First up, the climate talks are not going very well. After a rousing start in Rio in 1992, from which we returned with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the negotiations have been anything but inspiring. 1997s Kyoto Protocol defined the rich-world actions the first steps that would put meat on the Conventions bones, but the details were not ideal, and as the years passed, well, lets just say that things didnt quite work out as hoped. And now, twelve years on, Copenhagen is rising on the horizon. Continue reading “A Blame Game? Get ready for Prime Time!”
Annex 1 targets are NOT on track
According to a report by the a-list team at Climate Analytics that was just published in Nature Reports, we’re not even close to being on track for success in Copenhagen. Which is to say that an aggregated analysis of Annex 1 commitments (which “would be in the range of 814 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 if current commitments were followed through”) and non-Annex 1 “deviations from baseline (which are assumed to be 4% by 2020) yields the conclusion that we are in trouble deep, with virtually “no chance of limiting warming to 2 C (or 1.5 C) above pre-industrial temperatures.” Continue reading “Annex 1 targets are NOT on track”
Oxfam — Hang Together or Separately
Oxfam has long been a supporter of the Greenhouse Development Rights project, but this is something new! Hang Together or Separately is a major report from Oxfam International in which the Responsibility and Capacity Index is leveraged in a new and creative manner. (And see here for 30 minute press conference (at the Bonn talks in June) where the report was released.)
The focus of the proposal here is a Global Mitigation and Finance Mechanism designed to operationalize a “double duty” in which the rich countries, on the one hand, reduce their combined emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and, on the other, provide $150 billion per year — “at the very least” — to incentivize large-scale emissions reductions in developing countries and finance adaptation. Continue reading “Oxfam — Hang Together or Separately”
The "historical responsibility" issue blows wide open
Half way through the Copenhagen year, there came the Technical briefing by the Chair of the AWG-LCA on historical responsibility as a guide to future action to address climate change. Not a snappy title, but a big event, and the UN secretariat captured it on video, and if you’re any kind of climate equity scholar (or activist), it’s well worth watching, and not just because Martin Khor, now of the South Center, does such a fine job with the difficult job of explaining “negative emissions.” Other highlights include Henry Shue, and Bolivia’s Angelica Navarro, and China’s Teng Fei, and India’s Prodipto Ghosh, all giving their views on this suddenly visible, enduringly critical issue.
We’re not claiming that historical responsibility is the be-all and end-all equity principle, or that it can alone bear the weight of the fair-shares effort sharing system that we need. But it’s one side of the coin (the other is capacity) and this was, in a sense, its official coming out. Also note: For an excellent textual summary of the event, see the Third World Network’s Developing countries call for historical responsibility as basis for Copenhagen Outcome, by Matthew Stilwell & Lim Li Lin.
Also note: The real action took place a few days after the briefing, during a tense procession in which these same countries, among a total of 37, lent their names to formal call — expressed as a proposed amendment to the Kyoto Protocol — for the industrialized countries to reduce their combined emissions by over 40% by 2020.
To fix the climate, get serious about solving poverty
Recently, EcoEquity’s Tom Athanasiou was invited to write this Point of View for Orion. To write, that is, 600 words on global climate justice. It wasn’t easy.