Taming equity in multilateral climate politics: A shift from responsibilities to capacities

Sonja Klinsky, A. Gupta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Equity has remained a deeply contested concept in multilateral climate politics ever since the Brundtland Commission report, with academic debate and geopolitical conflict alike focusing on how to conceptualize the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR-RC) of industrialized and developing countries in combating climate change, enshrined within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The focus here is on scrutinizing equity-in-practice, i.e. how equity is being operationalized within multilateral climate governance. The authors trace how the two component elements of the CBDR-RC principle (‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and ‘respective capabilities’) are being operationalized within the obligations and institutional arrangements relating to mitigation and adaptation within the UNFCCC. The focus of equity is shifting away from the ‘responsibility’ component to that of ‘capabilities’ (with capabilities reduced, furthermore, to a technical notion of capacity building). Equity-in-practice is thus increasingly coming to be equated, within the UNFCCC, with capacity building. The authors discuss whether such a taming of equity is also discernible in newer developments, such as negotiating the rule-book for the enhanced transparency framework of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and debating the role within climate policy of climate engineering technologies. The authors draw out the implications of this analysis for the prospects of UN-led multilateralism to deliver on climate equity in the pursuit of sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhat Next for Sustainable Development?
Subtitle of host publicationOur Common Future at Thirty
EditorsJames Meadowcroft, David Banister, Erling Holden, Oluf Langhelle, Kristin Linnerud, Geoffrey Gilpin
Place of PublicationCheltenham UK / Northampton MA, USA
PublisherEdward Elgar
Chapter9
Pages159-179
ISBN (Electronic)9781788975209
ISBN (Print)9781788975193
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019

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equity
politics
climate
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
capacity building
responsibility
transparency
environmental policy
sustainable development
mitigation
developing world
engineering
climate change

Cite this

Klinsky, S., & Gupta, A. (2019). Taming equity in multilateral climate politics: A shift from responsibilities to capacities. In J. Meadowcroft, D. Banister, E. Holden, O. Langhelle, K. Linnerud, & G. Gilpin (Eds.), What Next for Sustainable Development?: Our Common Future at Thirty (pp. 159-179). Cheltenham UK / Northampton MA, USA: Edward Elgar. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781788975209.00019
Klinsky, Sonja ; Gupta, A. / Taming equity in multilateral climate politics: A shift from responsibilities to capacities. What Next for Sustainable Development?: Our Common Future at Thirty. editor / James Meadowcroft ; David Banister ; Erling Holden ; Oluf Langhelle ; Kristin Linnerud ; Geoffrey Gilpin. Cheltenham UK / Northampton MA, USA : Edward Elgar, 2019. pp. 159-179
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Klinsky, S & Gupta, A 2019, Taming equity in multilateral climate politics: A shift from responsibilities to capacities. in J Meadowcroft, D Banister, E Holden, O Langhelle, K Linnerud & G Gilpin (eds), What Next for Sustainable Development?: Our Common Future at Thirty. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK / Northampton MA, USA, pp. 159-179. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781788975209.00019

Taming equity in multilateral climate politics: A shift from responsibilities to capacities. / Klinsky, Sonja; Gupta, A.

What Next for Sustainable Development?: Our Common Future at Thirty. ed. / James Meadowcroft; David Banister; Erling Holden; Oluf Langhelle; Kristin Linnerud; Geoffrey Gilpin. Cheltenham UK / Northampton MA, USA : Edward Elgar, 2019. p. 159-179.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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AB - Equity has remained a deeply contested concept in multilateral climate politics ever since the Brundtland Commission report, with academic debate and geopolitical conflict alike focusing on how to conceptualize the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR-RC) of industrialized and developing countries in combating climate change, enshrined within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The focus here is on scrutinizing equity-in-practice, i.e. how equity is being operationalized within multilateral climate governance. The authors trace how the two component elements of the CBDR-RC principle (‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and ‘respective capabilities’) are being operationalized within the obligations and institutional arrangements relating to mitigation and adaptation within the UNFCCC. The focus of equity is shifting away from the ‘responsibility’ component to that of ‘capabilities’ (with capabilities reduced, furthermore, to a technical notion of capacity building). Equity-in-practice is thus increasingly coming to be equated, within the UNFCCC, with capacity building. The authors discuss whether such a taming of equity is also discernible in newer developments, such as negotiating the rule-book for the enhanced transparency framework of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and debating the role within climate policy of climate engineering technologies. The authors draw out the implications of this analysis for the prospects of UN-led multilateralism to deliver on climate equity in the pursuit of sustainable development.

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BT - What Next for Sustainable Development?

A2 - Meadowcroft, James

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A2 - Gilpin, Geoffrey

PB - Edward Elgar

CY - Cheltenham UK / Northampton MA, USA

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Klinsky S, Gupta A. Taming equity in multilateral climate politics: A shift from responsibilities to capacities. In Meadowcroft J, Banister D, Holden E, Langhelle O, Linnerud K, Gilpin G, editors, What Next for Sustainable Development?: Our Common Future at Thirty. Cheltenham UK / Northampton MA, USA: Edward Elgar. 2019. p. 159-179 https://doi.org/10.4337/9781788975209.00019