Climate Change Economists on Climate Change Have tended to champion using a cost-benefit analysis to determine what to do. Have tended to champion discounting to account for future people and future scenarios. Have tended to stress scientific uncertainty. Have tended to stress an “adaptive” strategy. Climate Change and Justice Distributive Justice: What is a fair or equitable distribution of the burdens and benefits of climate change? Procedural Justice: How should responsibilities about what to do be defined and delegated? Participatory Justice: Who gets to delegate the responsibilities and decide what to do and how it should be done? Recognition Justice: What kinds of power from different nationstates and other political actors should be recognized? Ruchi Anand on Northern Hegemony “The industrialized countries of the North being more powerful in many ways—i.e. politically, diplomatically, economically, militarily, in terms of scientific research etc.—they are more able [or capable] to tackle the problem of climate change. ‘Capability’ also implies that if the industrialized countries of the North were to decide that the problem of climate change was immediate, urgent, serious and worth addressing without compromises, no other country of the South, individually or as a coalition, could block their actions, whereas the reverse scenario does not hold true. If countries of the South wanted to move on with the climate change agreement, while the North rejected, was not certain of, or not yet decided on climate change as an issue worth pursing, the South would be unable to do much without the approval and support of the industrialized North.” International Environmental Justice: A North-South Dimension (p. 41) Ruchi Anand on Northern (U.S.) Hegemony “Just as the industrialized countries of the North wield the power to stay in the climate change negotiations and dictate terms, they also wield the power of non-cooperation, thereby having the ability to bring the efforts of all others in the international community to a complete halt. The United States’ rejection of the Kyoto Protocol and its decision to walk out of the regime has undermined the worth of the Kyoto Protocol. Efforts to curb climate change have lost support from the most powerful country in the world today, and have also lost the participation of the main polluter (generator of greenhouse gases) from the Convention. … A reverse hypothetical scenario would be a developing country staging a walkout from the Convention without the North approving of it doing so. The industrialized North would have many ways to arm-twist and use conditionality to bring the violator country back to its knees, and would not make as much difference, in any case.” International Environmental Justice: A North-South Dimension (p. 57) Vulnerability Who is most likely to get hit the hardest—suffer the greatest costs—by climate change? Global South Lower income communities and the poorer sectors of societies (poor pays, not polluter pays) Non-dominant groups of people in countries with strong ethnic, religious, and other divides. Women and children Six Possibilities for Burden-Sharing 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Polluter Pays. Equal Entitlements: Everyone is entitled to an equal share of the atmospheric commons. Performance: Countries who use energy more efficiently should be rewarded with more benefits. Focus on the Poor: Improve the situation of the poorest countries of the South, with the long-range intention of mitigating unequal distributions of wealth. Securing Basic Needs: Countries emitting more than what is deemed “reasonable” to support a consistent, modest standard of living should accept far higher mitigation costs than countries facing more poverty. Solvency: Costs should be distributed among states according to their ability to pay and their contribution to the problem of climate change. This is probably closest to the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto Protocol Negotiated at the 1997 third Conference of the Parties (COP) following negotiations formally started at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Regulates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Annex I countries were to reduce their GHG emissions to 5.2% below their 1990 levels by the years 2008-2012. http://unfccc.int/parties_and_observers/parties/annex_i/items/2774.php In order to go into effect, at least 55 countries that collectively emitted at least 55% of the total GHG emissions in 1990 had to ratify the Protocol. Protocol went into effect on February 16, 2005. More Kyoto Protocol As of December, 2006, 169 countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The two notable Annex I countries that have not ratified the Protocol are Australia and the United States. China, India, and other developing countries are exempt from mandatory GHG emissions restrictions. Annex I countries are obligated to provide financial and technological assistance to developing countries. Following COP 6 (2001), a system of emissions credits and emission rights trading among countries was added to the Protocol. