Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Contraction & Convergence: the paramount priority  (Read 4838 times)

Lewis C

  • New ice
  • Posts: 62
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Contraction & Convergence: the paramount priority
« on: May 07, 2013, 01:16:17 PM »
With the seductive Washington propaganda that with renewables' investment the 'free market' can resolve global warming - despite any fossil fuels locally displaced being bought and burnt elsewhere due to the lack of a climate treaty - there is sadly little public understanding of the actual priorities for action. This thread is intended to address any such confusion here on ASI by focussing on the seminal advance of the climate negotiations via the adoption of the global climate policy framework of "Contraction and Convergence".

For the authoritative overview of the policy see the Global Commons Institute site at . In essence C&C is about setting a scientifically valid global carbon budget out to 2050, with tradable national allocations of emissions permits declining annually under that budget while they also converge from the present roughly GDP-based shares of global emissions to per capita parity by an agreed date. The permits' tradability between nations allows the essential flexibility for unknown future needs, while also maximizing the rate of investment in the requisite industrial reform and in the adoption of sustainable technologies in developing nations.

The policy has been promoted in the UNFCC negotiations since 1990, and is now tacitly or explicitly recognized as the "inevitably required" basis of the treaty by many nations and unions, including the EU, Brazil, Australia, India, African Nations' Group, China and many others. The USA is on record in the final hours of the Kyoto negotiations as deflecting the demand from the Africa group and from India for C&C to form the basis of the Kyoto Protocol with the acknowledgement that C&C may be needed for a future comprehensive agreement.

To give an idea of just how much discussion of and publications on C&C is going on at the academic level among those whose expertise is in international relations, global development, public health, ethics, etc, (which can be seen as a proxy measure for the level of diplomatic attention) here is the news list so far for May on GCI's site, with one post's content shown as an example.

05 May 2013 - "C&C has been endorsed by Angela Merkel." Economic Thought & US Climate Change Policy David Driesen
04 May 2013 - "C&C is essentially Pragmatic" Energy & Climate Change Professor David Coley University of Bath
04 May 2013 - "C&C - there's much to recommend it." The Tierra Solution Resolving Climate Change Frans C Verhagen
04 May 2013 - "An unprecedented degree of international cooperation underlies C&C." Economic Growth & Development P N Hess
03 May 2013 - C&C as seen by IPIECA 2012
03 May 2013 - "C&C is 'Plan B' ." Towards Understanding Community People & Places Christopher Mary Madden Laura Potts
03 May 2013 - C&C; Bouquets & Brickbats from Julienne Ford in Never Point at a Rainbow, An Introduction to Radical Logic
02 May 2013 - "C&C Campaigning for Global Justice" Air, the Environment and Public Health." Anthony Kessel
01 May 2013 - "Agreeing rates of C&C; the central challenge of International climate negotiations." Reframing Climate Jaeger et al
01 May 2013 - "Known for obvious reasons as C&C." Ethics an Overview, Robin Attfield
01 May 2013 - "C&C this elegant solution; key to implement a Green Economy." Greening the Academy; Fassbinder, Noella, Kahn
01 May 2013 - "Some form of C&C is essential." What's Wrong with Climate Politics & How to Fix It. Paul Harris
01 May 2013 - C&C in 'Any Way You Slice It' S. Cox "GCI led; global emissions contract dramatically, per capita emissions converge."
01 May 2013 - "C&C towards a global network society." Another take on Contraction & Convergence - David Leevers BA MIEY
01 May 2013 - "Per Capita; C&C; Historical Per Capita" Positioning in Advances in Control & Communication D Zeng

"Agreeing rates of C&C; the central challenge of International climate negotiations." Reframing Climate Jaeger et al
The central challenge of international climate negotiations is to agree upon the rate or contraction and convergence of the per capita emissions of all countries - an approach that was first discussed in the 1990s and has meanwhile become a basic pillar of UNFCCC.

Typical transformation paths computed under the budget constraint implied by the 2°C global warming limit yield total emissions peaking around 2020, decreasing rapidly thereafter to very low values by the middle of the century. The later the emissions peak, the more rapid and challenging the required subsequent rate or decrease. To satisfy realistic contraction and convergence criteria, the emissions of the industrialized countries need to start decreasing immediately in order to accommodate longer emission growth phases for the emerging and less developed economics.

Adherents of the top-down approach argue that the global interdependencies mandate global solutions in the form of binding international climate agreements. The most straightforward way to realize equitable contraction and convergence trajectories, for example, would be to apply a 'stick' policy in the form of a global cap-and-trade system generalizing various regional or nationaJ cap-and·trade systems, such as the European Emission Trading System (ETS). or similar schemes in the US.

In the approach proposed by Wicke and Durr-Pucher (2006), for example, each country would be assigned a total number of emission permits proportional to its population, in accordance with the principle of equal per capita emission rights. Countries with low per capita emissions would then be able to sell their initially surplus emission rights to countries with higher per capita emissions, thereby achieving two important objectives: (i) global investments would be attracted into the most effective channels for reducing emissions; (ii) capital and technology would be transferred from the industrial countries to the emerging and less developed countries.


« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 01:24:41 PM by Lewis C »

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Contraction & Convergence: the paramount priority
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 08:22:15 PM »
"With the seductive Washington propaganda that with renewables' investment the 'free market' can resolve global warming"

I haven't seen that message.

I've seen the right deny that we need to do anything.  Theirs is a drill/dig/burn route to prosperity.

The left is saying that we have to use the power of the government to speed the transition off fossil fuels.


  • New ice
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Contraction & Convergence: the paramount priority
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 02:54:53 PM »
Interesting and timely view from Lewis Cleverdon re C&C.

If the Arctic is in what Peter Wadhams called a 'death spiral' in the FT last weekend: -

. . . . then Lewis is right, C&C is the paramount priority.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 03:23:16 PM by Crotone »