Sharing Burdens

It is clear that there are considerable differences among countries as to their historic responsibility for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, their commitment to reducing greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol (properly termed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992) and their difficulties in meeting these commitments. Countries will also differ regarding the means chosen to achieve the emission targets of the Kyoto Protocol. One example is the difference in importance that states ascribe to the use of implementing mechanisms outlined in the protocol. Likewise, the legal responsibility for GHG emissions varies between different businesses and individuals, and not always in a clearly recognizable relation to actual emissions or their impacts.

This chapter focuses on how burdens to reduce GHG emissions are shared between the European Union (EU) member states and different sectors within the EU and how this policy affects the national policy in member states, particularly Sweden. The EU is responsible for about 15 per cent of the world's GHG emissions, while comprising only 5 per cent of its population (European Commission, 2002). This means that individuals in the EU are responsible for GHG emissions three times higher than the average individual on a global scale. The Kyoto Protocol commits the EU to achieving an 8 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2008 to 2012 compared to the 1990 level.

After a general discussion of burden differentiation, this chapter describes how the EU - in order to meet its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol - has jointly differentiated the responsibility and distributed its common reduction commitment among the member states. It outlines the impact of this distribution on member states - in particular, Sweden's ability to have its own national climate policy. After focusing on how the burdens are shared among member states, the chapter then discusses how the EU - through sector regulations and specific climate legislation - also indirectly regulates how member states are to distribute burdens for GHG emission reductions among domestic national sources. Finally, conclusions are drawn about future burden differentiation within the EU and Sweden, respectively.

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