How to Reduce Carbon Emissions Equitably


Masud Ally & Wilfred Beckerman

Published: March 2014


So far international negotiations designed to reduce carbon emissions have come up against the clash of views as to the equitable way of sharing out the ‘burden’ among countries. In this article we show that the main criteria that have been discussed, including ‘historical responsibility’, ability to pay, population size and ‘needs’, are all subject to statistical difficulties as well as ethical objections, particularly the historical responsibility criterion. Any equitable compromise between the different possible criteria needs to take account of these obstacles to their being made operational.



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