Direct and indirect burdensharing

There is a considerable difference among states and even, sometimes, groups of states or continents in terms of historic reductions and current amounts and sources of GHG emissions. States, economic actors and activities have historically differed in their readiness to combat emissions, and their technical as well as economic options to decrease emissions have varied. States also differ with respect to their potential for reducing these emissions due to differences in industrial structures, emitting activities, etc. Furthermore, the political will to reduce emissions and to combat climate change still differs substantially among individual states.

To be able to jointly fulfil individual national commitments to the Kyoto Protocol, the EU designed a way of distributing the burdens of emissions reduction and, in so doing, of taking some account of national differences. The EU Burden-Sharing Agreement and the ensuing NAPs bear witness to this open and direct sharing of a commonly defined burden, emanating from global negotiations and agreements. On the other hand, we have also seen examples of indirect and somewhat less open burden-sharing. This can be found in the mix of regulations and instruments regarding different sectors in both EU and national policy. Other examples concern the EU decision to include certain sectors in the trading scheme, but not others, and the degree to which project mechanisms may be used by member states.

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