18th Century- Industrial Revolution of the Western World
December 11, 1997- Kyoto Protocol
– UNFCCC founded
2006- China overtakes USA as world’s largest carbon emitter
April 25, 2015- Earthquake in Nepal 7.8
May 12, 2015- Aftershock 7.3
April 22, 2016- Paris Agreement
When constructing this timeline I found the question of what events to focus on to be an interesting one. While Nepal’s internal history is certainly important there is also a larger worldwide context. Nepal is a tiny country and it could be argued that much of what occurs internally is driven by external factors. In the 18th Century the Industrial Revolution of the Western World occurred. The revolution started in England and then later spread to the United States towards the end of the 18th Century. When one considers which countries essentially are “to blame” for anthropogenic climate change the answer is clear, the Western World is to blame, specifically the United States. However the impacts of climate change are most strongly felt in places like Nepal, places that had nothing to do with these emissions. From this many questions emerge concerning who is responsible for “fixing” climatic issues. Throughout the course of the Mosaic we have already run into this issue. What should Nepal’s role be in finding solutions to climatic challenges? What would be the impacts of Nepal industrializing like the United States did? What role can technology transfer play in the sustainable development of Nepal? The United States was the world’s largest emitter for over a century, only recently surpassed by China. How can we ask a small nation like Nepal, a LDC, to take steps to mitigate climate change while they work to develop? When one compounds the history of Nepal with this information the questions become more difficult to answer. Nepal was historically under the control of the East India Company. If resources were taken out of Nepal to be consumed by the West the questions become more and more tangled. I believe in the importance of history and I believe history should inform how the international community addresses climate change. I believe that we should not ridicule Nepal for taking actions that harm the environment such as deforestation while in the United States we have already destroyed our forests. It is up to the United States and the Western World to play a larger role in the international community and to contribute the majority resources to find solutions to climate change.