A study reveals which Countries are Doing Their Fair Share in Pledged Carbon Cuts before COP 20 in Lima

Valentina Bosetti and Jeffrey Frankel have published an interesting studio called “A Pre-Lima Scorecard for Evaluating Which Countries are Doing Their Fair Share in Pledged Carbon Cuts”


They explain in it that the Lima conference will be hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is a prelude to the make-or-break Paris meeting of the UNFCCC, in December 2015, where a new international agreement is scheduled to be concluded.


They also claim that the Paris agreement will include voluntarily-submitted pledges from UNFCCC member countries to reduce GHG emissions. For such a system of emission targets to work, there needs to exist some general notion of what is a fair target for a country to accept, depending on its circumstances. This would allow a scorecard of which countries are doing their fair share and which may not be.


Everyone should participate in taking on targets. But it is only fair to take into account countries’ individual circumstances, especially their standards of living. They say that, fortunately, it is possible to describe and even to quantify what targets can be considered fair and reasonable. Three principles:


  • Latecomer Catchup: It is fair to expect countries that have increased their emissions rapidly to bring them back down, but not practical for them to reverse fully and instantly.
  • Progressivity: It is fair to expect rich countries to accept bigger cuts than poor countries, measured relative to what their emissions paths would otherwise have been (the so-called “Business as Usual” path, or BAU).
  • Cost: It is not reasonable to expect any one country or group of countries to agree to cuts that would result in disproportionately large economic costs for them.

Such an approach makes it possible to judge who in the current negotiations is now proposing to do their fair share, who is proposing to do more, and who less. Now that all three of the biggest emitters—China, the United States, and the EU—have announced post-2020 Paris targets, the formula could be recalibrated for the coming round. These three key data points are enough to identify the equation’s parameters for 2025 or 2030, which in turn could help other countries decide what future targets are appropriate for them. Thus this statistical yardstick for judging fairness can continue to serve as a powerful tool for establishing what share of the burden is appropriate for each country to take on.


You can read the studio here: