Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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Friday 10 July - 11:30-13:00 UNESCO Fontenoy - ROOM XII

L4.5 - Equity a Condition to Triggering Action

Large Parallel Session

Chair(s): H. Winkler (University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

Co-Convener(s): S. Gardiner (University of Washington, Seattle, United States of America)

11:30

The necessary role of ethics and justice in climate policy'

S. Caney (University of Oxford , Oxford, United Kingdom)

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The necessary role of ethics and justice in climate policy'

S. Caney (1)
(1) University of Oxford , Oxford, United Kingdom

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The talk will cover three points:

(1) Justice and the target of climate policy. First, it is often argued that climate policies should avoid "dangerous anthropogenic interference" (UNFCCC Article 2).  Specifying what constitutes a 'dangerous' climatic changes necessarily requires the use of normative criteria, and cannot be settled solely by scientific analyses of the effects of climate changes.  Determining what the goal of climate policy should be requires policymakers to decide what changes, if any, are acceptable, and which are not and call for action; and this requires ethical criteria and an appeal to ideas of justice.  I argue that on any plausible ethical criteria even a 2C goal permits dangerous climatic changes,and that recent calls to move away from the 2C target are misconceived.

 

(2) Just burden sharing.  A second criterion of a just climate policy is that the burdens of combating climate change (including the costs of mitigation, adaptation and compensation) are shared equitably.  Many appeal to the doctrine of 'common but differentiated responsibility'.  I argue that this requires the endorsement of both a polluter pays principle and an ability to pay principle, and suggest how they should be combined.

 

(3) My first two points emphasise the need for principles of justice (in both specifying what should be the target of climate policy and how burdens should be shared).  My third point draws on this to emphasise the importance of transcending a pure Cost Benefit Approach for evaluating targets and policies.

11:45

Analysis of equity (including as related to ambition) in submission of INDCs

D. Waskow (World Resources Institute, Washington DC, United States of America)

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Analysis of equity (including as related to ambition) in submission of INDCs

D. Waskow (1)
(1) World Resources Institute, Washington DC, United States of America

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The preparation of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) is an important opportunity for countries to provide information about how their contributions are equitable. The COP decision agreed at Lima invites each country to describe in its INDC its contribution is “fair and ambitious, in light of national circumstances, and how it contributes towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2.”  A description of equity should include the use of a holistic set of quantitative and qualitative indicators that provide the international community and domestic stakeholders with essential information that includes emissions responsibility, capabilities (including economic and development capabilities), vulnerability and capacity to adapt, potential to act, and co-benefits of action. The information provided can be applicable to both mitigation and adaptation components of INDC. The INDC should also address how the INDC contributes to the global level of ambition for emissions reduction and collective effort for adaptation. Providing robust information and a narrative concerning equitability can provide enhanced transparency; enable comparison of contributions among countries; increase international understanding of what is equitable in the context of specific national circumstances; and enable linkages of the contribution with national sustainable development objectives. Doing so can generate constructive discussions both within and among countries about equity and motivate increased and more equitable collective action, and it can help provide direction in establishing common benchmarks and frameworks concerning equity in the UNFCCC.   The presentation will provide a proposed framework for describing equitability in INDCs, as well as a review of how countries have thus far provided information on equity in their INDCs.

12:00

Equity in the 2015 Agreement

X. Ngwadla (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa)

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Equity in the 2015 Agreement

X. Ngwadla (1)
(1) Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa

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The inclusiveness, durability and effectiveness of the 2015 Agreement largely hinges on how questions relating to equity, and/or perception of fairness by Parties to the UNFCCC are achieved by the agreement. The diversity of the basis for making a judgement of what is fair has translated into a false dichotomy of qualitative vs quantitative treatment of equity in the agreement. The second dichotomy has been created in terms of options for national vs international discipline in the application of a common framework for addressing equity.

 

In Ngwadla & Rajamani, (2014) proposals and options for addressing the divergences on the technical and legal options for operationalising and Equity Reference Framework (ERF) in the 2015 Agreement. The ERF is framed on the determination of the required global effort and a determination of relative fair contributions by Parties, covering both mitigation and adaptation in its definition of the required effort. Its application and reflection in the agreements presents flexibility in both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ or hybrid approaches in a global agreement.

 

Several other tools and approaches have proposed for apportioning mitigation responsibility based on a variety of metrics. The ERF is however premised on an envelope of metrics for historical contribution to emissions, capability of countries to respond, and development needs, as such outcomes are presented in a range and median of relative fair efforts by Parties. The envelope of metrics could be informed by the various proposals and metrics, including those various parties have presented as part of equity information in their INDCs.

 

The strength of the ERF further lies in its ability to be applied in different architectural and legal options, as it can be reflected as an integral part of the agreement, however couched in a language that reflect concerns pertaining to prescriptiveness and sovereignty of states. At the other end of the spectrum of options, it could be expressed as an external process through a declaration and run representative external organisations, with a view of providing a moral pull for fairness in the agreement.   

 

In pursuit of a durable agreement, and that present day political realities do not confine the agreement coming into effect in 2020, several options still remain to have enabling provisions for an ERF kind of approach, taking into account options for aggregate application of such a framework, as well as self-application of such a multilaterally agreed framework.

12:15

Obstacles to Equity

S. Gardiner (University of Washington, Seattle, United States of America)

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Obstacles to Equity
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12:30

Q&A session

H. Winkler (University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

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Q&A session
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