Climate Wire | As the world strives to reduce greenhouse gases, a major problem is emerging. How much do rich countries have to pay poor countries to raise the temperature of the planet?
Scientists have found the answer.
High-carbon countries owe at least $192 trillion to low-emission countries for greenhouse gas pollution.
Here are the conclusions of a new paper published in the journal on Monday natural sustainability By researchers Andrew Fanning and Jason Hickel.
Fanning said: “If countries are not responsible for the excess emissions that are destabilizing the climate, but if we ask them to quickly decarbonize their economies, this unfair burden will be compensated. It’s a matter of climate justice that it should.” statement.
The concept of climate compensation is a topic of global debate. Low-income and developing countries have long argued that rich, emitting countries should help cover the costs of decarbonisation. More recently, the international community recognized that high-emitting countries should help other countries cope with the damage they have suffered as a result of climate change, including extreme weather events, sea level rise and other climate impacts. are starting to
World leaders agreed last year at the United Nations Climate Change Talks in Egypt to establish a fund to pay vulnerable countries for “loss and damage” related to climate change. However, the details of how the fund will operate, including which states will be covered, what types of damage the fund will cover, and how the funds will be disbursed, are yet to be decided.
A task force tasked with working out these details will present proposals at the United Arab Emirates’ climate change negotiations beginning in November.
Meanwhile, activists, scientists and policy experts around the world are considering how climate change aid (also known as reparations) could potentially be built. A new paper points to one potential framework for climate compensation.
Countries participating in the Paris climate agreement are now trying to keep the global temperature within 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, preferably below 1.5 degrees Celsius. So the researchers started by looking at the carbon budget for both climate goals. This is the amount of carbon the world can emit without exceeding temperature targets.
We then divided the carbon budget into each country’s equitable share. Each country receives a portion of the budget according to its size and population.
Next, they looked at cumulative emissions for each country since 1960. The world was emitting massive amounts of greenhouse gases for decades, but by 1960 researchers had a clear understanding of the science of global warming and were beginning to tell the world about it, they said. . So does the public.
Based on these historical emissions, the researchers determined which countries had already used up a significant portion of their carbon budgets. We also explore how much more carbon each country could emit between now and 2050, even if the world started reducing emissions fast enough to reach the 1.5°C target.
Researchers divided the world into two groups. They grouped together 39 high-emitting countries, including the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Israel, into a group called the “Global North.” All other countries studied, including the rest of Asia, the Americas, and Africa, fell into a second group that the researchers called the Global South.
They found that all countries in the Global North Group are already exceeding their fair share of the carbon budget. The group jointly formed in 1986 when he ran out of the 1.5°C budget and the 2°C budget was gone by 1995.
Even if countries around the world could collectively reduce their net emissions to zero by 2050 and achieve the 1.5°C target, the countries of the Global North would still exceed their budgets by three times, It would use up half the South Group’s budget. in the process.
In this net-zero scenario, 55 countries in the world would have at least 75% of their carbon budgets depleted by high emitters. And 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa will sacrifice at least 95% of their carbon budgets.
The researchers then calculated how much the overshooter should pay in compensation. They base their estimates on the carbon price set by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the cost of excess emissions.
They found that the overshooters owed a total of $192 trillion to the rest of the world. The US, European Union and UK alone will account for about two-thirds of that total. And the United States will have the greatest debt of any country on earth.
Meanwhile, India and sub-Saharan African countries will contribute about half of the total reparations.
The researchers said these figures only included compensation for “air expropriation,” a payment that rich countries could incur to poor countries for costs related to decarbonization and adaptation to climate change. pointed out that it was not included.
The researchers also noted that the study does not explain inequalities in high-emitting countries themselves, where the wealthiest people account for a larger share of carbon emissions.
“Excess emissions are largely to blame for the wealthy, who consume so much and wield disproportionate power over production and national policies,” Hickel said in a statement. “They are the ones who have to pay for the reparations.”
Reprinted from E&E News with permission of POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2023. E&E News provides important news for energy and environmental professionals.