The precautionary and differentiated responsibility principles in the climate change context
The Precautionary Principle (“PP”) as formulated in the context of climate change requires countries to take measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse impacts despite a lack of full scientific certainty as to such causes. The Differentiated Responsibility Principle (“the DR Principle”) recognizes a common responsibility of all countries to prevent climate change and calls on developed states to assume a leadership role in the global effort to prevent climate change. The DR Principle requires some developed countries to place a restriction on their GHG emissions. Unfortunately this means that at least in the short term, developing countries are not subject to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets, thereby exacerbating the climate change problem. Implementing the DR Principle in this manner conflicts with the PP. To avoid this conflict, the DR Principle should be formulated in a manner which demands some restriction on GHG emission, by developing countries. Efforts to prevent human induced climate change should be made by all countries regardless of their individual culpability for climate change if the PP is to have effect.
DegreeMaster of Laws (LL.M.)
DepartmentCollege of Law
ProgramCollege of Law
CommitteeMascher, Sharon; Farnese, Patricia L.; Bowden, Marie-Ann; Noble, Bram F.
Copyright DateAugust 2005
Differentiated Responsibility Principle