CAN Briefing: Fair Effort Sharing, July 2011

In the UNFCCC countries agreed to prevent dangerous climate change: to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

At present they are failing in this task. One element holding them back from the necessary action is the concern that they will be asked to do more than is their fair share, and conversely that other countries will ‘free ride’. A common understanding of fair shares – even if it is only approximate – can help overcome this trust barrier and lead to higher levels of ambition from all.

This paper adds to the understanding of what an equitable effort sharing agreement might look like.  It outlines the fundamental effort sharing principles contained in the UNFCCC and expands on these principles, presenting an organized set of fundamental and subsidiary principles relevant to assessing fair-share effort-sharing frameworks.  It briefly describes thirteen existing frameworks and assesses these frameworks against effort sharing principles.