In November of 2006, Dr. Paul Baer, EcoEquity’s Research Director, working together with Dr Michael Mastrandrea, published High Stakes: Designing emissions pathways to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change. This seminal report, which was published by the UK’s Institute for Public Policy Research, established the risk-analysis methodology that the Greenhouse Development Rights team subsequently adopted in order to define its reference “emergency pathway.”
“High Stakes” has already gotten a bit of high level attention, and it’s a key contribution to the intensifying debate over precaution and long-term objectives. This is because it shows, by way of fairly robust but transparent risk calculations, that even if we could orchestrate an extremely steep and nearly immediate decline in global emissions, we would still face a risk on the order of 10-20% or more of exceeding the 2ºC threshold, the most broadly endorsed “precautionary” target.
The relevance of this work should probably be pointed out — the GDRs approach begins with an explicit calculation of the “mitigation shortfall” that has to be filled by any viable global climate regime. That shortfall can only be calculate with respect to a true “soft landing” emissions pathway. Which is where “High Stakes” comes in