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Re-thinking the Importance of Equity Principles in Carbon Emissions Policy for the Future: A Policy Driven Empirical Narration for India vs. European Union

Author(s): Sovik Mukherjee

Date: 2019

Publisher: NISPAcee Press

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The Public Policy Paper was developed within the NISPAcee project "PRACTIC - From Policy Design to Policy Practice in the European Integration Context” supported by EC ERASMUS+ Jean Monnet Action – Jean Monnet Project.

Sovik Mukherjee, Department of Economics, Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies, St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata, India.

1. Abstract
The concept of justice and being "fair” is often heavily debated, more so, when it comes to the international negotiations on the mitigation of climate change. A peep into the charter of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change highlights the importance of distributive fairness or in other words, equity. The concepts of "equal per capita CO2 emissions”, "polluter-pays principle” etc., in some way provide different perspectives on the issue of equity. For a long time, economics literature has been focussing on the efficient allocation of optimum levels of the provision of some common resources amongst different associated parties. But strangely, less attention has been given to the equity aspects of such allocations.
In this backdrop, out of the existing equity criteria, i.e. egalitarian rule, sovereignty rule, polluter-pays rule, ability-to-pay rule, the first objective is to quantify the significance of these equity principles across two major power houses in the world at present, India and the European Union (EU) in 2014-15 (actual) and in terminal years of 2021-22 and 2031-32 for the future. To assess the distributions implied by the egalitarian, sovereignty, polluter-pays, and ability-to-pay rules, the paper makes use of the trends in the respective countries’ or groups of countries’ population data, baseline carbon emissions, and GDP against two sets of scenarios, the BAU Scenario (Business as Usual) and the Accelerated Scenario (i.e. with a 30 per cent CO2 emissions reduction). The recommendation is that the EU should design its emissions reduction policy in line with the ability-to-pay rule while for India it should be the egalitarian rule.

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