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Sharing Global CO2 Emission Reductions among One Billion High Emitters

July 8, 2009

By Shoibal Chakravarty, Ananth Chikkatur, Heleen de Coninck, Stephen Pacala, Robert Socolow, and Massimo Tavoni


This paper presents a framework for allocating a global carbon reduction target among nations, in which the concept of "common but differentiated responsibilities" refers to the emissions of individuals instead of nations. It uses the income distribution of a country to estimate how its fossil fuel CO2 emissions are distributed among its citizens, from which it builds up a global CO2 distribution. It then proposes a simple rule to derive a universal cap on global individual emissions and find corresponding limits on national aggregate emissions from this cap: all of the world's high CO2-emitting individuals are treated the same, regardless of where they live. Any future global emission goal (target and time frame) can be converted into national reduction targets, which are determined by "Business as Usual" projections of national carbon emissions and in-country income distributions. For example, reducing projected global emissions in 2030 by 13 GtCO2 would require the engagement of 1.13 billion high emitters, roughly equally distributed in 4 regions: the U.S., the OECD minus the U.S., China, and the non-OECD minus China. It also places a floor on emissions of the world's lowest CO2 emitters and demonstrates that climate mitigation and alleviation of extreme poverty are largely decoupled.

External Link: Sharing Global CO2 Emission Reductions among One Billion High Emitters [PDF]

Read More: Development, Economy, Energy, Environment, Ethics, Global

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