Select Committee on Environmental Audit Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Action for a Global Climate Community



  1.  Action for a Global Climate Community was formed by a group of ngos and individuals to carry forward the conclusions of an international conference held at Wilton Park in December 2003 and organised by the One World Trust. (See attachment, the "Chanctonbury Initiative"). We call for preparation of a new initiative by the end of 2005 to build global support for a Global Climate Community of willing countries from north and south based on the contraction and convergence approach. This long term strategy to resolve the climate crisis should be a central theme of the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy and the UK Presidency in 2005.

  2.  European experience has shown that a group of pioneering countries ready to act can inspire others to join them. In the 1950s six countries founded the Coal and Steel Community which has later grown to become a Union of all Europe. Today we propose that key countries from North and South, such as the EU, India and states from Africa and Latin America seek to mobilise the widest possible group of willing states to implement the UNFCCC at an accelerated pace, at the latest by 2012.

  3.  They should invite them to negotiate a Protocol of Enhanced Cooperation which establishes: a maximum concentration target for greenhouse gases, a global emissions budget for the contraction required, a date for the convergence of emissions to equal per person allowances, an emissions trading market, enabling measures and resources, and effective and accountable institutions, including a parliamentary body for the Community.

  4.  Effective action of this kind is the most effective way of mobilising reluctant countries, notably the United States—together with the growing impact of climate change. The US is unlikely to rejoin Kyoto but the best outcome for the G8 would be if the new administration is persuaded to accept that it does have an essential responsibility to join in collective action to meet the climate crisis, and prepares to rejoin the multilateral process at a later date. The goal should be for all states to join the GCC by 2020

  5.  Our proposal is feasible because convergence to equal per person allowances offers the equity that can mobilise the support of developing countries some of whom, such as India and African states, have supported it for many years. In Europe, the German Government's Advisory Council on Global Change recently endorsed the policy proposed here. A positive lead from the UK Government would mean that a coalition of Germany, France, and the UK, together with Holland, Belgium Sweden and Denmark would be well placed to shape an effective EU lead in the UK Presidency at the end of 2005. The long-term framework of a Global Climate Community will offer the market framework for industrial and technological leadership and success in the post carbon age as well as an effective response to the climate challenge.

  6.  The response to EATS by the market has been encouraging in recent weeks. If the EU can succeed in fulfilling its Kyoto commitments to reduce emissions, EATS will be a useful model for a wider global system. Strong institutions to ensure implementation and the rule of law in a Global Climate Community are however essential if it is to work. At national level a few of the least developed countries lack the inventories and institutional capacity to join at once and will need help to enable them to do so.



  UK leadership on climate in 2005 must combine ambition and realism. The G8 and EU are very different types of organisation. The EU acts. The G8 talks. The G8 will provide a forum for putting pressure on the US administration to acknowledge the reality of climate change, act to curb emissions and rejoin the multilateral process in due course. For the US to switch from undermining to encouraging the efforts of others would be helpful in itself. Yet realism suggests that even a Kerry administration will not implement Kyoto and will take time to rejoin the global process. Efforts of persuasion must be kept up but the real pressure on the US will come from climate change, oil prices, and the demonstration by others that multilateral action works.

  This means that the main UK ambition for 2005 must be to carry forward EU leadership in two practical ways: first in implementing Kyoto—thus showing that a group of major developed countries actually fulfils commitments to cut emissions and establishing useful precedents for a wider global deal through the EU Directive and EATS. There are encouraging signs from the market, with a massive increase in carbon trading in recent weeks. Many larger companies have absorbed carbon trading as a management tool. The test of success will come in 2006 when the Commission endeavours to tighten national targets on industry and persuade national governments to fulfil wider commitments on transport and society as a whole. If the EU succeeds in achieving its reduction commitments, and links EATS successfully with other Kyoto partners and US states with reduction programmes, it will provide an encouraging model for the world.

  The second and wider task for EU leadership lies in defining the vision of a long-term solution, exploring it with key developing countries, and taking the initiative with key partners at COP11 in December 2005. The UK Presidency in the second half of 2005 will be critical to this process. Following on a key Council meeting in April 2005 it provides the opportunity for the EU to formulate a long-term strategy by the end of 2005 with a view to negotiating its implementation by, at the latest, the end of 2012. Under Kyoto, there is a requirement to negotiate for a second commitment period. In our view this opportunity should be seized to negotiate a long-term solution set in the framework of the UNFCCC.

  Acting within the framework of the UNFCCC, but not waiting for the slowest, we urge the EU to join with key developing countries in pioneering and establishing a Global Climate Community of all willing states. Just as the EU itself was founded by a pioneering group of six European states who formed a Coal and Steel Community which has since deepened and widened to become a Union of almost all Europe, so the urgent need for climate action requires leadership by a vanguard group of states from North and South creating a Global Community which all will ultimately join.

  The new Community of the willing should apply the Contraction and Convergence approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions—the concept developed by the Global Commons Institute and advocated by the UK's Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, the German Government's Advisory Council on Global Environmental Change (WBGU) and many others throughout the world.

  The shape of such a Community was explored at a conference, attended by participants from 18 countries, which took place in November 2003 at Wilton Park, UK. Its conclusions are set out in the attached paper (The Chanctonbury Initiative2 ) by the two chairs, from North and South.(Excerpts from the statement are in italics in the text that follows.)

  The approach was endorsed once more at a conference in Delhi, India on 9 October 2004.


  Our proposal is that, in the absence of global consensus for sufficient action, those countries, North and South, with the necessary leadership, statesmanship and sense of responsibility should form a Community for Global Climate Protection (CGCP) and advance the implementation of the UNFCCC at an accelerated pace. They should negotiate a Protocol of enhanced cooperation as a bubble within the UNFCCC providing for:

  Contraction of global GHG emissions to a level that stabilises concentrations at an acceptable level (for example a concentration target of 450 ppm of CO2 initially, subject to adjustments in the light of scientific evidence).

  Convergence of GHG emission entitlements to equal per person distribution within a specified time frame (say 30 to 40 years).

  A global market in tradable emission entitlements (drawing no doubt on EU experience and transferring resources to poorer countries whose emissions quotas exceed their needs).

  Attainment of sustainable livelihoods through international cooperation, capacity building and transfers of low carbon technologies and adequate and predictable enabling resources.

  The Community will require institutions that:

    —  ensure effective decisions on policies and measures;

    —  respect democratic accountability and the rule of law;

    —  manage the emissions market (securing a stable currency and payments regime for emissions trade);

    —  monitor and ensure compliance (with the necessary penalties);

    —  settle disputes fairly and ensure adequate transfer of resources from rich to poor countries;

    —  take responsibility for relations with other Parties, including association agreements as paths to full membership.

  The Community will need a Council of Ministers and perhaps a smaller body representing regions and meeting more frequently; a judicial mechanism; and, since it will have massive implications for everyday life and economies within the Community, a parliamentary element to ensure that its decisions are accountable, equitable and effective. In short, it will need institutions that can apply the rule of law. It would be set up within the framework of the UNFCCC and draw on its secretariat and the agreements already reached to the maximum possible extent. However, the shortcomings of the present complex arrangements must be clearly recognised and remedied, so that the new Protocol is binding, effective and sufficiently democratic to carry with it communities and political authorities across the world.


  What are the prospects for European leadership towards a Global Climate Community? Prime Minister Blair and President Chirac have already jointly committed to a 60% reduction in emissions by mid century. President Chirac has in the past supported an eventual equal per capita arrangement. The German Government is sympathetic to the thesis of the wbgu report. These core countries have undertaken commitments which go a substantial way towards those required by the GCC. We believe that a vigorous and tactful lead by the UK, together with France, Germany and other north European countries (Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium) and a supportive European Parliament would have a good chance of developing a common EU position on the lines described above.

  A bold strategy based on clear political principles will have the best chance of mobilising Europe's citizens as they wake up to the reality of climate change. Just as Europe's existential challenge of war and self-destruction demanded a radical initiative of reconciliation in the mid twentieth century, so the existential challenge to the world community posed by self-inflicted climate change requires a new shared social and political vision which heads of Government put to the people.

  The project should not be launched as a purely European initiative. Diplomatic dialogue with the developing world is essential during the next twelve months so that it can be launched as an initiative between the EU and key Southern countries, such as India, key states in Latin America and the Africa Group. Europe and developing country partners must be politically equal partners in the initiative for a global climate community, because the founding members will lay down the ground rules on which the community develops. The founding principles of the new climate community will be equity, solidarity and shared responsibility in addressing the greatest challenge to threaten humanity.

  Some Europeans question whether developing countries would be prepared to commit in this way. Our organisation has found strong support—in Delhi in our conference in October, and in the East African Parliament for example. Asked in London in June whether developing countries would respond positively to a northern approach based on Contraction and Convergence. Ambassador Raul Estrada, the Argentinean chair of COP and former chair of the Kyoto conference, replied, "yes certainly".

  Diplomatic and political dialogue to prepare for this initiative must be started now, with a view to a joint initiative by the EU and key developing countries by the time of COP 11 in December 2005. The EU and its committed partners from the South should then invite all states to negotiate who are prepared to accept the core principles of contraction to an adequate concentration target, convergence to equal per capita emission entitlements and adequate community institutions and resources to ensure implementation.


  The negotiation should be fast track. That is to say it should not go at the leisurely pace of the climate talks so far, with Ministers meeting once a year and 12 years elapsing from the first global statement of intent at Rio to the effective ratification of a first useful but modest step—Kyoto. Once an agreement of principle is reached between a core group of countries from both North and South, and all willing states who share these principles have been invited to join, Prime Ministers should designate plenipotentiaries to meet together for a non-stop negotiation until agreement is reached, much as the original Rome Treaty was negotiated by a group closeted in the Chateau de Val Duchesse, or the International Criminal Court was negotiated by a sustained negotiation in Rome.

  Key subjects for negotiation will be:

    —  The concentration target and global emission reduction scenarios.

    —  The date of convergence to equal per capita entitlements.

    —  The consequent entitlement pathway for each participating state.

    —  The way in which population is measured and whether population entitlements should be frozen at a particular date.

    —  The institutions, rules and framework for implementation, including establishing and managing the global emissions market.

    —  The common resources needed for all this to take effect.

    —  Institutional provision must be made in the new Protocol for adjustments of the target—which may well be downward, given the continuing worrying signals about an accelerating rise in ghg emissions and global temperatures. We suggest that every five years Ministers be required to review the targets in the light of a report by the IPCC or (if the IPCC is unwilling to make policy recommendations) by a new Climate Scientific Advisory Committee for the Global Climate Community. These bodies could also advise change on their own initiative, requesting a Ministerial decision.


5.1  Precaution

  Contracting emissions to meet a scientifically based concentration target would meet the unarguable necessities of the climate challenge.

5.2  Equity: mobilising the South:

  Convergence to equal per person emission entitlements is the clearest means of applying the principle of equity and "differentiated responsibilities" laid down in the UNFCCC. It is also politically necessary to mobilise the efforts of the developing world. India's Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said in December 2002 that "We don't believe that the ethical principles of democracy could support any norm other than that all citizens in the world should have equal rights to use ecological resources." The view is widely shared in other developing countries.

  The Brazilian proposal (an alternative equity driven concept) to base emission cuts on historical responsibility provides no medium to long-term guide for the future and raises invidious questions about the past. Brazil's concerns could be met by an early convergence date which would ensure resource transfers from developed states which buy surplus emission entitlements from the south.

5.3  Economic Effectiveness

  While an abrupt jump to equity would prove economically damaging, the rigorous but gradual transition of contraction and convergence will provide a cost-effective transformation. A principled long-term framework will save negotiating time and cut complexity, making clear the responsibilities of peoples, Governments and the business world. Market signals will be provided to global enterprise to invest long-term in the technologies and skills of a lean post carbon economy. Power stations can last fifty years and a new wave of global investment in power is pending. This is why the group of major global financial institutions which advises UNEP favours an early decision on the contraction and convergence approach. Technological revolutions also take a long time, like the Information Technology revolution which began with the invention of the transistor in 1951 and is now bearing fruit. The switch to the solar hydrogen economy also requires long-term investment and innovation and "learning by doing", which must start now. An equitable allocation of emissions rights is more likely to last over the long term. It gives industry a predictable framework to phase out fossil fuels, and will increase energy security by reducing dependence on oil from the Middle East and former Soviet Union and the likelihood of oil-based conflicts. A well-regulated system of emissions trading would create flexibility and economic incentives to cut emissions in a cost-effective way.

