International Environmental Agreements

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1–22

Burden Sharing and Fairness Principles in International Climate Policy


  • Lasse Ringius
    • UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and EnvironmentRisø National Laboratory
  • Asbjørn Torvanger
    • CICERO
  • Arild Underdal
    • CICERO

DOI: 10.1023/A:1015041613785

Cite this article as:
Ringius, L., Torvanger, A. & Underdal, A. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (2002) 2: 1. doi:10.1023/A:1015041613785


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 sharingclimate agreementsfairness principles
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002