- The greenhouse development rights framework for global burden sharing: reflection on principles and prospects
Here, Paul Baer, one of the core members of the GDRs authors group reflects on the principles and prospects for the framework, and does so in the manner of the modern academy. Here’s the abstract:“The Greenhouse Development Rights (GDRs) Framework is a proposal for a global climate agreement in which the obligations assigned to nations are based on a combination of responsibility (contribution to the problem) and capacity (ability to pay). A key feature of the GDRs framework is that it is modeled on the assignment of a ‘right to development’ to individuals, such that individuals with incomes below a ‘development threshold’ are nominally exempted from obligations to pay for mitigation and adaptation. Obligations for those ‘over the threshold’ are calculated in the same way for rich persons in poor countries and rich persons in rich countries. As income distribution within countries is taken into account and all countries have some wealthy people, all countries have a positive obligation to contribute to global mitigation and adaptation requirements, eliminating the sharp distinction between Annex I and non-Annex I countries. In the last few years, GDRs has become one of the most widely known of the many so-called burden-sharing frameworks that have been proposed. In this essay, one of the co-authors of the GDRs framework presents the framework’s fundamental principles, describes its place in the larger discussion of burden-sharing and climate justice, and reflects on its prospects in the next phase of the global climate negotiations. Hopefully it will be helpful both to readers new to GDRs and to our existing supporters and critics.”
- The North-South divide, equity and development
The What Next Forum in Sweden has just published a nice, up-to-date overview of Greenhouse Development Rights. Many thanks to Niclas Hällström for pushing us to put it together. Weighing in at about ten thousand words, The North-South divide, equity and development – The need for trust-building for emergency mobilization is now the best single introduction and overview of GDRs around, and we’re very glad to have it.
We’re particularly glad because this essay contains an extended discussion of how GDRs – as an “equity reference framework” – could help us navigate a trust- and momentum-building transition to the high-ambition mobilization that we so desperately need.
By the way, this new GDRs overview is part of a book-length collection of rare relevance called What Next Volume III: Climate, Development and Equity. Take a good look at the Table of Contents page. There’s lots of excellent stuff here.
- CAN effort-sharing discussion paper
The fair-shares discussion has long percolated though the climate movement. The drafting of an official Climate Action Network discussion paper on effort-sharing frameworks is nevertheless a bit of milestone.
This paper was written cooperatively by people from a variety of CAN member groups — including people from Greenpeace, Oxfam, and Christian Aid, as well as CAN staff and members of the Greenhouse Development Rights team. A much larger group is following its development. It contains a nice concise introduction, but let us add that it’s particularly notable for its principles-first approach, with which it does a pretty good job.
Note especially that only a few of the frameworks that are analyzed herein — GDRs is among them — seem capable of actually supporting both the right to sustainable development (R2SD) and a high-ambition transition. Which, when you come right down to it, the bottom line in all this.
- SEI report on Annex 1 vs. non-Annex 1 pledges
Someday, it will be easier to make judgments about which nations are doing their share to face up to the demands of the climate crisis, and which are free riding. Before that fine day dawns, though, two things will have to happen. First, the national pledges of action that countries – northern and southern, large and small – have committed to deliver to the UN Secretariat, the pledges in which they lay out their emission-reduction action plans, have to get a whole lot easier to read and compare and interpret. Conditionalities have to be spelled out, and loopholes have to closed. Second, we have to reach at least a rough international consensus on what different countries, at different levels of development, should do, in the light of historically-informed and principle-based comparisons that take, say, wealth and responsibility into account.
In the meanwhile, we’re stuck with overly-simple approaches based on problematic metrics like, say, per-capita emissions, or rates of decrease in carbon intensity. Or we can just embrace simplicity and compare northern tons to southern tons. The surprising thing is that even such a simple-minded analysis as this produces interesting results.
