Oxfam — Hang Together or Separately

Oxfam has long been a supporter of the Greenhouse Development Rights project, but this is something new!  Hang Together or Separately is a major report from Oxfam International in which the Responsibility and Capacity Index is leveraged in a new and creative manner.   (And see this 30 minute video of the press conference at the Bonn talks in June, where the report was released.)

The focus of the proposal here is a Global Mitigation and Finance Mechanism designed to operationalize a “double duty” in which the rich countries, on the one hand, reduce their combined emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and, on the other, provide $150 billion per year — “at the very least” — to incentivize large-scale emissions reductions in developing countries and finance adaptation.

Oxfam’s key recommendations:

  • Copenhagen must deliver a fair and adequate climate deal: one that keeps global warming as far below 2°C as possible, and that reflects the historical responsibility for emissions and the economic capability of developed countries
  • Rich countries must agree binding individual country targets that cut greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • A UN Fund should be established by raising $150bn per year as an absolute minimum from the sale, auction or levy of rich country emissions allowances (AAUs). $100bn of this would fund low-carbon development in poor countries and $50bn would fund adaptation measures in poor countries
  • Additional funds would be raised from fines if rich countries fail to meet their targets; and from the purchase of “premium reductions” which would replace the Clean Development Mechanism and ensure that poor countries rather than rich countries take advantage of the cheapest low-carbon options first

Aside from the particular virtues of this proposal (or, if you prefer, the particular problems (many people believe that, with the Annex 1 countries still refusing to take on anything like their proper obligations, it’s not the time to talk of capacity at all)  it nicely illustrates the virtues of the RCI approach.   There are many ways to embed the convention principles into a global framework proposal, and this is one of the most carefully elaborated yet.  It’s well worth a close read, and a big think.

Update: Oxfam’s Richard King recently discussed this proposal with Phil England on the 300-350 radio show.