Politics, Foreign Policy and Regional Cooperation
Edited by Paul G. Harris
Chapter 15: Sharing the Burdens of Global Climate Change: International Equity and Justice in European Policy
15. Sharing the burdens of global climate change: international equity and justice in European policy Paul G Harris* INTRODUCTION Preceding chapters have analyzed how and why several European countries and the European Union (EU) have started to act on global climate change (GCC). In this chapter, Europe’s policies and actions on GCC are examined in the context of global justice generally and international environmental equity (IEE) or fairness in particular. The concept of IEE refers to the fair and just sharing of the burdens associated with environmental changes (see Harris 2001b: 25–43). The questions I want to look at here are, ﬁrst, what role do and should considerations of international (social and distributive) justice and IEE play in the climate change regime? Secondly, in what ways might ideas about global justice and IEE have shaped European policies on GCC? Finally, are European countries, and is the EU as an organization and a community, doing enough to share the burdens of GCC?1 We can address these questions from both practical and normative-ethical perspectives. From a practical perspective, it is reasonable to assert that Europe should do its part to act on the provisions of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) calling for stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations at a level that avoids ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference’ with the Earth’s climate (UNFCCC 1992: Article 2). From a normative perspective, we might argue that Europe should meet a number of commonly accepted ethical standards of international burden sharing. In...
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