Ecological Debt – a starting point for Climate Justice What is Ecological Debt Two general perspectives or definitions – Global Ecological Debt – defined in terms of global consumption vs global biocapacity Ecological Debt from the vantage point of the South – defined in terms of political economy, right to development, and peoples’ ecological/environmental rights Global Ecological Debt Humanity’s global ecological footprint (its demand on cropland, pasture, forests and fisheries) vis-à-vis global biocapacity (the ability to generate resources and absorb wastes). Ecological overshoot -- Using more than the planet can regenerate in a year. Ecological Debt Day – the day humanity goes into global overshoot for a given year and begins incurring global ecological debt. Global ecological debt - accumulating since humanity first went into overshoot in the 1980s. Ecological Debt from the South Perspective Based on the principle of peoples right to sustainable development and the sovereign control over their resources, the concept of the “commons,” and the notion of fair share of ecological space Ecological debt of the “north” to the “south” – north and south as political economy concepts rather than geographical Looks further back in history than 1980’s – ecological debt started accumulating in the colonial era and continues up to the present South Perspectives on Ecological Debt p2 Ecological Debt broadly refers to: Historical and continuing plunder, exploitation and destruction of the ecological resources of the peoples & countries of the South by northern countries, TNCs, elites Responsibility for policies and economic activities imposed by the North on the South that are environmentally and ecologically harmful undermine the ability of the South for sustainable development, environmental and ecological protection Northern countries’ use of more than their fair share of ecological space & resources, & their abuse of the “commons” South Perspectives on Ecological Debt p3 EXAMPLES - Extraction of the Souths’ natural resources by the North: such as petroleum, minerals, marine, forest and genetic resources The use and degradation of the best lands, of water and air, and of human energy in the South for crops to be consumed in the north through unequal and harmful terms of trade The appropriation & use of ancestral knowledge related to seeds, medicinal plants & others Northern corporations depositing harmful chemical and nuclear substances and toxic residuals in South countries The contamination of the atmosphere by the industrialized the countries through their much larger share of carbon emission Climate Debt Culled from TWN Primer and as advanced by a growing number of Heads of State, Ministers, government officials, non-governmental organizations and social movements representing indigenous peoples, development, gender, organized labor, environmental and social justice groups in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America; Definition as used in the Bolivian submission The concept of climate debt For their disproportionate contribution to the causes of climate change and its adverse effects, developed countries owe a two-fold climate debt. 1. For over-using and substantially diminishing the Earth’s capacity to absorb greenhouse gases –have run up an “emissions debt” to developing countries denying it to the developing countries that most need it in the course of their development – the developed countries. The concept of climate debt 2. For the adverse effects of these excessive emissions – contributing to the escalating losses, damages and lost development opportunities facing developing countries – the developed countries have run up an “adaptation debt” to developing countries. The sum of these debts – emissions debt and adaptation debt – constitutes the “climate debt” of developed countries. Emissions debt The extent of developed countries’ emission debt reflects their excessive past, present and proposed future use of shared environmental space. With less than 20% of the population, developed countries have produced more than 70% of historical emissions since 1850 (Figure 1), far more than their fair share basd on equal per-person emissions (Figure 2). Emissions debt-2 Figure 1: Actual historical emissions Figure 2: Equal individual shares Emissions debt - 3 After diminishing the Earth’s environmental space – denying it to poor countries and communities – the same rich countries now propose consuming a disproportionate share of the remaining space through until 2050 (Figure 3) when compared to an equal per-capita share (Figure 4).* *This analysis focuses on emissions from fossil fuel use and assumes Annex I countries reduce by around 30% by 2020 (as proposed by the EU) and 85% by 2050, and that global emissions reduce by around 80% by 2050 (which still involves significant risk of exceeding 2C and associated harm and costs). Emissions debt - 4 Figure 3: Proposed future emissions (by EU) Figure 4: Equal individual shares (future) Emissions debt - 5 Developed countries representing a minority of people have appropriated the major part of a shared global resource for their own use – a resource that belongs to all and should be fairly shared with the majority of people. By basing their future “assigned amounts” of emissions on their past excessive levels, they are effectively proposing to write-off the full amount of their historical emissions debt (figures 1 and 2), and to simultaneously appropriate trillions of dollars of remaining atmospheric space which should rightfully be allocated to the South (figures 3 and 4). Emissions debt- 6 Their proposals, if adopted, would lock developing countries into low and rapidly decreasing percapita shares, denying them the environmental space needed to build the houses, schools, roads and infrastructure that developed world already has. Their proposals would deepen the debt of developed countries rather than honoring it, leveraging past injustices into a future climate regime, and proposing a system in which the “polluter profits” and the “poor pays” for the excessive historical and current consumption of the rich countries. Adaptation debt As well as freeing up environmental space, developed countries must accept responsibility for the adverse effects of their historical and continuing high per-person emissions on poor communities and countries. Among the hardest hit are: – Farmers and farming communities. In some countries rain-fed agriculture is expected to drop by up to 50% by 2020, leaving millions of people without food. – Indigenous and local communities. Indigenous peoples and local communities are harmed by changing ecosystems and threats to traditional livelihoods. Adaptation debt-2 – Women. 70% of the world’s poor are women. Women provide half of the world’s food. They are hardest hit by climate change and must be at the center of any solution. – Poor communities. At particular risk are people concentrated in high-risk areas, such as coastal and river flood plains, or areas prone to extreme weather events. Adaptation debt-3 – People relying on scarce water resources. Between 75 and 250 million of people are likely to face increased water stress by 2020 due to climate change. – Communities susceptible to health impacts. The health of millions of people will likely be affected through increased malnutrition, increased disease burden and death and injury due to extreme weather events. Adaptation debt These impacts are caused by the historical emissions that have led to current levels of warming, and that will lead to considerable future “committed” warming as the Earth’s oceans and other systems warm. The very existence of some communities is threatened while others face serious impediments to their efforts to lift billions of people out of poverty and to promote development. There is no way to predict the full extent of future adverse impacts and costs – emission pathways are uncertain and the climate system is too complex. However, any just approach to climate change must ensure that those who have benefited in the course of causing climate change compensate the victims of climate change. They should cover the full costs of avoiding adverse impacts and provide compensation for those harms that cannot be avoided. This constitutes the adaptation debt of the rich industrialized world to poor countries, communities and people. Climate debt as a component of ecological debt Climate debt is a component of the larger ecological debt, reflecting the excessive pollution and over-use by the wealthy of the goods and services provided by nature The United States’ ecological footprint per person (measured as the productive land and sea required to provide resources and to absorb wastes) is more than four times the globally sustainable level, more than four times China’s and more than nine times India’s. Ecological Debt and climate debt– relevant to the UNFCCC concept of “common but differentiated responsibilities” Ecological debt and climate debt as basis for “differentiated responsibilities” Climate Finance – partly reparations for Ecological Debt and climate debt – a responsibility and obligation on the part of northern countries Reparations for Climate Debt The wealthy industrialized world must take responsibility for repaying the full measure of their climate debt. Doing so is not merely right; it also provides the basis of an effective climate solution. At the minimum: – Northern countries repay the full measure of their adaptation debt to South countries and communities who did little to cause climate change and are its first victims. They must provide financing and technology to ensure full compensation for losses suffered, and the means to avoid or minimize future impacts where possible. They should commit to provide for full reparations for their adaptation debt to developing countries, commencing immediately. Repaying Climate Debt - 3 Developed countries must provide the financing and technology required by developing countries to live under the twin constraints of a more hostile climate and restricted atmospheric space. They must honor their obligation to provide the full incremental costs of emission reductions undertaken in developing countries, so that these countries can play their part in curbing climate change, while still meeting the needs and aspirations of their people. Debt and Climate Illegitimate Debt Debt Cancellation and Debt Repudiation ILLEGITIMATE DEBT -- Now a major focus of many debt campaigns all over the world, North and South Issues, implications and consequences of the debt burden beyond simply the impacts of debt service. Basic Definition Illegitimate Debts are those which cannot be rightfully claimed as debts of the peoples of the South. Involve the gross violation of of basic assumptions of debt contracts, as well as widely accepted ethical, social, political, economic, environmental values, standards and principles. Cause harm to the well being of the people and communities in whose name the debts were incurred and who are the ones paying for these debts. Relevance to Climate Change and Struggle for Climate Justice Loan – financing of projects which directly exacerbate climate change are illegitimate fossil fuel extraction, production and distribution big infrastructure projects that involve deforestation and cause other environmental damage others Relevance to Climate Change & Climate Justice Loans with conditionalities that lead