1.3 Equity and Sustainable Development
Figure 1.3: Equity and climate change mitigation.
The above review of the literature on cost-effective GHG mitigation (including
the chapters in this report) shows that elements of development, equity, and
sustainability are addressed in some of the analyses. However, they generally
take the form of boundary conditions, barriers, or constraints rather than the
primary motivation of the analysis. There is also a large and growing volume
of research that approaches mitigation directly from a concern with equity and
development (Figure 1.3). While in principle, equity
concerns pertain to at least three domains5
international, intra-country, and inter-generationalmuch of this
literature focuses on the international dimensions of equity, and takes as its
primary challenge the goal of sustainable development and poverty eradication
in developing countries, (Parikh, 1992; Parikh and Parikh, 1998; Murthy, 2000).
As mentioned earlier, although this literature starts with concerns about global
equity, one of its central concerns is the promotion of the prospects of sustainable
development, especially in developing countries. Accordingly, we have entitled
this approach, equity and sustainable development.
An important motivation for this literature is climate change agreements in
which equityat all relevant levels (intergenerational, intragenerational,
international, and intranational)is a prominent and consistent theme.
The first principle of the UNFCCC (1992, Article 3.1)
states: The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit
of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in
accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective
capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead
in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.
The UNFCCC goes on to require developed countries to assist developing countries
in coping and adapting with the impacts of climate change (Articles
4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.8,
4.9, 4.10), recognizes that
economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first
and overriding priorities of the developing countries (Article
4.7), and, indeed, that Parties have a right to and should promote
sustainable development (Article 3.4). The Kyoto
Protocol retained this emphasis by referring to various paragraphs of Article
4 of the UNFCCC (1992), and refrained from imposing additional commitments
on developing countries (UNFCC, 1997b Article 10, preamble).
It reiterated the goal of sustainable development and established the CDM to
assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development while contributing
to the ultimate objectives of the UNFCCC (1997b, Article
12.2; see also Jacoby et al., 1998; Najam and Page, 1998; Jamieson, 2000;
Agarwal et al., 2000).
Finally, the issue of equity has been discussed not only with regard to the
distribution of resources and burdens within and between generations, but also
in terms of the role that it plays in the generation of social capital. Along
with reproducible, natural, and human and intellectual capital, social capital
is necessary for sustainability (Rayner et al., 1999; for related arguments,
see also Hahn and Richards, 1989; Toman and Burtraw, 1991; Rose and Stevens,
1993). Fairness is integral to the establishment and maintenance of social relations
at every level, from the micro to the macro, from the local to the global.
What is fair may be the subject of disagreement, but the demand for fairness
only arises because of the existence of community. It is very hard to imagine
what fairness would mean if we did not live and work together in families, communities,
firms, nations, and other social arrangements that persist over time (Rayner,