Policy ForumClimate Change

Equity and Greenhouse Gas Responsibility

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Science  29 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5488, pp. 2287
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5488.2287

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Disagreement over principles for the inclusion of developing countries in future global greenhouse gas caps remains an obstacle to the ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Baer et al. argue that a transition from allocations based on past emissions (with a "grandfather clause"), such as the Kyoto Protocol, embodies for the industrialized nations, to allocations a new regime based on equal per capita emissions rights, is a necessary and fair solution that can lead to an effective global reduction regime. Such an allocation is consistent with numerous ethical principles and legal precedents, could facilitate trading in emissions permits, and can be implemented through a transitional period that accommodates the different situations and emissions levels of various countries.