The Principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities in the International Climate Change Legal Framework : Background, New Developments and Challenges of the Principe of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities in the Climate Regime
The Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (hereinafter referred to as CBDR) is one of the most effective principles in the international environmental law legal regime. It entails two elements: common responsibility and differentiated responsibility. Common responsibility describes the shared obligations of two or more States towards the protection of a particular environmental resource. Differentiated responsibility entails the need to take into account the different circumstances, particularly each State’s contribution to the evolution of a particular problem and its ability to prevent, reduce and control the threat.
CBDR in the climate regime incorporates perspectives on states’ historical contributions to global environmental degradation and incorporates fairness and justice elements to be taken into account when devising relevant legal commitments. The rationale for CBDR in the climate regime is that owing to the fact that industrial countries bear the overwhelming responsibility for historical GHG emissions they should bear the primary burden of averting climate change. Accordingly, under the climate regime, developed country parties are required to take up mitigation commitments and targets. While developing countries are exempted from such commitments. This study established that non-participation of developing countries in the climate mitigation effort on the basis of CBDR is the main challenge of CBDR in the climate regime. The thesis therefore makes a case for global participation in the climate mitigation effort.