CBDR&RC in a regime applicable to all

CBDR&RC in a regime applicable to all

By Harald Winkler and Lavanya Rajamani
Climate Policy, 4 June 2013

Abstract: The principle of common, but differentiated, responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR&RC) is fundamental to the UNFCCC. Some options for a nuanced model of differentiation that addresses both responsibility and capability in a changingworld are explored, such as new categories of countries, and some of the political issues that such a model might face areconsidered. The strengths and limitations of options for graduation based on ‘objective’ criteria such that countries could movebetween categories or ‘graduate’ – an option provided by the UNFCCC – are discussed. Countries could also choose to joinanother club (e.g. the G20), self-elect into categories or differentiate among themselves implicitly by accepting different commitmentsand actions. CBDR&RC will form part of the overall legally binding agreement, and must apply symmetry in somerespects and differentiation in others to the commitments and actions contained therein. Some possible characteristics of CBDR&RC of relevance in a regime ‘applicable to all’ are outlined. These include promoting climate action and using mechanismsavailable in the UNFCCC to instil dynamism. Differentiation on mitigation must consider the distinctions between absoluteand relative reductions, as well as commitments to outcomes and implementation. CBDR&RC should be applied to mitigation,adaptation, and the means of implementation.

14(1) Climate Policy 102-121 (2014) 

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