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.html United States Opposition to Kyoto When the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997, it incorporated two strategies recommended by President Clinton and Vice-President Gore to meet U.S. needs and demands: (1) an emission trading scheme, and (2) a clean development mechanism. On July 25, 1997 before the Kyoto Protocol was finalized, the U.S. Senate passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, by a vote of 95-0: http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoSenate.html On June 11, 2001, President George W. Bush said: “The Kyoto Protocol was fatally flawed in fundamental ways.” One consistent U.S. criticism of the Protocol has been that the Protocol holds developing countries like China and India to only voluntary compliance standards. President Bush has stated that the best U.S. strategy for combating climate change is to hold U.S. companies to voluntary compliance standards. Some Criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows developed countries to invest in developing countries to gain GHG emissions credits. This might allow developed countries to continue to emit GHGs while paying developing countries not to. (carbon colonization?) Emissions trading allows a country like Spain to buy credits from another country like Russia, thus enabling Spain to continue to emit high levels of GHGs. (license to pollute?) Joint Implementation (JI) allows an industrialized country or company from an industrialized country to invest emission-reducing or CO2 mitigating activities in other developed countries to gain climate credits or reduction units. But JI is not clearly defined, and it might allow for investments in developing countries, thus allowing developed countries to continue to emit high levels of GHGs. With great changes in the economies of countries such as Russia between 1990 to today, the developed vs. developing country distinction might be problematic. Key countries such as China and India have no mandated GHG emissions restrictions. Some More Criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Enforcement mechanisms for non-compliance are not clear. The Protocol only covers carbon dioxide emissions. The 1990 baseline might not be the best baseline or might be an arbitrary baseline. The GHG emissions limits (5.6%) might be too high or too low. There might be disproportionate economic impacts on different countries. The Protocol might have little practical effect in mitigating climate change. But Kyoto Protocol defenders argue that something is better than nothing to legally mitigate climate change, and an imperfect agreement is better than a perfect agreement that doesn’t exist. and Future changes can be made to strengthen the Protocol. “A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics and the Problem of Moral Corruption” Stephen M. Gardiner: “The peculiar features of the climate change problem pose a substantial obstacle to our ability to make the hard choices necessary to address it. Climate change is a perfect moral storm” First Spatial Perspective of the Moral Storm Dispersion of causes and effects of climate change makes it hard to pinpoint moral geographical locations. Second Spatial Perspective of the Moral Storm Fragmentation of human agency makes it difficult to respond to climate change. From an individual’s perspective, it is rational not to restrict one’s own pollution, while from a collective perspective it is rational to restrict pollution = Tragedy of the commons. Third Spatial Perspective of the Moral Storm Institutional inadequacy hampers efforts to respond to climate change, in that: 1. There is no effective global governance system. 2. Some nations might wonder if they will be better or worse off because of climate change. 3. Effectively mitigating climate change might require deep and profound changes in economic and political structures. First Temporal Perspective of the Moral Storm Dispersion of causes and effects over time might undermotivate people to mitigate climate change because of: 1. The resiliency of the climate change phenomenon. 2. The fact that climate change impacts are seriously back-loaded. 3. Climate change is a substantially deferred phenomenon. Second Temporal Perspective of the Moral Storm Fragmentation of human agency across time makes it difficult to respond to climate change. From an individual generation’s perspective, it is rational not to restrict current pollution, while from a collective intergenerational perspective it is rational to restrict pollution = Intergenerational tragedy of the commons. Third Temporal Perspective of the Moral Storm This intergenerational tragedy of the commons has multiplier effects, namely: 1. Inaction now raises transition costs that might make future change harder. 2. Insufficient action now might make some generations suffer unnecessarily (e.g., CC harms future generations A, B, and C, but current inaction leads to harming future generations D and E as well). 3. Insufficient action now might result in tragic choices for future generations. Theoretical Storm Our best theories face severe difficulties addressing issues such as scientific problems of uncertainty, ethical problems of collective agency, justice problems of how to think about intergenerational equity, and ethical problems of how to think about the values of nonhuman nature. Moral Corruption Humans are often: Distracted Complacent Unreasonable Self-deceptive Manipulative Selectively attentive Delusional Hypocritical Because of these human characteristics, and because climate change involves a complex convergence of problems, we will often fall prey to moral corruption. The Perfect Moral Storm of Climate Change Climate Change Exercise USA EU (European Union) China India Africa AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) Latin America Eastern Europe Considerations 1. Binding emissions targets 2. Should they exist? If so, in what form? If not, why not? Economic development 3. How would a CC response affect your ED? How much of an effect is acceptable? Ethical responsibility/Procedural justice 4. Who is responsible for responding to CC? How should responsibility be allocated? Emissions trading 5. Should it exist? If so, in what form? If not, why not? Technology transfer/Financial assistance 6. Should it exist? If so, in what form? If not, why not? National security How would a CC response affect your NS? How much of an effect is acceptable? Discussion You are President of the World (El Queso Grande) How would you orchestrate a global response to climate change? Who should do what and why?