Policy report

A global deal on climate change: the challenges between now and December in Copenhagen

15 Nov 2009

This paper outlines a comprehensive set of proposals to advance the climate change debate on the road to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen in December 2009. It analyses the implications of the commitment to cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 (taken at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm in June 2007). This reduction implies a very large fall in the probabilities of dangerous temperature increases. This commitment implies reducing carbon emissions to an average of approximately two tonnes per person by 2050.

The paper recommends that responsibility must be shared between developed countries and the developing world (which will have 8 billion of the world’s 9 billion population by 2050). Developed countries must demonstrate the way forward by taking on ambitious binding national targets immediately and proving that low carbon growth is possible, that carbon markets will develop substantial financial flows to developing countries and that technology will be made available and shared.

Developing countries must, subject to developed countries’ performance, commit by 2020 to targets which will take their per capita emissions to the global average by 2050. Binding national quotas negotiated now with developing countries risk being too high in relation to long-term targets. Given their inevitable central role in action, developing countries should be at the heart of the process of designing a global deal.

The paper has several contributors, with participants from HSBC, IdeaCarbon, Judge Business School at Cambridge University, Lehman Brothers and McKinsey and Company, and has been inspired by a number of discussions with international policymakers, financiers and academics.

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