Converging on a Climate Agreement

by Bill Chameides | October 20th, 2009
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

Permalink | 2 comments

With Copenhagen less than two months away, is there a formula for reconciling the positions of developed and developing countries?

By Copenhagen, as I’m sure most of you know, I mean the international climate talks. From December 7-18 representatives from nearly every country in the world will meet, debate, and forgo sleep to carve out the follow-up plan to curb emissions when the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012. (The main challenges for getting to yes are described here and here.)

So is there a winning formula to find common ground among competing interests? My colleague Prasad Kasibhatla and I think there is. We call it progressive convergence. Check it out.

filed under: carbon dioxide emissions, climate change, faculty, global warming, international, policy, politics
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  1. Jim
    Oct 20, 2009

    I read the blog post and it’s an interesting idea, but could you tell us what the numbers are and how you arrived at them? Such as: 1. What are the developing countries considered? 2. What are the developed countries considered? 3. What are the current per capita emissions of the above countries? 4. What did you use for the population growth rates? It just doesn’t quite seem to add up from what I’ve seen considering the developing world currently has around 3 billion people and the developed world has around 1 billion and more population growth is projected to occur in the developing world rather than the developed world. In my unscientific analysis I considered the following as developed: US Canada European Union Japan Australia New Zealand And the following as developing: India China Mexico Brazil Russia Which is really an incomplete list since many more countries emissions will be increasing over the next few decades. Thanks.

    • Prasad Kasibhatla
      Oct 20, 2009

      Jim, Thanks for your interest. We considered the following blocs/countries: (i) G8 (ie US, Canada, Japan, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom); (ii) non-G8 OECD countries except Mexico; (iii) China; (iv) India; (v) Brazil; (vi) Mexico; (vii) South Africa; (vii) Rest of World. This level of aggregation was chosen in part because business-as-usual projections are only available at a regional-aggregate level, and in part based on G8 committment to lead climate change mitigation efforts. We are currently performing an analysis with a higher level of diaggregation. It is also important to note that the 1600 billion ton target is based on a 50% probability of not exceeding 2C; a lower probability will require a more stringent target. All current and projected emissions data comes from the US Energy Information Agency while population data comes from the UN (World Populatin Prospects, 2006).

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