A new piece by Alex Morales on bloomberg.com features the rather unambiguous title of Climate Fix That’s Fair Assigns U.S. Three Times Chinese Effort. It begins with these paras:
“A fair climate fix would assign the U.S. almost three times the effort of cutting carbon dioxide output as China, which in 2006 became the biggest emitter, research by the Stockholm Environment Institute suggests.
The U.S., the biggest historical emitter, would have responsibility for 29.1 percent of the greenhouse gas cuts needed in 2020 to keep the planet on a pathway that avoids the worst effects of global warming, according to the institute’s calculations. That compares with 10.4 percent for China, 22.9 percent for the European Union and 1.2 percent for India.
The research aims to quantify how the principle of equity can guide emissions targets being devised at United Nations climate talks among more than 190 nations that aim to write by 2015 a new treaty to take hold from 2020. Two weeks of discussions began today in Bonn, Germany. Debate about fairness has frequently stalled the discussions as nations wrangle over who bears the greatest responsibility for tackling climate change.”
The piece is worth reading, for it’s a glimpse into the next round of the climate talks, which seems like they may finally face reality. Ethical reality as well as scientific reality.
The piece extensively quotes the Stockholm Environment Institute’s Sivan Kartha, and features numbers from the Greenhouse Development Rights framework. The real news, though, is that the “fair shares” discussion is no longer confined to a few activist networks and research institutes. There are rumblings of a larger effort, perhaps even a semi-official one.
What’s not clear in this piece is that we can easily afford to save our civilization. This has always been the case, though the politics are rather challenging, and people have balked at drawing conclusions.
The difference now is that everyone can now see the elephant in the room.