The greenhouse development rights framework for global burden sharing: reflection on principles and prospects

Here, Paul Baer, one of the core members of the GDRs authors group reflects on the principles and prospects for the framework, and does so in the manner of the modern academy.  Here’s the abstract:

“The Greenhouse Development Rights (GDRs) Framework is a proposal for a global climate agreement in which the obligations assigned to nations are based on a combination of responsibility (contribution to the problem) and capacity (ability to pay). A key feature of the GDRs framework is that it is modeled on the assignment of a ‘right to development’ to individuals, such that individuals with incomes below a ‘development threshold’ are nominally exempted from obligations to pay for mitigation and adaptation. Obligations for those ‘over the threshold’ are calculated in the same way for rich persons in poor countries and rich persons in rich countries. As income distribution within countries is taken into account and all countries have some wealthy people, all countries have a positive obligation to contribute to global mitigation and adaptation requirements, eliminating the sharp distinction between Annex I and non-Annex I countries. In the last few years, GDRs has become one of the most widely known of the many so-called burden-sharing frameworks that have been proposed. In this essay, one of the co-authors of the GDRs framework presents the framework’s fundamental principles, describes its place in the larger discussion of burden-sharing and climate justice, and reflects on its prospects in the next phase of the global climate negotiations. Hopefully it will be helpful both to readers new to GDRs and to our existing supporters and critics.”

This essay, alas, has been published in WIREs Climate Change (WIREs Clim Change 2012. doi: 10.1002/wcc.201) and is behind a paywall.  However, Paul would be happy to send you a PDF if you contact him, which you can do at

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