6 A Legally Binding Agreement?|
58. Sir David King noted that the alternative to
a legally binding agreement is already in place. He said a legally
binding agreement is not an absolute necessitythe alternative
is voluntary commitments, nation by nation, that will eventually
evolve into a single agreement.
A treaty based agreement similar to the Kyoto Protocol "is
unlikely to be replicated."
59. The UNFCCC COP 17 delivered "a breakthrough
on the international community's response to climate change. The
outcomes included a decision by Parties to adopt a universal legal
agreement on climate change as soon as possible, and no later
This 2015 target for an agreement to be reached means that the
legal drafting of the document needs to be in place at least six
months before the 2015 COP. Therefore the terms of any agreement
need to be well developed by COP 20 at the end of 2014.
Fairness and equity
60. The Kyoto Protocol defined Annex I countries
as developed nations and nations with economies in transition
but not including countries such as China, India or Mexico that
can be considered "developing". Annex I countries "committed
themselves specifically to the aim of returning individually or
jointly to their 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by the
By default, all other countries are referred to as Non-Annex I
countries. The Annex 1/non-Annex I terminology is now out of date.
Instead there needs to a process that takes account the rate at
which many of these economies are developing. 
61. The Annex I/non-Annex I distinction (which is
fundamental to the Kyoto Protocol) will not be maintained in any
new agreement. Prof.
Michael Jacobs stated that "no developed country would sign
an agreement now in which China did not take on very significant
commitments of comparable legal standing."
62. Climate equity needs to be understood from the
perspective of both developing and developed countries, and it
needs to be acknowledged that countries will always act in what
they perceive to be their best interests.
DECC recognised this and said "it is not just about what
you want, it is what is important to your counterpart."
63. Sir David identified to us the potential benefits
of using The Human Development Index (HDI) in negotiations. It
could be used to determine which countries are treated as "developed
nations" and required to decrease their emissions immediately
and which countries are given excess carbon permits per capita
until their average earnings come in line with other developed
countries. It is an "objective number that can be used in
negotiations so that the negotiations aren't just subjective and
based on who is the strongest negotiator". In order to discourage
countries from exploiting their growing population in order to
take advantage of this system the agreement could contain various
population maximums per country.
64. DECC said that the HDI is a good proxy measure
of how developed a country is, but that other issues needed to
be taken into consideration, such as "a country's national
circumstances, its energy mix and also the marginal cost of reducing
65. We recommend
that DECC support the use of the Human Development Index or a
similar "objective number" to determine equitably which
countries are treated as developed nations.
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UNFCCC, "Durban Climate Change Conference - November/December
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Glossary, IPCC, June 2012, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/glossary/ar4-wg3.pdf Back
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