Thursday, January 5, 2012

Durban's Epic Fail

The UN Climate Change Conference last December unfortunately came to a close with no agreement on global NEA goals. National Emissions Allocations are distributed through a global agreement of quotas of allowed emissions per capita for each country. This was proposed by the Global Commons Institute in 2000, and is conceptually accepted as a methodology by many countries. The NEA- based contraction conversion model applies an emissions cap to each country that declines rapidly over 40 years in order to reach the desired global atmospheric goal of 430 ppmv by 2052 (we're at 395 now). It's a cooperative effort, with developed nations assisting the third world countries in their reduction via the transfer of energy and pollution control technologies. Its strategy is that rapidly developing countries such as China and India must quickly pull back on their increasing emissions, and the UK and USA must simply implement immediate reductions in GHG emissions, period. This proved untenable to developed countries at Durban in December 2011, and so no global agreement was achieved. There is a consensus on the model, however, so the negotiation continues.

The Global Commons Institute [GCI] was founded in 1990. It has developed this emissions management model that has gained support by many countries as a fair and effective model for reducing carbon emissions.

This, tragically, does nothing to stop the growing emissions that threaten runaway climate change within about 5 years. While our governments dither, the natural world dies, and so do we. As it's necessary to have an overarching framework for cooperative effort on the most critical issue ever to face our human society, there are concrete measures that can be taken "at the grassroots" with parallel efforts in five broad areas of implementation. They are goal-focused and can be benchmarked for progress without specific caps in place because they aim for absolute emission reductions/rebuilding natural capital using public policy and economic levers:

1. End earthbound extractive processes

2. Increase carbon sink absorption rapidly

3. Human population reduction (reduces the per capita emission absolute number)

4. Restructure human habitation

5. Redefine quality of human life: eco-centric not human centric

This approach, admittedly treating our current global situation as an emergency, can develop a synergistic integration which reinforces the various actions to create a more rapid reduction than simply trying to reduce the industrial and human impacts of carbon emissions. Nobody needs permission to implement these measures now, and the usual climate deniers can't make a single-issue argument out of this multivalent approach. Particularly since these measures are starting to take hold already; we all know it's necessary so that our planet has a future that embraces humans.