The Climate Equity Reference Project (CERP) is a long-term initiative designed to provide scholarship, tools, and analysis to advance global climate equity – as a value in itself and as a realist path towards an ambitious global climate regime. The CERP is strongly rooted in current climate science, in particular the IPCC’s estimates of the remaining global carbon budget. It is also consistent with the UN Framework Convention’s core equity principles, which can be concisely stated as “a precautionary approach to adequacy,” “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” and “equitable access to sustainable development.”
This site offers explanations of the CERP effort-sharing framework, as well as an online Climate Equity Reference Calculator that allows users to interactively explore user-defined implementations of that framework. Importantly, it also offers a set of INDC assessments that is based upon the outputs of that calculator. While these assessments are made relative to an indicative “equity band” that is bounded by two pre-defined “equity settings” (“High Equity” and “Low Equity”), the online Calculator allows, and indeed encourages, users to choose their own preferred equity settings.
A few key points
The CERP approach is designed to be general, to encompass a wide set of equity approaches, to express these approaches by way of straightforward and objective indicators, and to clearly present their implications with respect to national fair shares of a common global effort. At the same time, it is precise enough to quantitatively evaluate and compare national contributions to the common effort, as they are being tabled in the international climate negotiations.
In all this, there are a small number of key points to keep in mind:
- The CERP approach is a dynamic one. For each nation in each year, indicators of responsibility and capacity, together with a variety of macro-economic data that together define national development need (estimated by way of a development threshold) are used to calculate a Responsibility and Capacity Index, or RCI. The exact definitions of responsibility, capacity, and development need, and the relative weighting given to responsibility and capacity, are chosen by the user.
- The national RCI is then used to determine the national fair share of the global mitigation requirement, which is also based on a global “no policy baseline” and on the user’s choice of a global mitigation pathway. The following figure illustrates the method here, by showing a global mitigation requirement that is partitioned into national fair shares, which are assigned to individual countries on the basis of their dynamically shifting responsibility and capacity.
Globally required mitigation (blue area) divided among countries in proportion to their share of global responsibility and capacity. (The example here, and it is only an example, features the “Strong 2°C” global mitigation pathway and the “medium equity” settings. See the National Fair Shares report for an overview set of illustrative cases.)
- The Responsibility and Capacity Index can also quite properly be used to estimate national fair shares in a global adaptation effort. Not that it can help us to estimate the global adaptation need, or the adaptation need of any given country, but it does offer a way to think about national fair shares of any monetized, global, climate-related effort. (Global adaptation need is properly estimated as a function of projected temperature change and national vulnerability. At the moment, in the Calculator, all we offer is a user-defined parameter that is specified as a percentage of projected Gross World Product.)
- Critically, national fair shares of the global mitigation requirement are not seen in domestic terms. The CERP views climate as a global commons problem that can only be solved within a high-cooperation international regime. Such a regime can only be established if each Party sees others to be doing their fair shares in the face of the common challenge. In practice, of course, each country will decide, on the basis of its own specific considerations (e.g. it’s own view of costs, co-benefits and political-economic tradeoffs) what fraction of its fair share of the global mitigation effort it will attempt domestically, and what fraction it will make off shore” by supporting mitigation action in other countries.
The Climate Equity Reference Calculator
The Climate Equity Reference Calculator is a interactive online equity reference tool that systematically applies CERP’s Effort-sharing Approach, with the goal of allowing users to quantitatively examine the problem of national fair shares in a global effort to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This approach can be applied using a range of mitigation pathways, “Equity Settings,” and other assumptions. Whichever are chosen, they are applied to all countries, in a dynamic fashion that reflects the changing global economy.
National Fair Shares: The Mitigation Gap – Domestic Actions & International Support
The National Fair Shares report is a systematic attempt to apply CERP’s Effort-sharing Approach to a set set of twelve representative countries and a selected set of illustrative “cases.” These cases are bounded by a “high equity” case and a “low equity” case, which together define an illustrative equity band.
Assessment of National INDCs
The Climate Equity Reference Framework is designed to support the meaningful analysis of national climate action pledges, relative to the global challenge and relative to other national pledges. Our initial assessment of the national INDCs illustrates some of the possibilities of applying equity reference frameworks to national pledges. In this assessment, importantly, the equity and ambition of individual INDCs are examined within the CERP’s Resource-sharing Approach, as well as within its Effort-sharing Approach.
This project is an evolution beyond our earlier Greenhouse Development Rights project. It provides a more general approach to a dynamic equity reference framework, and is focused on highlighting those results and conclusions that are common across a wide range of perspectives.