to worsening of climate change – are illegitimate deregulation and liberalization of industries, including extractive industries promotion of export industries leading to changes in agriculture: land use policy, crop conversion increase in food imports, increase in production of biofuels, etc others Relevance to Climate Change & Climate Justice Illegitimacy of Debt includes Impact of huge debt service on the capacity of countries, communities and people to deal with the effects of climate change Debt financing supports a paradigm and a system that is high-growth, high consumption, highly-wasteful, profit-driven and predatory, poverty-creating, destructive, unsustainable and reliant on fossil fuel Convergence of the Struggles against Illegitimate Debt and Climate Change Integrating the climate question in the definition of what is unacceptable and illegitimate Using the campaign against illegitimate debt to raise understanding about climate change and promoting calls for climate justice Estimates of CLIMATE FINANCE Requirements FOR MITIGATION - emission reductions and shift to low carbon Stern Review estimates that stabilization at 500 CO2-equivalent would cost about 2% of Gross World Product (currently $1.2 trillion) annually. Costs should be higher as the latest science says the necessary stabilization level more demanding (350 ppm in CO2 terms) FOR ADAPTATION -- dealing with the impacts (already in place, as well as projected) Cost projections vary - from US$50 billion to US$180 billion a year The total costs of both mitigation and adaptation is in the trillions of dollars WHAT ARE THE FUNDING MECHANISMS IN PLACE? INTERNATIONAL MECHANISMS Mechanisms under the UNFCCC Mechanisms under the IFIs – World Bank and ADB and others Private Proposal for a New Global Climate Fund Key Features of the proposed New Global Climate Fund Representative Governance Democratic, transparent, and accountable to all, especially to the communities most affected by global warming Strong, direct equitable representation of South countries in decision-making and technical bodies Strong representation of civil society groups, social movements and indigenous peoples, from South and North countries in all governance structures Key Features of a New Global Climate Fund p2 Participatory Planning Assist countries with financial and technical support to carry out national climate action plans formulated through a sovereign and democratic process; This includes the full participation of peoples most affected by climate chane Plans include actions and policies that will enable people and communities to deal with the impacts of global warming and ensure the shift to low-carbon economies (addressing the energy, transportation, and agricultural sectors among others) Key Features of a New Global Climate Fund p3 Substantial, obligatory & automatic funding based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” New Global Climate Fund needs to be large enough to provide for separate financing windows for mitigation, adaptation, and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation. Core financing of this Global Fund must be obligatory and automatic rather than voluntary It should be based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” consistent with countries’ historical & current contributions to global warming and their capacity to pay Key Features of a New Global Climate Fund p4 Resources for Capacity Building of Developing Countries For development, application, transfer & dispersal of sustainable and equitable technologies, practices and processes according to developed country obligations For building local capacity and expertise, and to developing appropriate technologies and peoplecentered strategies for coping with a shifting climate. Financing should exclude sources that degrade the environment, threaten human health, and cause massive community dislocation like nuclear energy, agro-fuels &large hydropower projects Key Features of a New Global Climate Fund p6 Access for the Most Vulnerable Financing for governments, but also for people’s organizations, NGOs & community-based groups Financing for activities on indigenous lands (ex. forest protection & restoration) should go directly to indigenous peoples’ organizations Equitable decision making power for women, over how funds are accessed, used and evaluated Clear, transparent and simple process for accessing resources to encourage the most vulnerable communities to avail of support Key Features of a New Global Climate Fund p7 Strengthens Rights Activities and policies must be consistent with and underscore the UN Universal Declaration of Human, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other similar global agreements Must uphold the right to sustainable development with full cost support for non-fossil fuel based, truly renewable energy The fund should strengthen peoples’ right to food and energy sovereignty, and gender justice. Ideas for Financing for New Global Climate Fund o Taxes on bunker fuels, aviation, fossil fuel exports and other sources of greenhouse-gas emissions; o Levies on Gross National Product and historical responsibility; o Carbon debits on investments for their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions o Auctions of national and international greenhouse gas emissions permits o Currency transaction taxes (CTT); and bonds. This call for a new Global Climate Fund builds on the proposal of G77 and China for a new climate financing regime. It supports the demand that no funds outside the UNFCCC process, (ex: those of the World Bank) be counted toward binding commitments. This proposal goes further by elaborating just and fair principles that must be at the core of any climate funds.