Fairly sharing 1.5: national fair shares of a 1.5 °C-compliant global mitigation effort
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The problem of fairly distributing the global mitigation effort is particularly important for the 1.5 °C temperature limitation objective, due to its rapidly depleting global carbon budget. Here, we present methodology and results of the first study examining national mitigation pledges presented at the 2015 Paris climate summit, relative to equity benchmarks and 1.5 °C-compliant global mitigation. Uniquely, pertinent ethical choices were made via deliberative processes of civil society organizations, resulting in an agreed range of effort-sharing parameters. Based on this, we quantified each country’s range of fair shares of 1.5 °C-compliant mitigation, using the Climate Equity Reference Project’s allocation framework. Contrasting this with national 2025/2030 mitigation pledges reveals a large global mitigation gap, within which wealthier countries’ mitigation pledges fall far short, while poorer countries’ pledges, collectively, meet their fair share. We also present results for individual countries (e.g. China exceeding; India meeting; EU, USA, Japan, and Brazil falling short). We outline ethical considerations and choices arising when deliberating fair effort sharing and discuss the importance of separating this choice making from the scholarly work of quantitative “equity modelling” itself. Second, we elaborate our approach for quantifying countries’ fair shares of a global mitigation effort, the Climate Equity Reference Framework. Third, we present and discuss the results of this analysis with emphasis on the role of mitigation support. In concluding, we identify twofold obligations for all countries in a justice-centred implementation of 1.5 °C-compliant mitigation: (1) unsupported domestic reductions and (2) engagement in deep international mitigation cooperation, through provision of international financial and other support, or through undertaking additional supported mitigation activities. Consequently, an equitable pathway to 1.5 °C can only be imagined with such large-scale international cooperation and support; otherwise, 1.5 °C-compliant mitigation will remain out of reach, impose undue suffering on the world’s poorest, or both.
KeywordsEffort-sharing Fair shares Climate justice Equity Mitigation NDCs UNFCCC
Climate Action Tracker
Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities
Climate Equity Reference Project
Climate Equity Reference Framework
Conference of the Parties (to the UNFCCC)
Civil society organization(s)
European Union, in its 15-member-state configuration from 1995 to 2004
European Union, in its 28-member-state configuration since 2013
Greenhouse Development Rights
Gross domestic product
Global warming potential
Intended nationally determined contribution(s)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Nationally determined contribution(s)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
Purchasing power parity
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United States of America
The authors are grateful for the immensely fruitful discussions among the members of the Civil Society Equity Review coalition that are too many to name here. The Climate Equity Reference Project’s work on NDC review has been supported by grants from the Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund, Christian Aid, WWF International, and Oxfam International. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the comments received from an anonymous reviewer and the editors of this special issue. Any remaining errors of fact and opinion are, of course, ours alone.
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