- Luxembourg’s Fair Share in a Climate Constrained World
- Global Warming and distributive justice
Another short treatment of GDRs, in German. This time in Kurswechsel (Zeitschrift fur gesellschafts-, wirtschafts- und umweltpolitische Alternativen) in the context of a symposium on climate change and distributive justice. It looks good, and we wish we could read it. Alas, only one other piece is in English — Climate Change, Industrial Policies, and the way out of the crisis.
- GDRs in Climate Ethics: Essential Readings
The definitive (academic philosophical) climate ethics reader was just published by Oxford University Press, and we’re happy to say that it contains a chapter on GDRs. The book is Climate Ethics: Essential Readings, and it’s edited by Stephen Gardiner, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson and Henry Shue.
The GDRs essay is “Greenhouse Development Rights: A Framework for Climate Protection that is ‘More Fair’ than Equal per Capita Emissions Rights,” a focus that makes good sense given the state of the philosophical debate. (Peter Singer also has an essay, “One Atmosphere,” in which he defends the per-capita approach.)
Paul Baer, of the GDRs author’s group, also has a second chapter all his own, one called ‘Adaptation: Who Pays Whom?”
- The right to development in a climate constrained world
The essay version, but this time in German!
The book, edited by Martin Voss, is Der Klimawandel: Sozialwissenschaftliche Perspektiven.
- Inequality within Nations in the Global Climate Policy Debate
The last year has seen a massive uptick — under the signs of “carbon debt” and “historical responsibility” and even, in rhetorically extreme cases, “reparations” — in the amount of attention being paid to the problem of inequality between nations, in the context of the global climate policy debate.
Much less systematic attention — again in the context of the global climate policy debate (as opposed to domestic debates, where thanks to the environmental justice movement the topic is very much in play) — has been paid to the problem of inequality within nations. This article, The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework: Drawing attention to inequality within nations in the global climate policy debate, just released by Development and Change (by invitation for special issue on climate change and capitalism), thus begins to fill a very large, and very important hole.
- Going Clean – The Economics of China’s Low-carbon Development
It is difficult to overstate the importance of Going Clean, which was produced by a high-level group that included analysts from both the West and the Chinese Economists 50 Forum. Nor is it easy to overstate the role that the GDRs analysis plays in Going Green’s underlying analysis of the climate challenge.
Among its most notable points, Going Green provides a clear estimate the emissions budget that would be available to China in a world that was seriously committed to holding the 2ºC line:
“If the industrialized (Annex 1) countries were to commit to more ambitious targets of reducing their emissions to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 95 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, their future emissions would amount to 200 Gt CO2. This would leave 460 Gt CO2 for the non-Annex 1 countries. If we assume that China’s part of this remaining budget is proportional to its share of current non-Annex 1 emissions, its future budget would be 220 Gt CO2.”
Just as significantly, it shows that this is an achievable goal, though only in the context of a fair global regime. (more…)
- Europe’s Share of the Climate Challenge
A major new report, just released today by the Stockholm Environment Institute and Friends of the Earth Europe, shows that — despite an increasingly widespread sense that climate catastrophe can no longer be averted — radical action, on the necessary scale, is still a very much within the realm of possibility. (more…)
- Ethics, Place and Environment
Greenhouse Development Rights: A Proposal for a Fair Global Climate Treaty, differs in at least four ways from other academic treatments of GDRs. First, it is written almost entirely by Paul Baer, rather than by the “GDRs author’s group.” Second, it goes beyond the standard exposition of GDRs to situate it philosophically, and to speculate about its philosophical and political implications. Third, it focuses on our attempt the ground specific, and pragmatically critical quantitative choices — e.g. the value of the “development threshold” — on ethical judgments. And, forth, it is accompanied by a number of responses, which variously support it and take it to task. (more…)
- A 350 ppm Emergency Pathway
Click here to download a PDF of this paper.
