International Environmental Agreements

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1-22

First online:

Burden Sharing and Fairness Principles in International Climate Policy

  • Lasse RingiusAffiliated withUNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment, Risø National Laboratory
  • , Asbjørn TorvangerAffiliated withCICERO
  • , Arild UnderdalAffiliated withCICERO

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


One of the major challenges facing participants in the global climate change negotiations is to find a scheme of burden sharing that can be accepted as "fair" by all or at least most governments. In this article we first explore which basic principles of fairness seem to be sufficiently widely recognized to serve as a normative basis for such a scheme. We then examine a set of proposals for differentiating obligations that have been submitted by governments in the negotiations leading up to the Kyoto Protocol to see which principles have been honored. In the concluding section we discuss the implications of our analysis for the design of more specific burden sharing rules.

burden sharing climate agreements fairness principles