsibility towards mitigating global warming. The effects of global warming on the developing countries according to the article move from health to economic, largely as a result of poor housing, reliance on farming and tourism, both of which rely on climate. Thus, the article argues, with the Copenhagen agreement, developing countries tend to gain more from funds from developed countries aimed at projects for climate change mitigation. Aside from that however, the article insists on the responsibility of developing countries in mitigating global warming through proper public administration, especially in relation to the funds towards the mitigation and other climate friendly measures.


Baer, H. (2008). Global warming as a by-product of capitalist treadmill of production and consumption-the need for an alternative global system.The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 19(1), 58-63

Northcott, M., S. (2007). A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming. New York: Orbis, Maryknoll

Pickering, J., Vanderheiden, S. & Miller, S. (2012). “If Equity’s in, We’re Out”: Scope for fairness in the next global climate agreement. Ethics & International Affairs, 26(4), 423-443

Rosa, L., P. & Ribeiro, S., K. (2011). The present, past, and future contributions to global warming of CO2 emissions from fuels. Climate Change, 48, 289-308

The Economist (2009). A bad climate for development. The Economist. Retrieved from