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.

Fairness in global climate finance

This fine and important report, by Andrew Pendleton and Simon Retallack of the British Institute for Public Policy Research, was funded by the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Germany. It is unusually useful, particularly in its concise and focused approach to the key question of … well … fairness in global climate finance. It comes highly recommended, and not just because it speaks so very well of the GDRs approach. Rather, it goes beyond the basic GDRs analysis to explore a number of possible approaches to using the Responsibility and Capacity index. In practice!

Public Secrets

In this brief but pointed essay in Earth Island Journal, EcoEquity’s Tom Athanasiou reviews some of the widely known, but rarely acknowledged, public secrets of the climate crisis. Like, for example, that the climate crisis is essentially a crisis of development and justice.

The Growth Rate of CO2 Emissions has Tripled

Just in case you were starting to relax (or sink back exhausted into your chair) heres a little wake up call, from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US). Seems that the recent rate of increase of CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning and industrial processes has been accelerating their global growth rate recently increasing from 1.1 to 3.0 percent a year. Why Because some the worlds poor (think China) are getting richer, but that we havent managed to break the link between economic growth and emissions. As the PNAS editors say, the results have implications for global equity.