Startling new analysis from Lehman Brothers

Well, it seems that surprises are still possible! Not long ago, Climate Progress, Joe Romm’s excellent blog, contained a pointer to a new report by Lehman Brothers — the investment bank — with the unpromising title of “The Business of Climate Change II.” But promising it was! And among much else, it contained the following startling words:

“The United States, the European Union, Japan, and Russia are estimated to have accounted jointly for nearly 70% of the build-up of fossil-fuel CO2 between 1850 and 2004. Developed countries are also, directly or indirectly, responsible for much of the destruction of the world’s carbon sinks, most notably its forests. By contrast, India and China are estimated as having contributed less than 10% of the total. Developing countries are already making the point that the ‘social’ cost of carbon — and therefore the total abatement cost — is as high as it is because of past emissions. Hence, they argue, the developed countries should be paying for the amount by which the ‘social’ cost of carbon is higher than it would have been but for their actions …

[T]hose nations responsible for the bulk of the release of CO2 into the atmosphere in the past could agree to pay for these responsibilities by paying into a global warming ‘superfund’. That fund could in turn be used to reduce the amount that would otherwise be paid by the emerging countries in respect of their future emissions — or, of course, to pay for example for research and development, or adaptation.” Lehman Brothers Calling for a “global warming superfund” And strongly implying that nations should pay into it on the basis of their historical emissions Clearly, the winds of realism are blowing more strongly than we had imagined.