If Equity's In, We're Out': Scope for Fairness in the Next Global Climate Agreement

Jonathan Pickering, Steven Vanderheiden, Seumas Miller

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    21 Citations (Scopus)
    50 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    At the United Nations climate change conference in 2011, parties decided to launch the 'Durban Platform' to work towards a new long-term climate agreement. The decision was notable for the absence of any reference to 'equity,' a prominent principle in all previous major climate agreements. Wealthy countries resisted the inclusion of equity on the grounds that the term had become too closely yoked to developing countries' favored conception of equity. This conception, according to wealthy countries, exempts developing countries from making commitments that are stringent enough for the collective effort needed to avoid dangerous climate change. In circumstances where even mentioning the term equity has become problematic, a critical question is whether the possibility for a fair agreement is being squeezed out of negotiations. To address this question we set out a conceptual framework for normative theorizing about fairness in international negotiations, accompanied by a set of minimal standards of fairness and plausible feasibility constraints for sharing the global climate change mitigation effort. We argue that a fair and feasible agreement may be reached by (1) reforming the current binary approach to differentiating developed and developing country groups, in tandem with (2) introducing a more principled approach to differentiating the mitigation commitments of individual countries. These two priorities may provide the basis for a principled bargain between developed and developing countries that safeguards the opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change without sacrificing widely acceptable conceptions of equity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)423-443
    Number of pages21
    JournalEthics and International Affairs
    Volume26
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

    Fingerprint

    fairness
    equity
    climate
    climate change
    developing country
    commitment
    UNO
    inclusion
    Equity
    Fairness
    Climate
    Developing Countries
    Climate Change
    Conception
    Group
    Mitigation

    Cite this

    Pickering, Jonathan ; Vanderheiden, Steven ; Miller, Seumas. / If Equity's In, We're Out' : Scope for Fairness in the Next Global Climate Agreement. In: Ethics and International Affairs. 2012 ; Vol. 26, No. 4. pp. 423-443.
    @article{9f07ce49f0f148ebbbe91c47c74add61,
    title = "If Equity's In, We're Out': Scope for Fairness in the Next Global Climate Agreement",
    abstract = "At the United Nations climate change conference in 2011, parties decided to launch the 'Durban Platform' to work towards a new long-term climate agreement. The decision was notable for the absence of any reference to 'equity,' a prominent principle in all previous major climate agreements. Wealthy countries resisted the inclusion of equity on the grounds that the term had become too closely yoked to developing countries' favored conception of equity. This conception, according to wealthy countries, exempts developing countries from making commitments that are stringent enough for the collective effort needed to avoid dangerous climate change. In circumstances where even mentioning the term equity has become problematic, a critical question is whether the possibility for a fair agreement is being squeezed out of negotiations. To address this question we set out a conceptual framework for normative theorizing about fairness in international negotiations, accompanied by a set of minimal standards of fairness and plausible feasibility constraints for sharing the global climate change mitigation effort. We argue that a fair and feasible agreement may be reached by (1) reforming the current binary approach to differentiating developed and developing country groups, in tandem with (2) introducing a more principled approach to differentiating the mitigation commitments of individual countries. These two priorities may provide the basis for a principled bargain between developed and developing countries that safeguards the opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change without sacrificing widely acceptable conceptions of equity.",
    keywords = "Open access version available, Climate change, Climate change mitigation, Durban Platform, Equity in climate change, Fairness in climate change",
    author = "Jonathan Pickering and Steven Vanderheiden and Seumas Miller",
    note = "Imported on 12 Apr 2017 - DigiTool details were: month (773h) = December, 2012; Journal title (773t) = Ethics and International Affairs. ISSNs: 0892-6794;",
    year = "2012",
    month = "12",
    doi = "10.1017/S0892679412000603",
    language = "English",
    volume = "26",
    pages = "423--443",
    journal = "Ethics and International Affairs",
    issn = "0892-6794",
    publisher = "Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs",
    number = "4",

    }

    If Equity's In, We're Out' : Scope for Fairness in the Next Global Climate Agreement. / Pickering, Jonathan; Vanderheiden, Steven; Miller, Seumas.

    In: Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 4, 12.2012, p. 423-443.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - If Equity's In, We're Out'

    T2 - Scope for Fairness in the Next Global Climate Agreement

    AU - Pickering, Jonathan

    AU - Vanderheiden, Steven

    AU - Miller, Seumas

    N1 - Imported on 12 Apr 2017 - DigiTool details were: month (773h) = December, 2012; Journal title (773t) = Ethics and International Affairs. ISSNs: 0892-6794;

    PY - 2012/12

    Y1 - 2012/12

    N2 - At the United Nations climate change conference in 2011, parties decided to launch the 'Durban Platform' to work towards a new long-term climate agreement. The decision was notable for the absence of any reference to 'equity,' a prominent principle in all previous major climate agreements. Wealthy countries resisted the inclusion of equity on the grounds that the term had become too closely yoked to developing countries' favored conception of equity. This conception, according to wealthy countries, exempts developing countries from making commitments that are stringent enough for the collective effort needed to avoid dangerous climate change. In circumstances where even mentioning the term equity has become problematic, a critical question is whether the possibility for a fair agreement is being squeezed out of negotiations. To address this question we set out a conceptual framework for normative theorizing about fairness in international negotiations, accompanied by a set of minimal standards of fairness and plausible feasibility constraints for sharing the global climate change mitigation effort. We argue that a fair and feasible agreement may be reached by (1) reforming the current binary approach to differentiating developed and developing country groups, in tandem with (2) introducing a more principled approach to differentiating the mitigation commitments of individual countries. These two priorities may provide the basis for a principled bargain between developed and developing countries that safeguards the opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change without sacrificing widely acceptable conceptions of equity.

    AB - At the United Nations climate change conference in 2011, parties decided to launch the 'Durban Platform' to work towards a new long-term climate agreement. The decision was notable for the absence of any reference to 'equity,' a prominent principle in all previous major climate agreements. Wealthy countries resisted the inclusion of equity on the grounds that the term had become too closely yoked to developing countries' favored conception of equity. This conception, according to wealthy countries, exempts developing countries from making commitments that are stringent enough for the collective effort needed to avoid dangerous climate change. In circumstances where even mentioning the term equity has become problematic, a critical question is whether the possibility for a fair agreement is being squeezed out of negotiations. To address this question we set out a conceptual framework for normative theorizing about fairness in international negotiations, accompanied by a set of minimal standards of fairness and plausible feasibility constraints for sharing the global climate change mitigation effort. We argue that a fair and feasible agreement may be reached by (1) reforming the current binary approach to differentiating developed and developing country groups, in tandem with (2) introducing a more principled approach to differentiating the mitigation commitments of individual countries. These two priorities may provide the basis for a principled bargain between developed and developing countries that safeguards the opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change without sacrificing widely acceptable conceptions of equity.

    KW - Open access version available

    KW - Climate change

    KW - Climate change mitigation

    KW - Durban Platform

    KW - Equity in climate change

    KW - Fairness in climate change

    U2 - 10.1017/S0892679412000603

    DO - 10.1017/S0892679412000603

    M3 - Article

    VL - 26

    SP - 423

    EP - 443

    JO - Ethics and International Affairs

    JF - Ethics and International Affairs

    SN - 0892-6794

    IS - 4

    ER -