Climate Inequality in the Commonwealth

The new Christian Aid fair shares report — Climate Inequality in the Commonwealth: A call for urgent action (which we provided the analytic support for) is a step forward for at least two reasons.   First, it very practically provides a fair-shares analysis at a sub-global level, within the 53 member Commonwealth of Nations.  Second it calls for the wealthy Commonwealth nations to support the poorer members by very specifically aiding them in eliminating energy poverty. In fact, it expresses that support not in cash terms but in terms of in terawatt hours of renewable electricity generating capacity.  The renewables side of the analysis is based on the latest work of the International Renewable Energy Agency

As Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s international climate lead, put the matter: “The majority of poorer countries are the first and worst hit by climate change, but they’re contributing the least to carbon emissions.”  He welcomed moves by two of its richest members – the UK and Canada – to end coal power production, but insisted that wealthy countries must do more if they were to act in proportion to their fair shares.

“The Commonwealth prides itself as collectively providing solidarity – it must actually show that it is delivering that solidarity to communities on the frontline and the energy poor.”

The report assessed national fair shares to mitigate and provide support in terms of a moderately progressive equity benchmark.  In terms of this benchmark, rich nations like the UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore were in mitigation deficit whilst poorer countries like Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia were in credit.  Small island states vulnerable to sea level rise like Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tuvalu were also more than doing their fair share, the report found.

Here are the report’s key readouts: