Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR)
“The phrase common but differentiated responsibility is playing an increasing role in international law. It points to the fact that problems which are a common concern to mankind - such as climate change - affect all and are affected by all nations to differing degrees. Therefore, the responsibilities in producing solutions should also be differentiated. This principle is found in the UNFCCC and in the Kyoto Protocol.
With regard to climate change, there are two considerations in the application of the CBDR principle: (a) the cumulative responsibility of countries for the problem (historical as well as current responsibility); (b) the ability of counties to deal with the problem in technical and economic terms.”
CBDR between nations is a key principle for a politically acceptable climate deal, but is not in itself a solution.
Any effective formula for cutting global carbon emissions must contain an overarching rationale for differentiating and sharing responsibilities for cutting emissions in a way that is simple enough for voters to grasp and which is fair and acceptable to all nations.