Future Mitigation Commitments: Differentiating Among Non-Annex I Countries
"International climate policy is at a crossroads. The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol marked an important step in international climate policy. At the same time, there is a lively debate on options for the mid- and long-term development of the climate regime, and a growing recognition that such a development is of utmost importance. The challenge of future climate negotiations will be to embed the next steps in a long-term framework aiming at an adequate and equitable global climate agreement that recognizes the right to sustainable development of all countries. A package capable of constituting such an agreement will need to address both responses to the problem of anthropogenic climate change, namely mitigation and adaptation. Support for adaptation to the impacts of climate change will have to gain a far more prominent role in the evolution of the future climate regime, as the effects of mitigation measures taken now will not be seen for years to come. However, while some adaptation will be necessary to deal with climate change to which the world is already committed, ultimately mitigation is the best form of adaptation (Yohe, 2001). The focus of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Article 2, namely ‘to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere’ under specified constraints, indicates a consensus among Parties to take action for mitigation. The problem the world is facing is not whether mitigation is important, but who mitigates and how much. What is required in thinking beyond 2012 is, therefore, further and more systematic differentiation among countries, also in the South. This article outlines an analytical approach to differentiate among non-Annex I countries and to assign commitments to mitigation and financial transfers."