Countries agreed in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 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 back countries 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’ off their effort. 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.
CAN recommends to parties and the AWG Chairs that they take steps to proactively insert effort sharing into the negotiation framework in 2011 and 2012. COP17 should establish a mandate to agree an equitable effort sharing approach between all countries by COP18. Whilst an agreement on an equitable effort sharing approach should be the ultimate aim, any discussions that expand the shared understanding of a fair effort sharing approach have the potential to move the negotiations forward exponentially. Waiting for these discussions to take place is not, however, an excuse for countries to put off increasing their level of ambition. All countries have an obligation to increase their ambition now – developed countries, with their woefully inadequate pledges, most of all.
except for the Maldives and Costa Rica who are developing countries that have committed to becoming carbon neutral.