Towards An Equitable Framework For Global Climate Policy: 'Greenhouse Development Rights'

Cambridge Review of International Affairs 21:4, 649-69

Author(s): Baer, P. ; Kartha, S. ; Fieldman, G.; Athanasiou, T.
Year: 2008

Research Area(s): Climate Equity ; Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: The assignment of obligations to pay for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and for adaptation to unavoidable climate change is a critical and controversial component of international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In this article we present a new framework called 'Greenhouse Development Rights' (GDRs): a formula for the calculation of national obligations on the basis of quantified capacity (wealth) and responsibility (contribution to climate change). GDRs seek to preserve the 'right to development' by exempting from obligation any income and emissions under a 'development threshold'. By taking into account the distribution of income and emissions within countries, and calculating national obligations as if they were the aggregated obligations of individuals, the framework treats every global citizen identically, and allocates obligations even to poor countries that are proportional to their actual middle-class and wealthy populations.

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