n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Equity as the basis for a future international climate change agreement : between pragmatic panacea and idealistic impediment. The optimisation of the CBDR principle realism

Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



States need to agree on post-2012 greenhouse gas emission targets at the upcoming UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. It is estimated that more than two thirds of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, which are needed by 2030, will have to come from developing countries. Developing states are, however, not responsible for climate change. Thus, tension exists between equity (the right of developing states to pursue development in the same manner as developed states did) and realism (the urgent need for all states to take action). Future emission reductions should be based on equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). It was, however, in particular the application of the CBDR principle that previously obstructed global consensus on international action. It is therefore the main aim of this article to investigate how equity and CBDR may guide negotiations pursuant to a global consensus on measures to address climate change. In this regard the author takes cognisance of the optimisation thesis of Robert Alexy and international relations theory in order to generate proposals.

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