The first phase of the 350 campaign has been a wild success. “350″ is now an international symbol of emergency climate stabilization. More importantly, the 350 target reflects a scientifically-grounded assessment of what global climate protection really means. But what would it actually take to bring the atmospheric carbon-dioxide (CO2) concentration back to 350 parts per million? This memo provides a quick, up-to-date overview of the issues here, which are significant to any plausible emergency emissions-reduction effort. It focuses on the extremely limited size of the global CO2 budget that would remain to us in a 350 ppm future, and on the shape of the emissions pathway that’s needed if we’re to keep within that budget. In particular, it specifies a representative emissions pathway consistent with a 350 ppm concentration target. By way of context, it then compares this 350 pathway to an emission pathway consistent with a 2°C temperature target, and to other, supposedly 2°C-compliant pathways that have significantly lower odds of actually satisfying their target. Finally, it offers a brief glimpse of the challenges that all true emergency climate-reduction targets raise in this North / South divided world.
- Switzerland’s Fair Share in a Climate Constrained World
- Principle-based burden sharing and the Copenhagen transition
Earlier this year, in preparation for a pre-Copenhagen NGO policy summit, we prepared a framing and background paper called Principle-based Annex 1 Differentiation in the Copenhagen Accord. It’s quite interesting, we think, as a guide to thought and debate, but do note that it was written with an expert audience in mind.
The conference was, we think, quite a successful one. At least it was successful for us, for at it we realized that there was a clear need, one widely perceived within the NGO community, for a new kind of GDRs study, one designed to cast as much light as possible on the effort-sharing debate as we now know it. To move forward with that study, we prepared a detailed Terms of Reference for a study which we call Principle-based burden sharing in an MRV world.
We are now moving ahead on this study, and plan to have it completed prior to the Cancun summit.
- The Bali Roadmap and North-South cooperation: the right to development in a climate-constrained world
The Bali Roadmap and North-South cooperation: the right to development in a climate-constrained world is a standout within the recent batch of academic treatments of Greenhouse Development Rights. This is not only because it introduces GDRs well and at appropriate length, but also because it does so in the context of, and in comparison to, other prominant principle-based burden sharing approaches. It was published in the “European Review of Energy Markets” (Vol. 3, Issue 2) in June 2009 and, notably, was written by not only the usual GDRs authors group (Sivan Kartha, Paul Baer and Tom Athanasiou) but also by veteran Swedish diplomat Bo Kjellén.
- GDRs in Climate and Development
Climate and Development just published this concise new overview of GDRs. The precise citation is The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework. Kartha, S., P. Baer, T. Athanasiou and E. Kemp-Benedict. 2009. Climate and Development 1(2):147-165.
- Czech translations of several GDRs documents
- Canada’s Fair Share in a Climate Constrained World
- Ireland’s role in a climate constrained world
- Finland’s role in a climate constrained world
- The Netherlands’ role in a climate constrained world
- Denmark’s role in a climate constrained world
A major step in the evolution of our country reports, A Greenhouse Development Rights analysis of Denmark’s role in a climate constrained world, in the context of the EU’s proposed 2020 targets and approach to effort-sharing, was a major success. Its publication was noted in the Dagens Nyheter (the largest Swedish daily newspaper) and led to the Swedish Green Party’s lobbying of the government to support GDRs.
And here’s a nice picture.
- Second edition of the Greenhouse Development Rights book
The second edition of the Greenhouse Development Rights book is now available.
The second edition of the Greenhouse Development Rights book is quite similar to the first, which was published in November of 2007. However, it contains a number of important changes. Many are localized matters of precision and style. But others are more significant:
- State of the World 2009
The World Watch Institute’s climate-themed State of the World Report: 2009 contains an extended discussion of Greenhouse Development Rights in its concluding chapter, Sealing the Deal to Save the Planet. Actually, the whole book is great, and deserves wide reading.
- After the Denial
“After the Denial,” by Tom Athanasiou. West / Northwest Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Combined Issue, Volume 15, Number 1, Winter 2009, pp. 23 – 36.