5.4  Flexibility Through the Regions

  One criticism of c and c is that it fails to allow for the varied condition and capabilities of member states—transport, climate, different sources of renewable energy. Unfortunately global negotiations based on these complexities sink under their own weight and lose sight of principle.

  Under C and C flexibility could be provided by regional groupings or "bubbles" (eg in Africa or south America) on the lines pioneered by the European Union under Kyoto. In an African Group for example South Africa , with high emissions , might make use of some surplus entitlements from Mozambique in return for help with renewable energy Regional groupings of this kind would also mobilise political will and provide a framework for cooperation on clean energy, energy saving and adaptation to unavoidable climate damage. In many parts of the world there is a strong political impulse to regional unity—the African Union, Mercosur, South Asian Cooperation. This needs to be mobilised both to increase flexibility and to provide mutual help and peer comparison in implementing rules.

5.6  The Key Role of Institutions

  The Contraction and Convergence model requires effective common institutions to: monitor and enforce compliance and manage the emission currency and market—in short apply the rule of law. It also requires effective institutions and inventories at national level. So does every other scheme which promises the major cuts in emissions required in developed countries and the necessary limitation in emission increases in developing countries. There is no evidence that voluntarism, even supplemented by major financial funding, can make the necessary cuts in time. Massive use of the tax weapon offers a possible theoretical alternative, but may fail on equity, and brings up the same issues of implementation as emission entitlements and market.

  This brings home the critical importance of the EU's current model. If it can enforce binding constraints and, hence, a meaningful market in emissions, there will be a benchmark and exemplary tools which can be used on a global scale. Major developing countries such as India and Brazil or South Africa, and many Asian states do have the institutions to implement commitments and the rule of law, albeit imperfectly. Some African countries or states in the former Soviet Union do not.

  One general answer is that the rule of law is anyway the concomitant of development. As states develop and must transform and restrict their use of fossil energy they will also become more capable of managing the change. But there is also a real issue about how to deal with weaker and less developed states.

  Instead of a long-term framework, the so-called "multistage" approach proposes to treat different categories of countries in different ways, adding a number of the larger developed countries in the second commitment period, and others, say, in 2020. The trouble with this approach (in some of its forms) is that it fails to provide the principled equity required by developing countries or the long-term framework to drive investment and innovation for the low carbon age. Our proposal for a Global Climate Community of the willing and able would achieve these two goals but allow a few of the poorest developing countries to delay effective entry until they can handle it.


6.1  Start with the Willing and Able; enlarge the circle

  To get swift and effective action a Global Climate Community must start with a core group of willing democratic states in North and South who are prepared to lead and attract others by effective action. It must be hoped that their lead will attract most of the states that have ratified Kyoto and the majority of the G77 group of developing countries as founding members.

  China is an essential part of any global climate solution. An equitable solution on the lines of c and c offers the best chance of drawing it in despite its breathtaking economic growth and rising emissions. Its membership of the WTO has demonstrated willingness to accept the rule of international law, but Its lack of democracy means that it could not send members to a common parliamentary assembly. A strong form of Association, involving full commitment to emissions reductions and the full benefits of the emissions market, might be appropriate at first.

  Empty Chairs in the form of the appropriate national emissions reduction paths would be defined for states that do not join at first, with the UNFCCC providing an Association Framework as a prelude to full membership.

  As with the European Community some states will be unable and some unwilling to join at first. The unable may be a small number of the least developed states which do not have the institutional capacity to join. Their per capita emissions will be well below their emission entitlements so it will benefit them to join as soon as possible. They will need help from developed countries in the Global Community to develop institutional capacity and valid inventories.

  The USA is clearly the key unwilling state.

6.2  Action, not pleading, can mobilise America; a goal for 2020

  Just as Britain, then Europe's leading power, was reluctant to share sovereignty in 1950s Europe, so the US, today's global hyper power, is the most reluctant to make the international commitments necessary to resolve the climate problem—a reluctance already clear under the Clinton administration at the Hague Ministerial Conference of the Parties in December 2000 and before.

  Yet a majority of Americans, according to polls, believe their country should play its part in responding to the climate crisis. In the absence of federal action several States have are legislating to impose compulsory emission reductions.

