they walked hand in hand
the union and the empire
forty-seven percent
of all carbon dioxide emissions
to date

leadership deaf to
polluter pays principle

justice blind to
polluter pays principle

don't get fooled by
current emissions
when discussing fairness


In 2019, journalist Jeff Tollefson published the article 'Can the world slow global warming' for Nature. It featured an analysis of the cumulative carbon dioxide emissions showing that the United States and Europe exceed all other countries and regions by far. Although China is currently the largest per capita producer of carbon dioxide, we should consider these historic emissions when working towards climate justice.  Additionally, Carbon Brief published their analysis of the historic carbon dioxide emissions per country in October 2021. This poem therefore explores these statistics and the 'polluter pays principle.'