Download Distributive Politics and Global Climate Change

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts
no text concepts found
Distributive Politics
and Global Climate Change
October 2007
Why Climate Change is so Difficult
• Not only are there asymmetric distributional consequences
associated with climate change mitigation . . .
• There is no single criterion for success (as there is in the
eradication of a disease). The good may be provided to
varying extents, which may entail further distributional
• Any substantial effort at global climate change mitigation will
require cooperation by countries with heterogeneous
interests (i.e., the global North and South).
The Kyoto Process, Post-2012
• Since 1997, the annual conferences of parties have focused
on further developing the treaty’s flexibility mechanisms, and
(until 2005) on securing sufficient participation for the treaty
to enter into legal force.
• Broader issues of sustainable development and the concerns
of the global South have been overshadowed by these more
immediate concerns.
• Moving forward, the climate regime must address meaningful
participation, by developing parties and by the U.S.
The Kyoto Process, Post-2012
• Kyoto’s carbon trading system may yield benefits for the
global South, but fundamental distributional conflicts remain.
• For emission rights to have value, they must be allocated and
restricted in some way.
• This issue, rather than carbon trading itself, poses the
greatest obstacle to North-South agreement.
Emission rights & fairness claims
• Any trading system requires a prior allocation of emission
• Various parties have advanced four alternative models for
such an allocation, in the interest of fairness.
• Agreement on any single model is unlikely, since there is a
clear link between parties’ fairness claims and their economic
Model 1: The Kyoto Approach
• Kyoto is based on a “grandfathering” approach in which
emission reductions are calculated from a baseline (1990).
• There is no claim that 1990 emissions were “fair.”
• Developing countries have no scheduled commitments during
the 2008-2012 compliance period.
• Developing countries may receive assistance through the
operation of Kyoto’s flexibility mechanisms.
Model 1: The Kyoto Approach
• Some worries remain:
• Can a “grandfathering” approach be fair to developing
• Will flexibility mechanisms allow developed countries to take
credit for emission reductions in the South with the lowest
marginal cost, forcing developing states to take more
expensive measures later?
Implications of the Kyoto Model:
(Global CO2 Emissions – 2000)
Model 2: Carbon Intensity
• Measures emissions in relation to economic output (GDP).
• Developed by World Resources Institute (WRI).
• Favored by current U.S. President George W. Bush.
• Goal is to have strong economic growth with as few carbon
dioxide emissions as possible.
Model 2: Carbon Intensity
• Combines focus on economic growth
with a focus on minimizing climate
• Does not address existing emission
• May secure U.S. participation in the
• Early action by developing countries
may engender greater trust among
developing countries.
• Does not address inequalities in
• No firm limits on emissions –
countries can “grow out of”
mitigation obligations.
• Does not address “exported
emissions.” – i.e., emissions
reductions achieved by “offshoring”
carbon-intensive production.
Model 2: Carbon Intensity
Model 3: Per Capita Emissions
• The G-77 countries have developed a model in which
emission rights are allocated by the simple rule that all
humans have an equal right to the Earth’s atmosphere.
• The model is also known as the “contract and converge”
• Can be used with an emission trading system to promote
Model 3: Per Capita Emissions
• Egalitarian
• Likely to place severe and immediate
obligations on richer countries.
• Likely to facilitate agreement and
participation by developing
• Can be pegged directly to
scientifically-relevant CO2 levels (in
contrast to “grandfathering” and
carbon intensity models)
• Has been a political non-starter when
raised as a possibility at previous
climate negotiations.
Model 3: Per Capita Emissions
Model 4: Historical Responsibility
• Mitigation commitments should be tied to countries’ overall
contribution to climate change – not just current contribution.
• Like the per capita model (contraction and convergence),
historical responsibility enjoys the support of the G-77.
• The emissions gap between North and South is closing much
more slowly when calculated using a historical perspective
(e.g., “summed emissions” since 1950).
Model 4: Historical Responsibility
• Egalitarian
• Has been a political non-starter when
raised as a possibility at previous
climate negotiations.
• Likely to facilitate agreement and
participation by developing
• Follows the rhetorically powerful
principle of “polluter pays.”
• Likely to result in particularly strong
obligations for early industrializers.
• Early industrializers were unaware of
their influence on global climate
Model 4: Historical Responsibility