Summary Report No. 116


Nach Kopenhagen: Neue Strategie zur Realisierung des 2°max-Klimazieles
L. Wicke, H. J. Schellnhuber, D. Klingenfeld (April 2010)

For Germany and the European Union to succeed with their global climate protection objectives, the development and implementation of a more effective and more just climate protection strategy is required. A mere continuation of the current international climate regime with its lack of coherence and effectiveness is associated with important long-term risks for nature and humankind. In a best-case scenario, emissions reduction efforts in line with the non-binding pledges made during the Copenhagen negotiations would still lead to an average global mean temperature increase of around 3.5°C. This in turn would be well beyond the globally accepted 2°C guard rail to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

What is required therefore is a new approach that overcomes the limitations of the existing framework while taking into account the diverging negotiation positions of countries around the globe. The 2°max climate strategy proposed in this paper is based on elements of the WBGU budget approach (2009; allocation of remaining carbon budgets to nation states according to fundamental principles of justice) and contains a number of specific mechanisms for implementation. The core elements are:

•    A fixed, global emissions limit compatible with the 2°C guard rail, beginning with a global emissions peak, stabilization phase and ensuing stepwise reduction
•    Allocation principle “one human-one emissions right”: initial equal per capita allocation to enable active participation of developing countries with incentives for low carbon development and financial benefits through the sale of unused emissions allowances
•    A global price for carbon dioxide (CO2) by means of a global “peak and trade” emissions trading scheme targeting upstream carbon sources; as a result, a level playing field for CO2 emissions is established worldwide with widespread incentives for low carbon development
•    Integrated support and redistribution mechanisms to advance sustainable development and elimination of poverty while at the same time avoiding an over-burdening of industrialized countries and the world economy as a whole
•    Enhancing chances for acceptance of all (groups of) states by taking their economic and socio-cultural interests into account

The failure of the Copenhagen negotiations can also be an opportunity to refocus efforts on the development of a global climate protection system that can deliver. Convincing new concepts are needed to reinvigorate the international negotiation process.


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