July 6, 2009
Journal Article, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) created a 2-tier world. It called upon the developed ("Annex I") countries to "take the lead" in reducing carbon emissions, and, under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," established no time frame for developing countries to follow. However, a consensus is now emerging in favor of low stabilization targets. These targets cannot be achieved without the participation of developing countries, which today emit about half of global CO2 emissions and whose future emissions increase faster than the emissions of industrialized countries under "business as usual" scenarios.