Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Fair Consensus

In support of the Contraction and Convergence submission to the UN Climate Negotiations (UNFCCC) in February of this year by Aubrey Meyer (in video above, click to play) of the Global Commons Institute, I'm dedicating this post to the implementation of its framework. Many other signatories to this submission are listed here.

This climate agreement model is a very transparent and fair methodology for setting the framework for convergence of carbon emission containment and regenerative ecological habitation by all countries. It is a very clear and rational approach based upon per capita allowances. It's a necessary step because the timeline to reduce human carbon emissions to zero is only 50 years, due to recent documented changes in the climate system.

Double-Jeopardy of unsustainable growth of human population demands and concomitant increased costs of climate damage is a very clear risk model, and it's shared by every country on the globe. It's the limit to growth problem, and the methods by which this risk is contained are grounded in the rapid evolution of renewable energy, conservation and ecological recovery. These things are eminently doable, as is evidenced by the rapid development of net-zero strategies by the building industry, and the capability for rapid energy production transformation as outlined by the Rocky Mountain Institute. Many regional projects around the globe have already regenerated their rivers, forests and resources as part of their development.

The costs of the impact of climate change, as the financial community has observed through its re-insurers, are running well ahead of rate of growth of the global economy. This creates destructive economic as well as physical vectors and generates a future of great uncertainty for all countries. Destabilization of climate, food and water supplies, energy and resources come as an ultimate price of unchecked growth, placing this huge cost upon every country on the planet. Thus the argument that carbon emissions can continue going forward is shown to be utterly destructive to all human societies and living systems by the projections in this model.

Therefore the choice is not whether to agree, but how swiftly this method needs to be put into place. The sooner it is achieved, the better the future is for all countries, and the damage to human life, as well as to all life and ecological systems can be minimized both economically and in terms of resources.

This is a shift in the idea that human existence requires continuous expansion; rather it focuses on the quality of life on earth and the idea that a less mechanistic existence requires fewer resources and fosters the regeneration of that which supports life for all. Human suffering and extinction of natural processes are not rational choices under this model, which is something that can be agreed to in principle very quickly by all countries; the stakes are clear.

How this is achieved is left up to individual countries and fostered by ability of low-emission countries to create value for their renewal strategies and low carbon levels. This creates an incentive game where this value is sought after, thus creating a market for non-emission of carbon. It's the inverse of how fossil-fueled capitalism works now, but uses the same kind of fiscal incentives, and creates an entire new paradigm for human existence within the natural world that stabilizes the future and allows the earth to regenerate.