Though you may not have noticed it, the equity issue is moving in the international climate negotiations. In particular, the Climate Action Network — the largest of the international civil-society network working the climate talks — has floated a discussion paper on “equity reference frameworks.” For more on the context within which this discussion paper emerged, see here.
Here’s the beginning of the paper. Or click here for a PDF of the whole thing.
“Equity is back on the negotiating table, and this really is no surprise. The negotiations were never going to succeed unless they faced the challenge of “equitable access to sustainable development.” Unless they faced, more precisely, the equity challenge: holding to a 2°C or even 1.5°C-compliant global emission budget while also supporting a common right to adaptation and sustainable development. These are preconditions of any successful climate transition. The difference today is that we all know it.
Today, as the negotiations begin again in earnest, the core challenge is to move the equity agenda forward, in a manner that allows us to simultaneously 1) increase short-term ambition and 2) pioneer a track to collective post-2020 emissions reductions that are in line with the precautionary principle. This won’t be easy, but it may be possible. Three conditions will need to be met.
- First, the Parties must work together, in good faith, to find a way forward on equity. It will not do for each to assert the uniqueness of its own “national circumstances.” There must be a global way forward.
- Second, pre-2020 ambition must be increased. Developed country targets must be strengthened to be in line with the demands of the science, and significant amounts of financial and technological support must arrive before Paris.
- Third, there must be a path forward for “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” and it must lead to a dynamic, “equity spectrum” approach to CBDRC that is responsive to global economic evolution.
An immediate clarification is in order here. The need for a dynamic approach to CBDRC does not mean that the existing Annexes should be dissolved, but it does mean that they’re not the way forward, and that one must be found. The key point, inevitably, is that the Annexes do not fully specify national “fair shares” toward an ambitious global effort. Parties need more explicit and quantitative guidance, based on the Convention’s equity principles, regarding a fair allocation of both mitigation action as well as the provision of financial and technological support. The regime that goes into effect in 2020 must focus pressure on those countries that are not contributing their fair share toward the global effort, and it must promise to do so as well in 2030 and beyond, even as the structure of the global economy changes. If it does not do so, it will not be effective.”