Academic journal article East Asian Economic Review

Two Decades of International Climate Negotiations - Carbon Budget Allocation Approach to Re-Shaping Developing Country Strategies

Academic journal article East Asian Economic Review

Two Decades of International Climate Negotiations - Carbon Budget Allocation Approach to Re-Shaping Developing Country Strategies

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

I. Introduction

By the year 1992 the world has accepted the fact that the global emissions of greenhouse gases are alarming and immediate actions are warranted in order to avoid the catastrophes of climate change. Rio earth summit testimonies this global agreement. This global agreement has resulted in the institutionalization of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), United Nations Framework Convention of Climate change (UNFCCC), and Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and thus the year 1992 is purposefully a decisive year for the mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (GHG). Accordingly 1990 was considered as base line for all the Climate Change Mitigation efforts, which is institutionalized in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (UN, 1997). Ever since, the climate negotiations are on with as much success as the failures. As the time progressed we have come across more academic evidences in terms of IPCC Assessment reports as well as natural ones such as increasing incidence of natural catastrophic events that re-emphasized the impending danger of climate change and its intensity. Recent report of average CO2 concentration touching 400 ppm on 9th of May 2013 (The Guardian, 2013) makes it almost an evidence of where we are heading. In this context, Nicholas Stern, the author of Economics of climate change has recently confessed that the impacts of climate change have been underestimated in their original work and it needs sooner and firmer action to fight the impending danger (The Independent, 2014; Stern, 2006). The need for early reaching of the peak for GHG emissions by 2050 is re-emphasized and so is the need to meet the intermediate target of achieving 50% cut from their 1990 level emissions in the next fifteen years (Stern, 2006).

Therefore, it is an important time for us to take stock of what is achieved so far with CO2 emissions and what is in stock for us as we plan for the future course of actions on a global scale. As argued from time to time, such global actions have to be based on the principles of equity and differentiated responsibility. Thus, the present paper analyzes how the global action on CO2 mitigation progressed post 1990 till 2009, what is the degree of inequity in the historical and the present use of the "development space" among the industrialized and developing countries and the way forward in planning for the future allocations of such a space on equity grounds.

II. Global Climate Negotiations and the Trend of CO2 Emissions

The Kyoto Protocol is the main framework of CO2 emission control on global scale. However, all the pledges from various countries, by and large, remain voluntary and also very marginal when compared to the magnitude of the problem. Thus, CO2 emission by various countries and regions retained their upward sloping trend line. Figure 1 presents the trends of CO2 emissions in the world during the period of 1991-2009, capturing post-Rio trends of CO2 emissions. For the data analysis and structured presentation of CO2 emission patterns in the world, CO2 contributing countries in the world are categorized into different clusters such as Asia, OECD, Annex 1, Non-Annex 1, BRICS, Sub-Saharan Africa. Emissions by each cluster under consideration are calculated by aggregating the annual CO2 emissions of all countries.

All the developing countries and OECD countries, individually and as clusters, showed an upward trend over the entire time period with steeper slopes after 2002. It is a surprising trend as the emissions are actually expected to reduce from the year 2002 with the beginning of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. It is interesting to note that the total CO2 emissions of BRICS, Annex I and OECD countries as clusters converge towards a common factor over the year 2009 leaving the Sub-Saharan Africa far behind. Though OECD and Annex I countries did increase their CO2 emissions post 1991, their total emissions have shown a declining trend after 2007 but almost at the same level of 1990. …

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