What Difference Does CBDR Make? A Socio-Legal Analysis of the Role of Differentiation in the Transnational Legal Process for REDD+

An article that I have co-authored with Sarah Mason-Case has won a competition held as part of the fifth anniversary of Transnational Environmental Law. It is currently available as an open-access publication here. The abstract can be found below:

This article offers a socio-legal analysis of the role played by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) in the development, diffusion, and implementation of jurisdictional REDD+ activities throughout the developing world. It employs a qualitative research method known as process tracing to uncover whether and, if so, to what extent and how actors have used CBDR to support the emergence and effectiveness of the transnational legal process for REDD+. The article argues that the transnational legal process for REDD+ reflects a conception of CBDR in which developing country governments may take on voluntary commitments to reduce their carbon emissions, with the multilateral, bilateral, and private sources of financial support and technical assistance provided by developed countries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and corporations. This creative conception and application of CBDR has fostered the construction and diffusion of legal norms for REDD+ because it has influenced the interests, ideas, and identities of public and private actors in the North and South. However, the early challenges associated with the implementation of REDD+ reveal a worrying gap between the financial pledges made by developed countries and the costs associated with the full implementation of REDD+, as well as contradictions in the very way in which the responsibilities of various countries have been defined in the context of REDD+. The analysis has important implications for the transnational governance of REDD+, as well as for scholarship on the role of differentiation in the pursuit of effective and equitable climate change solutions.