  The best way for Europe and the rest of the world to help this strong body of opinion to persuade the US government to commit is to push ahead with successful action. US states with binding emission reduction programmes could be associated with the Climate Community's emissions market. A climate community involving developing countries through contraction and convergence would meet the requirement of the Byrd Habeler amendment in the US Senate which makes US action conditional on action by developing countries. The benefits of markets in sustainable energy and emissions within the Climate Community will be increasingly attractive to US companies, who will put pressure on the US to join it. As climate damages rise in the US, political pressure to join will also grow. John Dutton, Dean Emeritus of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, estimates that $2.7 trillion of the $10 trillion US economy is susceptible to weather-related loss of revenue.

  The goal should be for all states to become full members, committed to their contraction and convergence paths, by 2020.


  In Europe there are fears that free riders in countries that do not join at first will benefit from cheap, dirty manufacturing technology. We believe that the risks of competition by dirty industries are outweighed by the huge industrial advantages of technological and industrial leadership in the low to no carbon age. US states with tough emission reduction programmes have already found that they benefited competitively through energy and resource saving efficiency. So have companies, such as Dupont and BP, which have introduced tough internal disciplines on emissions and energy saving.

  Any overall competitive advantage of US firms through using cheap dirty fuel is massively outweighed by the competitive benefits of depreciation of the dollar, a depreciation that is driven by the overall uncompetitivenes of the United States as measured by its balance of payments deficit. A better measure of overall competitiveness effects might be the impact of the shift from carbon based energy systems on the overall rate of productivity increase in an economy, Again there is much evidence that, with gains through labour-saving productivity slowing down in advanced economies, the biggest gains may lie in resource and energy saving moves. Higher initial energy costs are a desirable driver of improved economic efficiency. The great value of the contraction and convergence approach, with its market in a shrinking of emissions entitlements is that it gives all businesses a long-term framework in which to transform their activities and make them energy-competitive in the most cost effective way.

  More legitimate short-term competitiveness concerns about carbon-based dumping may be expressed by particular carbon-intensive companies or sectors. Nonetheless demanding targets for emission reduction require a rapid shift in energy utilisation both within and between firms and the medium term benefits will go to early movers. The wbgu has suggested that a Global Climate Community retain the option of imposing anti-dumping duties on carbon intensive free riders outside the community. This would clearly raise contentious issues in the WTO, but the option should be retained, particularly if certain states wilfully refuse to accept the obligations and responsibilities of addressing climate change.

  Aviation should be brought into the long-term contraction and convergence framework. This is a sector where public finance still plays a major part in R and D. There is a need for a long term research programme at EU level to develop carbon free fuel, perhaps funded by a tax on aircraft fuel or landing charges. More broadly the UK Government should explore the possibilities of public private partnerships to establish the infrastructure for the hydrogen age.


  The Prime Minister's forceful statements, the Government's 60% emission reduction target for mid-century, and conferences planned—in Berlin this month and in Exeter early next year—all show a strong determination at the heart of Government to address the challenge of climate change. Implementation, however, is another matter. Despite Defra's efforts, the UK's initial targets for implementation of the EU Directive have been disappointing, (like those set by several other European countries) underlining the challenge to the Commission as it seeks to overcome "competitiveness" anxieties in member states and persuade all to implement their Kyoto commitments together.

  As yet there is no agreed strategy for the period beyond 2012. Some in Whitehall support the Contraction and Convergence approach we suggest. Others do not. This debate is acceptable while policy is being formed. But clarity will be needed by next spring as the UK takes over its responsibilities in the G8 and the EU shapes its strategy. Defra officials have a healthy continuing partnership with their European colleagues. But as the need grows to build a relationship with key developing countries, greater input from the FCO and DfID , which have more contact with them and a keen awareness of the equity factor which drives their policy, could be valuable.

  Some of the right forms exist. Secretary of State Beckett established a contact group with India on her recent visit. But will that contact be used to open up strategic and political discussion of the kind of issues set out in this evidence or will it focus primarily on useful but limited cooperation on adaptation and technical matters? The proposal for a climate community as a European initiative with the South is high politics, which will require leadership from heads of Government and, in the UK, a determined and unified effort by all Government departments and wide public debate of the key issues at stake.

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