Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg Working Papers in Economics

No 491:
Common ground for effort sharing? Preferred principles for distributing climate mitigation efforts

Mattias Hjerpe, Åsa Löfgren, Björn-Ola Linnér, Magnus Hennlock, Thomas Sterner and Sverker C. Jagers

Abstract: This paper fills a gap in the current academic and policy literature concerning how parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change find common ground when distributing commitments and responsibilities to curb climate change. Preferred principles for sharing the effort to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are compared among 170 delegates and more than 300 observers attending the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. Respondents were asked to indicate their degree of support for eight effort-sharing principles for mitigation action. The survey results are analysed according to geographical region and party coalition affiliation. The results indicate that voluntary contribution, indicated as willingness to contribute, was the least preferred principle among both negotiators and observers. This could be seen as ironic, given that voluntary contribution is the guiding principle of the Copenhagen Accord. Across regions and party coalitions, agreement was strongest for basing a country’s mitigation level on its capacity to pay in terms of GDP per capita and on its historic greenhouse gas emissions since 1990.

Keywords: burden sharing; equity; climate change mitigation; Copenhagen; negotiating capacity/process; post-2012 negotiations; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: Q54; R50; (follow links to similar papers)

33 pages, February 25, 2011

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