- GDRs — A short introduction in Tiempo
There are three main points to this nice short introduction to GDRs:
- The author argues that it is possible to preserve development priorities while curbing climate change.
- The Greenhouse Development Rights framework places responsibility with those able to bear the burden, wherever they live.
- The framework tests the willingness of the industrialized countries to step forward and offer an equitable regime.
- Greenhouse Development Rights: towards an equitable framework for global climate policy
This nice, somewhat formal overview of GDRs, framed in the context of the academic policy debate, was written by Paul Baer, Glenn Fieldman, Tom Athanasiou and Sivan Kartha, and published in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Volume 21, Issue 4 December 2008, pages 649 – 66. It can be downloaded here.
- Climate Change: The Human Rights Dimension
“Greenhouse Development Right” and “The Right to Development in a Climate Constrained World,” by Tom Athanasiou, Paul Baer, Sivan Kartha, Christian Aid. (The first is the Nairobi draft, the second is the Exec Summary as it stood a while ago). Both will be reprinted as chapters in Climate Change: The Human Rights Dimension, a book to be published (Feb 2009) by ICFAI University Press in Kolkata, India.
- Closing the Mitigation Gap
Exploring the 2020 global emissions mitigation gap, a report for the Global Climate Network at the UK’s Institute for Public Policy Research, by Paul Baer, EcoEquity Research Director. It analyses the “mitigation gap” between current US and EU proposal and the levels of mitigation that would be necessary to meet the loudly-announced goal of halving global emissions by 2050. (December 2008)
- Enhanced action on mitigation: Official submission into UN assembly text
And we even managed, while in Poland, to generate an official submission into the UN’s “assembly text,” which will, it is said, be the basis of future negotiations. It doesn’t say much – take a look, it’s only three paragraphs – but maybe it says enough to start a serious conversation.
- Bad Deal for the Planet
“Squaring the Climate Circle: A New Politics of Solidarity Can Heal a Divided Planet,” begins on page 16 of Bad Deal for the Planet: Why Carbon Offsets Aren’t Working… and How to Create a Fair Global Climate Accord, a 2008 report by International Rivers that also includes Patrick McCully’s critique of the Clean Development Mechanism: “The Great Offset Swindle: How Carbon Credits are Gutting the Kyoto Protocol, and Why they Must be Scrapped.” The two go together quite nicely.
- Poland’s role in a climate constrained world
Just before the Poznan COP, this Polish version of the GDRs analysis was published.
- Baer et al., Nov 2008 in Twenty-First Century Macroeconomics
“The Right to Development in a Climate Constrained World,” by Paul Baer, Tom Athanasiou and Sivan Kartha, in Twenty-First Century Macroeconomics: Responding to the Climate Challenge (Jonathan M. Harris and Neva R. Goodwin eds), Cheltenham, UK and Northampton MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008
The text of this report can be found in other posts, but the pdf from the Twenty-First Century Macroeconomics publication is unavailable.
- GDR analysis of German climate policy
Late in 2008, a GDRs analysis of German climate policy was also published by the Heinrich Boll Foundation. Der Greenhouse Development Rights-Ansatz auf Deutschland angewandt: “Deutschlands Vorreiter Rolle auf dem Prüfstand. Wie schützen wir das Klima im Treibhaus?” was written by Tilman Santarius of the Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, und Energie.
- A Call for Leadership: A GDRs analysis of the EU’s proposed 2020 targets
This the latest and most ambitious of our “country reports.” Published in October 2008, it contains a detailed analysis of the EU’s climate policy, as well as concrete proposals for moving forward into a principle-based climate regime that might actually work. Download Report as PDF (more…)
- Distribution of Emission Allowances
Also in October of 2008, EcoFys was commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation to do a study of the GDRs framework. It was written by Niklas Höhne und Sara Moltmann, and it is interesting reading. The study is entitled Distribution of emission allowances under Greenhouse Development Right and other effort sharing approaches.
