Equity Principles And Perspectives

Diverse equity principles and perspectives underlie the climate change debate (see Banuri, Goran-Maler, Grubb, Jacobson, & Yamin, 1996; Rose, 1990; Rose & Stevens, 1993). The central ones are: (i) per capita entitlements (see Agarwal & Narain, 1991; Grubb, 1989) or the egalitarian principle (see Rose, 1990), (ii) historical responsibilities (see Hyder, 1992), (iii) basic needs, (iv) obligation to pay - a composite criteria that combines historical responsibility and basic needs (see Hayes, 1993), (v) Rawlsian criteria (see Benestad, 1994), (vi) ability to pay (see Smith, Swisher, & Ahuja, 1993), (vii) "grandfathered" emissions (see Bodansky, 1993), and (viii) utility maximization (see Chichilnisky & Heal, 1994).

Apart from the direct equity-based approaches, various indirect but practical approaches have been proposed in the literature. A few prominent ones include:

1. Income-based graduation to emissions commitment (see Edmonds & Wise, 1997): This approach proposes differentiated timings for graduation of each country into binding emissions limitation commitments-based criteria like per capita income exceeding a pre-specified level.

2. Contraction and convergence (see Global Commons Institute, 1996): This approach proposes a long-term pathway for evolution of future emissions for each country, resting on the principle that national emissions of

CO2 should converge at a common per capita level. The implementation involves specifying the global emissions pathway and convergence by all nations to the per capita emissions level so as to achieve CO2 concentration stabilization in the long term, such as by the year 2100.

3. Soft-landing in emissions growth (see Blanchard, Criqui, Trommetter, & Viguier, 2001): this approach differentiates countries by categories based on criteria like their emissions and income. For each category of emission reduction, targets are proposed in stages to achieve a gradual transition to low-emissions path.

4. The ''development and climate'' paradigm (see Heller & Shukla, 2003): this approach offers a practical solution to equity via sustainability. Its premise rests on the strong evidence that strategies driven by core-development priorities in developing countries can simultaneously produce climate benefits. The approach advocates adherence to climate strategies that explicitly address the fundamental needs of developing countries, if they are to be constructively and seriously engaged in common efforts toward climate protection.

Equity is vital for avoiding conflicts in that it can reconcile multiple interests, perspectives, needs, and diversity - a precondition for constructing a robust multilateral framework. Emissions profiles of developed and developing countries, however, reflect very different histories. To accommodate this diversity, emissions limitations negotiations have followed a two-track approach, as described in the Kyoto Protocol. The emissions rights of developed nations are "grandfathered" in proportion to their emissions at an agreed time. Developing countries are excluded from binding commitments, keeping in view their low emissions history and compromised ability to pay. Critics have argued that the "grandfathered" emissions distribute higher entitlements to present polluters. On this line of reasoning, past dated "grandfathering" would disfavor developing countries since their emissions are historically low and would only rise in the future. Since the Kyoto Protocol excludes developing countries from binding commitments, the "grandfathering" is not contested. On the other hand, discarding "grand-fathering'' and allocating emissions rights on an equal per capita principle is proposed by those who argue for the equal right of each person to the global commons, akin to the right to vote. A compromise between "grandfathering" and per capita emissions rights is the "contraction and convergence'' framework, which accepts "grandfathered" allocations at the beginning but then requires convergence in the future with equal per capita entitlements that could match the desired stabilization trajectory. The convergence limit and the timing of convergence are, then, the key equity parameters for transition to equal emission rights.

A practical, though indirect, approach is based on a graduation threshold that differentiates the timing of the entry of a country into the binding emissions limitations regime. For instance, Edmonds and Wise (1997) propose an "income-based graduation" for the entry of developing countries into a technology-based protocol for emissions limitations. When the per capita income of a country reaches the agreed-upon threshold level, it graduates to the protocol. The technology protocol then mandates the country to agree to technology standards, such as compulsory use of carbon capture and storage technology, with any fossil-based new electricity capacity. Variants of the graduation approach exist, which are based on a set of complex graduation indices (Michaelowa, Butzengeiger, & Jung, 2003; Nordhaus, 2001) that direct the entry of a nation into a specific protocol. For example, "soft-landing," a variant of the graduation approach, proposes entry for developing countries into the protocol based on criteria like their ability to pay and per capita emissions contributions (Blanchard et al., 2001).

A practical solution to equity via sustainability is proposed under the "development and climate" paradigm (Heller & Shukla, 2003). Its premise rests on the strong evidence that strategies driven by core development priorities in developing countries can simultaneously produce climate benefits. This approach advocates adherence to climate strategies that explicitly address the fundamental needs of developing countries if they are to be constructively and seriously engaged in common efforts toward climate protection.

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