Rethinking the Application of the Principle of 'Common but Differentiated Responsibilities' in the International Climate Legal Framework
20 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2008 Last revised: 10 Apr 2009
Date Written: December 6, 2008
Climate change is a global long-term problem (up to several centuries) that involves complex interactions with environmental, economic, political, institutional, social and technological processes. The international community has taken legal steps to combat climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the Kyoto Protocol and other climate related instruments are all legal instruments which target climate change mitigation. These legal instruments have created a distinction in terms of obligations and responsibilities between the developed and the developing countries through the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. However, the application of this principle has left some discomfort with some States party to these instruments.
The major purpose of this paper is explore a new mode of applying the 'common but differentiated responsibilities' principle to make it acceptable to all state parties to the climate international legal instruments. The paper gives an overview and understanding of the principle. It traces the development of this principle in the international environmental legal framework generally and its recognition in the climate legal regime, giving the justification for doing so. It identifies the limitations to the principle and makes recommendations or proposes new modes of applying it to make it acceptable to all state parties to the climate change instruments.
Keywords: Climate, Common, Differentiated, International, Law, Responsibilities
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