- A Peak on the Horizon
A Peak on the Horizon, an essay by Tom Athanasiou and Sivan Kartha, explores the two paths forward from here, both of which involve emergencies, and situating GDRs in this context. Posted on www.ecoequity.org. (August 2008) (more…)
- GDRs report on Sweden
The first complete Greenhouse Development Rights country report was done for Sweden in June of 2008. The English version is called Sweden’s Leadership in a Climate Constrained World. This report was referenced by the two top Green Party candidates for the European Parliament in a newspaper article.
- Squaring the Climate Circle
Squaring the Climate Circle: A New Politics of Solidarity Can Heal a Divided Planet, by Tom Athanasiou, begins on page 16 of Bad Deal for the Planet: Why Carbon Offsets Aren’t Working… and How to Create a Fair Global Climate Accord, a new report by International Rivers that also includes Patrick McCully’s critique of the Clean Development Mechanism: The Great Offset Swindle: How Carbon Credits are Gutting the Kyoto Protocol, and Why they Must be Scrapped (Page 2 of Bad Deal for the Planet). The two essays go together quite nicely.
- The Bali Roadmap and North-South Cooperation
“The Bali Roadmap and North-South Cooperation: The Right to Development in a Climate Constrained World.” Background Paper 1 for the European Climate Platform seminar on Positive Incentives, Madrid, 17 & 18 April 2008, Sivan Kartha, Bo Kjellen, Paul Baer, and Tom Athanasiou. Published in the European Review of Energy Markets.By Christian Egenhofer, Bo Kjellen, Sivan Kartha and Vivek KumarPublished by CEPS
- Global Fairness
Global Fairness, Yes! Magazine, Spring 2008. Reprinted in AlterNet, March 26, 2008
- Towards a Defensible Climate Realism
In Towards a Defensible Climate Realism, published on www.ecoequity.org and republished in Foreign Policy in Focus site, Tom Athanasiou argues that realism – one of the most fundamental of political concepts – will be entirely redefined by the climate crisis.
- First Edition of the GDR book
The actual first edition of the Greenhouse Development Rights book – The Right to Development in a Climate Constrained World: The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework – was published in December of 2007. Again, this is not the current version, but you can still download it here.
- Evaluation of Climate Policy Frameworks and Proposals
In June of 2007, two of the authors, Paul Baer and Tom Athanasiou, moved the project forward by way of a study for the Heinrich Böll Foundation with the snappy title of A Brief, Adequacy and Equity-Based Evaluation of Some Prominent Climate Policy Frameworks and Proposals, which briefly compares six approaches to a post-Kyoto climate regime, all of which claim to be fair. One of them, unsurprisingly, is (and early versions of) Greenhouse Development Rights. All were evaluated on their own terms, and also in terms of its ability, or potential ability, to deliver the all-important quality that we call “developmental equity.”
- The Inconvenient Truth Part II
The Inconvenient Truth: Part II, by Tom Athanasiou, published on www.ecoequity.org and republished, in abridged form, on the Foreign Policy in Focus site, explores the impossibility of stabilizing the climate without addressing the problems of economic inequality in a serious manner.
- The Nairobi draft for COP12
The next, much-evolved version of GDRs was published with the snappy title of Greenhouse Development Rights: An approach to the global climate regime that takes climate protection seriously while also preserving the right to human development. We call it “the Nairobi draft” because, while it was ready for COP12 in Kenya (December 2006), we already knew that it would not be the last word. (more…)
- High Stakes
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.” (more…)
- Cutting the Knot
The Greenhouse Development Rights approach debuted in December 2004 at a side event at COP 10 in Argentina, with a paper and presentation by the original author’s group – Sivan Kartha, Paul Baer, and Tom Athanasiou – entitled Cutting the Gordian Knot. The final, reworked version was published on April 15 2005, under the title Cutting the Knot: Climate Protection, Political Realism, and Equity as Requirements of a Post-Kyoto Regime.