An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Working Paper: Burden Sharing Under the Paris Climate Agreement

Paper Number: 2016-04

Document Date: 09/2016

Author(s): Glenn Sheriff

Subject Area(s): Climate Change, Distributional Effects, International and Global Issues

JEL Classification:

F53 - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations 
Q52 - Pollution Control and Adoption Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
Q54 - Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming

Keywords: greenhouse gas mitigation, climate policy, distribution, international environmental agreements

Abstract: Two decades after creation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), parties have reached a general political consensus in support of reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but debate continues over how to share equitably the burden of mitigation across countries. As part of the December 2015 Paris Agreement, countries submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for GHG mitigation. I analyze these mitigation targets to evaluate the degree to which they resemble any specific burden-sharing proposals. Results could have several applications as the UNFCCC process continues, including simulating how mitigation commitments may evolve as countries become wealthier and considering how increased ambition might be allocated while maintaining the current implicit burden-sharing allocation.

This paper is part of the Environmental Economics Working Paper Series.

You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.