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Study: U.S. Owes $80 Trillion in Climate Reparations

Major polluting countries could be responsible for a collective $170 trillion for overshooting their fair share of carbon emissions.

June 6, 2023 | Source: Grist | by Siri Chilukuri

Countries like the United States and those in Europe could be on the hook for an eye-popping $170 trillion in climate reparations for their excessive carbon emissions, according to new research from the University of Leeds.

The study highlights inequities in the remaining carbon that the world can emit before invoking even more catastrophic climate events. Wealthier countries like the U.S, United Kingdom, and Germany are not only responsible for the largest share of current and historic emissions, but they are also on track to overshoot their existing carbon budgets, or the amount that the world can emit before exceeding the current global target of 1.5 degrees C (about 2.7 degrees F) of warming.

Researchers used estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of experts assembled by the United Nations, to measure the total global carbon budget as well as a country’s individual budget. They also looked at the deep cuts in emissions that countries in the Global South will have to make if they are to counteract the countries that use more than their fair share, and the study attempts to quantify the dollar amount that would properly compensate them for it.