The common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities principle in global climate change mitigation: a legal appraisal
The economic inequality of States has for a long time hindered global efforts at climate change mitigation. Under international Environmental law, the CBDR-RC principle was adopted as an attempt to level the playing field. The principle attempts to share climate change mitigation responsibilities amongst states in an equitable and fair manner. Although the principle has been adopted under the UNFCCC and its secondary agreements. There is no strict definition of the principle under these instruments, which has over the years led to disagreements amongst states as to what the principle means and how it can or should be applied. The ongoing arguments have led to inaction on the part of states in dealing with climate change, which has in turn caused the phenomenon to worsen. The 2015 Paris Agreement seemed to have adopted an application of the principle that allowed global participation in climate change mitigation, putting an end to arguments over the application of the CBDR-RC principle. However, the different states still did not have a common understanding and appreciation of the true and most compelling feature of the principle. This is evinced by the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement citing the unfair application of the CBDR-RC principle amongst other reasons. This then begs the question what application and interpretation of the principle can be best suited to mitigate the effects of climate change, while mandating all states to participate on one hand, and allowing for equitable differentiation of the responsibility on the other to achieve the objects of the principle, namely, climate change mitigation. This dissertation seeks to establish the best application of the CBDR-RC principle for climate change mitigation by looking at the above-mentioned agreements and the applications adopted therein. The dissertation makes recommendations as to how global participation of states in climate change mitigation can be acquired. Keeping in mind that states are sovereign and can only take on responsibilities voluntarily. the dissertation further makes recommendations on how the responsibility can be equitably shared amongst states, allowing the developing states to take part, and not placing all the burden on the developed states.
- Law