Finally, the U.S. would like to discuss climate equity and CBDR-RC principle!!!

Doha, Dec. 5. At the just adjourned high-segment plenary, the U.S. special envoy Todd Stern said to ministers from countries that the U.S. would like to join a discussion on climate equity and the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibility.

“Common But Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capability” (CBDR-RC) was first introduced in Rio declaration in 1992 and later further emphasized in climate talks at early 1990s. It is a fundamental principle for most developing countries. However, the United States hates this phrase, negotiators have rejected discussing it and worked to take it out of future texts. Last year in Durban, Mr. Stern was famously quoted that equity and CBDR “will never fly” for the U.S. in order to oppose the deal between EU and India. At Rio+20 summit this June, Mr. Stern said that paradigm of the CBDR is a nonstarter and “certainly crosses a red line for us.”

Anyway, let me quickly quote Mr. Stern’s speech today:

We have had an important year of conceptual dialogue, and we need to continue to enhance that work toward the vision of an ambitious and equitable agreement. And let’s provide a thorough opportunity for Parties to discuss all critical issues, including the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The United States would welcome such a discussion, because unless we can find a common ground on that principle and the way in which it should apply in the world of the 2020s, we won’t succeed in producing a new Durban Platform agreement. And we have to succeed. Let’s have that discussion.

For years, the rude rejection of equity and CBDR by the U.S. spurred severe distrust among major negotiation countries. But countries have realized that they have to face this extremely difficult question, both ethically and politically. Maybe Mr. Stern read my interview with Mary Robinson yesterday. Regardless, the United States is in the discussion now; a quite important signal to move things forward!

We have to succeed. Let’s have that discussion!


Find the full speech text here:

Read my previous blogs on climate quity:

U.S. should have an open and proper debate on climate justice: Mary Robinson [Dec 4, 2012]

Bring Equity Back to Table: China’s expectation at Bonn  [May 15, 2012]

EU’s Interpretation of “China’s Capability” [Dec 11, 2011]

Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, According to Americans [Dec 8, 2010]

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