Good COP, Bad COP

Carbon Equity: Perspectives from Chinese Researchers
by -- December 11th, 2009

Researchers from top Chinese universities and the Chinese Academy of Sciences held a side event on Thursday entitled “Carbon Equity in Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change.” Much of the discussion centered around per capita emissions and historic responsibilities.

Researchers from top Chinese universities and the Chinese Academy of Sciences held a side event on Thursday entitled “Carbon Equity in Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change.”  Much of the discussion centered around per capita emissions and historic responsibilities. The researchers displayed a number of figures demonstrating that the United States and a handful of other developed countries bear responsibility for atmospheric GHG concentrations.  According to one presentation, China’s per capita emissions top those of the U.S. (and all other countries) only when looking at anticipated emissions from 2005-2050.

 

An interesting concept that the panelists discussed suggests that nations share rights to the atmosphere.  Each nation would have credits to emit a certain amount of GHGs based on population.  Under this scenario, the U.S. used all of its credits by 1930 and now has a significant deficit.  China and India both have large surpluses.

 

While not politically feasible (the U.S. has rejected a framework based entirely on historic emissions), advocating an approach based on historical emissions is a defensible position and highlights the difficult task facing negotiators.

 

Prasad Kasibhatia and Bill Chamedeis outline a potential compromise here.

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