The US Congress needs to support the US participation as signatory to the global climate agreement at COP 21 for carbon emissions. The agreement is scheduled to be finalized via the UNFCCC in December of 2015 in Paris, France. There is a Key Drafting Step in December 2014 (COP 20 in Lima, Peru).
1. This is necessary because we are facing a global climate emergency due to excessive carbon emissions.
- ‘Time running out’ says UN as CO2 levels hit record April 2014 high
- IPCC Report on Climate Science
- US Climate Change Report
- 28 US Senators make the case
- Damages: Credit ratings agencies realized that climate change is a threat to the world economy
- Environmental and public networks: When world leaders gather in New York this fall, tens of thousands of people will be there to demand they take action before it's too late.
- Economics: Climate change is already damaging global economy, report finds
4.The UN is negotiating a rate of carbon reduction with the world based upon equity and fairness with zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is important to agree on a neutral equity framework rather than ones that require damages from richer nations. The US must be at the UN table to defend an equitable framework instead of fighting a "damages" framework like GDR.
"Developing nations see [damages] as a way to underline the fact that the rich have burnt most fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. Rich nations say it would take too long to figure out, and that blame is constantly shifting. A related idea by developing nations to ask the IPCC to examine historical responsibility for causing global warming, as a guide to future action in sharing out emissions, is also a minefield at the Warsaw talks...Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, said it would be disastrous to try to apportion historical blame."
Frameworks that attempt to address this by incorporating a GDP formula are bound to fail because of the arbitrary nature of that metric.It's already outdated as a basis for a true measure of economic value because it ignores damages and risk and relies on growth. This would be the GDR framework as well as others that import arbitrary GDP formulae that distort the emissions budget allocations along economic lines to the point where the first world countries are pushed into "negative emissions" and will therefore never agree to or comply with such a framework. Carbon doesn't disappear from the environment because you pay money to someone.
One framework that works fairly is Contraction and Convergence, by GCI. It is based purely upon the science of carbon impact on global climate and resulting concentration of atmospheric gasses. We must return to a carbon level of 350ppmv in the atmosphere for a safe climate; we are now at 400ppmv, according to global carbon emissions measurements.
5. Leadership is necessary in Congress to achieve these ends. Ways to accomplish the carbon reductions to meet our agreed emissions goal are:
- Economic - Carbon tax, remove fossil fuel subsidies, increase subsidies for non-carbon energy sources and technology development. Corporate accountability.
- Resources - Move rapidly to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, wave technology, hydropower, earth-bio, geothermal, algae fuels and close obsolete power plants
- Human habitation and buildings - Zero carbon in new construction by 2030, adapt existing structures and recycle all materials, incorporate water collection in native landscapes
- Agriculture - reduce wasteful watering practices, immediately shift away from oil-based fertilizers and toxic pesticides, shift to appropriate crops and reduce meat production
- Technology - Rapidly evolve efficient power grids, new ways of power generation and storage, efficient public transportation, electric vehicles
- Carbon absorption - protect existing natural lands and watersheds with conservancies, regenerate forest lands and wetlands, shrink human habitation. This is absolutely necessary to restore atmospheric carbon to the 1990 level of 350ppmv.