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Common ground for effort sharing? Preferred principles for distributing climate mitigation efforts


  • Hjerpe, Mattias

    (Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Nya kåkenhus, Linköping University)

  • Löfgren, Åsa

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Linnér, Björn-Ola

    (Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Nya kåkenhus, Linköping University)

  • Hennlock, Magnus

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Sterner, Thomas

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Jagers, Sverker C.

    (Social Science Division, Luleå University of Technology and Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg)


This paper fills a gap in the current academic and policy literature concerning how parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change find common ground when distributing commitments and responsibilities to curb climate change. Preferred principles for sharing the effort to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are compared among 170 delegates and more than 300 observers attending the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. Respondents were asked to indicate their degree of support for eight effort-sharing principles for mitigation action. The survey results are analysed according to geographical region and party coalition affiliation. The results indicate that voluntary contribution, indicated as willingness to contribute, was the least preferred principle among both negotiators and observers. This could be seen as ironic, given that voluntary contribution is the guiding principle of the Copenhagen Accord. Across regions and party coalitions, agreement was strongest for basing a country’s mitigation level on its capacity to pay in terms of GDP per capita and on its historic greenhouse gas emissions since 1990.

Suggested Citation

  • Hjerpe, Mattias & Löfgren, Åsa & Linnér, Björn-Ola & Hennlock, Magnus & Sterner, Thomas & Jagers, Sverker C., 2011. "Common ground for effort sharing? Preferred principles for distributing climate mitigation efforts," Working Papers in Economics 491, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0491

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lange, Andreas & Vogt, Carsten & Ziegler, Andreas, 2007. "On the importance of equity in international climate policy: An empirical analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 545-562, May.
    2. Dana R. Fisher, 2010. "COP-15 in Copenhagen: How the Merging of Movements Left Civil Society Out in the Cold," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 10(2), pages 11-17, May.
    3. Lasse Ringius & Asbjørn Torvanger & Arild Underdal, 2002. "Burden Sharing and Fairness Principles in International Climate Policy," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-22, March.
    4. Astrid Dannenberg & Bodo Sturm & Carsten Vogt, 2010. "Do Equity Preferences Matter for Climate Negotiators? An Experimental Investigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 47(1), pages 91-109, September.
    5. Raymond, Leigh, 2006. "Cutting the "Gordian knot" in climate change policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 655-658, April.
    6. Paavola, Jouni & Adger, W. Neil, 2006. "Fair adaptation to climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 594-609, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-017-0140-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kesternich, Martin & Löschel, Andreas & Ziegler, Andreas, 2014. "Negotiating weights for burden sharing rules among heterogeneous parties: Empirical evidence from a survey among delegates in international climate negotiations," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-031, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item


    burden sharing; equity; climate change mitigation; Copenhagen; negotiating capacity/process; post-2012 negotiations;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • R50 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - General

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