International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics > Vol 2 > Issue 2

Equity and Justice in Global Warming Policy

Snorre Kverndokk, Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research, Norway, Adam Rose, Energy Institute and School of Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California, USA
Suggested Citation
Snorre Kverndokk and Adam Rose (2008), "Equity and Justice in Global Warming Policy", International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics: Vol. 2: No. 2, pp 135-176.

Publication Date: 24 Oct 2008
© 2008 Snorre Kverndokk and Adam Rose
Environmental Economics
Economics of climate changeIntragenerational equityInternational equityDistributive justice


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In this article:
1 Introduction 
2 Theories of Equity and Justice 
3 The Burdens of Climate Change and Climate Change Policies 
4 Equity in International Climate Negotiations 
5 Implementing Climate Agreements Using Price Incentives 
6 What Equity Principles have Actually been Used? 
7 Equity and Uncertainty — Are Emission Reductions Really Necessary or are there Other Ways? 
8 Conclusions 


Many countries are implementing or at least considering policies to counter increasingly certain negative impacts from climate change. A large amount of research has been devoted to the analysis of the costs of climate change and its mitigation, as well as to the design of policies, such as the international Kyoto Protocol, post-Kyoto negotiations, regional initiatives, and unilateral actions. Although most studies on climate change policies in economics have focused on efficiency aspects, there is a growing literature on equity and justice.

Climate change policy has important dimensions of distributive justice, both within and across generations, but in this paper we survey only studies on the intragenerational aspect. We cover several domains including the international, regional, national, sectoral and inter-personal, and examine aspects such as the distribution of burdens from climate change, climate change policy negotiations in general, implementation of climate agreements using tradable emission permits, and the uncertainty of alternatives to emission reductions.