Recent International News: Notes from UN Conferences
How can Carbon Share be useful in the development of a post-Kyoto international climate treaty?
A group of citizens in the UK, Ireland, and elsewhere are promoting Cap and Share, promoted by the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (FEASTA), and others. In Cap and Share, like Carbon Share, emission permits are distributed to all residents, who sell them to upstream fossil fuel companies, which are required to hold the Shares as permits for GHG emissions. The Cap and Share (and Carbon Share) concept may be scaled up to the international regime and could be discussed at the UN international climate conference in Copenhagen.
A citizen's initiative is beginning to look at how a Global Climate Trust could administer such a program. People around the world are coordinating to put together a Global Climate Trust, which could develop the rules to administer an international Cap and Share or Cap and Dividend program.
Any cap and trade program could be corrupted by lobbyists for special interests, so it will take a serious effort to motivate civil society to support it, but the concept has human rights and equality at its core, and can be combined with Contraction and Convergence to include China and India, and provides a better basis for international negotiation than the Kyoto Protocol.
China, India, and others are also looking at per capita equity approaches to allocating emissions rights.
The per capita aspect of Carbon Share may be very important as a framework for a future international climate treaty. For more information, check out a per capita framework called Contraction & Convergence,developed by Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute. Here is a great graph that shows C&C in more detail.
Source: Aubrey Meyer and GCI
Will the UNFCCC begin discussing this approach?
Will the UNEP conduct a technical review of this approach?
Paper on equity presented at Durban December 2011: Equitable Access to Sustainable Development
Mike Sandler on Huffington Post Green 12-6-10: Equity or Nothing at UN Climate Talks in Cancun
FEASTA led a side event at COP-16, here are some links:
Audio of the event
Article in the Irish Times
Article in a Touteleurope.eu, a French website on European affairs
Ireland had asked the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to carry out an assessment of proposals for limiting climate change which could supplement or replace the present UNFCCC process. The World Resources Institute (WRI) has been contracted to carry out the assessment and will present its finds at the next major international climate conference. This is to be held in Bonn in June 2011.
Some FEASTA members are hoping to launch the Global Climate Trust initiative at the UNFCCC meeting in Durban, South Africa in November. Stay tuned.
COP-15 was the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Climate Change Convention took place in Copenhagen December 2009. Foreign ministers and heads of state discussed plans for 2013-2020, after the Kyoto Protocol expires.
Many things have changed since 1997 when Kyoto was negotiated. The science of climate change is much stronger and more dire. We've learned from the shortcomings of the European Trading System (ETS) (too many giveaways to industry) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (an international offsets program with too little oversight, lacking additionality, not verifiable, etc.). Geopolitically, China and India must be at the table in the new treaty. And, the experience of the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the past decade shows how a unified coalition of developing countries can make an impact, even when others try to ignore them.
Aubrey Meyer wrote that the “leaked Danish text” discussed in Copenhagen contained a version of Contraction & Convergence:
“Support the goal of a reduction of global annual emissions in 2050 by at least 50 percent versus 1990 annual emissions, equivalent to at least 58 percent versus 2005 annual emissions. The Parties contributions towards the goal should take into account common but different responsibility and respective capabilities and a long term convergence of per capita emissions.”
More commentary including efforts in China, India, and elsewhere
China's 12th five-year plan for development released in 2011 sets a goal of 9.5 percent of overall energy usage to come from renewable sources by 2015 and designates new low-carbon energy technologies as a strategic industry to spur economic growth. Additionally, the five-year plan calls for a 17 percent reduction in carbon intensity from 2010 levels by 2015. As part of its efforts to achieve this goal, China will introduce emissions trading schemes in seven cities and provinces starting in 2013. Could Carbon Share be part of it?
India senior negotiator Chandrashekar Dasgupta said in Copenhagen: "There are two things that we are seeking climate adequacy and climate justice (equity)," Dasgupta said. "Our position has always been very clear... every human being has an equal right to resources of the atmosphere; therefore you have to take the per capita approach taking also into account the historical emissions."
Sunita Narain, an Indian environmentalist and political activist, and director of the India-based Centre for Science and Environment and of the Society for Environmental Communications. She is also publisher of the magazine Down To Earth. The following text can be found here:
"The inconvenient truth is not that climate change is real, but that confronting climate change is about sharing that growth between nations and people. The rich must reduce so that the poor can grow.
As much as the world needs to design a system of equity between nations, nations of the world need to design a system of equity within the nation. For instance, it is not the rich in India who emit less than their share of the global quota. It is the poor in India, who do not have access to energy who provide us the breathing space. India, for instance, had per capita carbon emissions of 1.5 tons per year in 2005. Yet this figure hides huge disparities. The urban-industrial sector is energy-intensive and wasteful, while the rural subsistence sector is energy-poor and frugal. Currently it is estimated that only 31 percent of rural households use electricity. Connecting all of India’s villages to grid-based electricity will be expensive and difficult. It is here that the option of leapfrogging to off-grid solutions based on renewable energy technologies becomes most economically viable. If India’s entitlements were assigned on an equal per capita basis, so that the country’s richer citizens must pay the poor for excess energy use, this would provide both the resources and the incentives for current low energy users to adopt zero-emission technologies. In this way, too, a rights-based framework would stimulate powerful demand for investments in new renewable energy technologies."
Links for more information:
Cap and Share in Pictures by Lawrence Matthews in Sharing for Survival by FEASTA
Climate Action Network (CAN) Briefing on Equity
René Heeskens in Think Africa Press 1-6-11: A Fair Way to Prevent Climate Change and End Poverty
Aubrey Meyer: The fair choice for climate change , video on What is Contraction & Convergence
Mark Lynas in the New Statesman 10-23-06: Why we must ration the future (mentions C&C, also TEQs. Note: TEQs provides allowances to consumers downstream, while Carbon Share would sell the allowances to upstream companies)
Brian Davey of FEASTA discusses Cap and Share on OneClimate.net
A Flash Animation from Aubrey Meyer
FEASTA Noordwijk Proposal article by Aubrey Meyer (discusses monetary reform as well)
Two Japanese economists, Yasumoto and Nichimura, at Harvard propose Upstream system with per capita allocation