A principle of equitable access to sustainable development: internalizing externalities in the global climate talks

Hernandez, Ariel
External Publications (2014)

in: Review of Business and Economic Studies 2 (1), 74-87


Climate change negotiations require conceptual underpinnings to provide a robust negotiation framework. Principles such as the “common but differentiated responsibilities” or “polluter pays” serve as “political formula” to guide negotiators to achieve mutually acceptable outcomes. Negotiations on technical issues suchas emissions reduction often fail due to the lack of guiding principles. After decades of negotiations, the climate change negotiation system is still searching for principles, particularly when the negotiators have realized that the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities seems to inhibit countries to reach an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as it is, for example, increasingly seen to promote free-riding. As the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) introduced the notionof equitable access to sustainable development in the Cancun agreements in the context of a timeframe for global greenhouse gas emissions, the UNFCCC has asked international experts to come up with ideas how the newly agreed principle can be conceptualized, implemented and how it can facilitate the negotiation process, for example, by providing guidelines to overcome the divide between developed and developing countries. This paper aims to contribute its understanding of this principle from the perspective of the negotiation process.


About the author


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