Working Group III: Mitigation

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Major devices to determine the order of equity principles are the following: Rose et al. (1998) distinguish between “allocation-based”, “outcome-based”, and “process-based” principles. The first group focuses on the initial allocation of property rights of GHG emissions, such as the egalitarian, sovereignty, polluter pays, and ability-to-pay principles. The second group of principles examines the outcome in terms of welfare changes41 caused by emissions reduction efforts, such as the horizontal, vertical, compensation, and utilitarian principles. The third category recognizes the libertarian, political consensus, and Rawls’ maximin as guiding principles to the process of emission allocation. Shue (1993) divides principles of justice into “fault-based” and “no-fault” principles. The ability-to-pay, for example, is no-fault in the sense that guilt is irrelevant to the assignment of responsibility to pay. The richest should pay the highest rates no matter how they acquired what they own. In contrast, the polluter-pays principle, an economic principle that polluters should bear the cost of abatement without subsidy (Rayner et al., 1999), is based upon fault or, alternatively, upon an amoral rationale of causal responsibility, or simply that the assignment of burden creates an incentive to not pollute. Thus, fault need not be a moral issue. Rowlands (1997) differentiates, among other things, according to aspects of historical difference (if any). The classification is based on whether past usage has established present and future rights, be it the same (grandfathering) or be it a correction for injustices from the past (natural debt). Agarwal and Narain (2000) outline the concept of contraction and convergence. This is the entitlement of GHG emissions budgets in terms of future emissions rights. Such a global future emissions budget is based on a global upper limit of atmospheric concentration of CO2, for instance 450ppmv (contraction). This budget is then distributed as entitlements to emit CO2 in the future, and all countries will agree to converge on a per-capita emission entitlement (convergence). Level of contraction and timing of convergence are subject to negotiations with respect to the precautionary principle.

The Kyoto Protocol endorses the principle of differentiation among countries (between Annex B and non-Annex B) and within Annex B countries for emissions reduction targets. However, details of the form of JI and the endowment of GHG emissions rights remain to be established. Also, future negotiations to determine national targets after 2012, as well as the question of commitments for developing countries, need to be discussed. Accordingly, several proposals for the differentiation of national GHG reduction targets, as well as multiform modelling exercises to explore the consequences of the different proposals, have been published recently. An overview is given in Table 10.10.

Table 10.10: Selected studies of applied equity principles and burden-sharing rules
Reference Subject of investigation Geographical mapping Results
      Numerical results*  
Torvanger and Godal (1999)

Emission limitations that could occur if burdens were to follow the

  • Sovereignty pinciple
  • Egalitarian principle (to fulfil the Kyoto Protocol)
  • Ability-to-pay principle (assuming no increase in emissions)
Countries in Baltic Sea Region Sov. Egal. Abil.  
Denmark –6 18 –14  
Estonia –6 –37 –4  
Finland –6 27 –15  
Germany –6 8 –12  
Iceland –6 45 –13  
Latvia –6 23 –4  
Lithuania –6 19 –3  
Norway –6 29 –13  
Poland –6 15 –1  
Russia –6 112 –14  
Sweden –6 –20 –4  
      * changes compared to 1990 levels, in per cent
Rose et al. (1998)   Global, 9 Regions Sov. Egal. Hor. Vert.
  • Sovereignty
  • Egalitarian
  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
USA 8.2 67.7 9.5 17.3
  Can, W. Europe 5.6 29.8 7.0 3.3
  Other OECD 1.5 12.5 3.8 8.2
  EEFSU 6.2 55.9 4.1 1.1
  China 3.9 -25.4 1.2 0.0
  Middle East 1.0 0.3 1.3 0.6
  Africa 0.8 -36.3 0.8 0.0
  Latin America 1.3 -10.6 1.3 0.1
  Southeast Asia 2.1 -63.3 1.6 0.0
  EEFSU: Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union   * net cost impacts in the year 2005, in billions of 1990 US$
OECD/IEA (1994)

Emission limitations following 10% reduction in world emissions according to

  • Egalitarian
  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
Global, 10 Regions   Egal. Hor. Vert.
  North America   11 2.5 12
  West/North Europe   7 2 12
  Pacific OECD   21 3 52
  Central/E. Europe   25 39 6
  Former SU   11 8 4
  East Asia   8 14 6
  China   3 23 2
  Middle East   23 24 13
  Latin America   7 12 5
  Africa   5 24 3
      * in per cent
Reference Subject of investigation Geographical mapping Main features

Elzen et al. (1999, 2000)

FAIR model (Framework to Assess International Regimes for burden sharing)

  • the Brazilian proposal (revised and original approach), as application of polluter-pays principle
  • Brazilian methodology for estimating historical emissions
Analysis extended to global scale
  • only allocation-based criteria
  • accounting for historical emissions and/or a per-capita approach favour developing countries
  • inclusion of all GHG and land use emissions favours developed countries
  • Triptych approach
    Phylipsen et al. (1998)
    Blok et al. (1997)

Sector oriented

  • energy-related CO2 emissions may still increase because of high growth in non-Annex I emissions, especially in industrial sector
  • energy efficiency plays a major role in emissions reduction if combined with global diffusion of technology
Byrne et al. (1998) Proposal for egalitarian principle on the basis of 1989 population 140 countries
Four income groups
  • achieving economic parity in 2050
  • increase in CO2 emissions for low-income
  • reduction in CO2 emission for upper-income
Ringuis et al. (1998)

equal weight,
CO2/capita, CO2/unit GDP, GDP/capita, GDP, CO2

  • none of the rules in which it is possible to allocate costs among countries and into economic and social drivers equalizes costs across the OECD
Rowlands (1997) Historical (reactive and proactive)
  • twin-track strategy: short term flat-rate approach, long-term differentiated approach
Note: EEFSU= Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union

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