Monday, May 30, 2011

Comparing 2009 Copenhagen GHG proposals

Copenhagen Greenhouse Gas reduction proposals - quantitative comparisons.

Informed by “all men are created equal and have an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, Climate Justice demands that “annual per capita GHG emissions” should at the very least be the same for “all men” - at the very least, because European countries have been responsible for about 73% of 1750-2006 historical carbon pollution of the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century (see Dr James Hansen’s 2008 Open Letter to PM Kevin Rudd of Australia: ).

Below is a quantitative analysis of “annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution by 2020” inherent in the major Greenhouse Gas reduction proposals put forward at the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

Data on the past and projected populations of Developed and Developing countries is available from the UN Population Division (see: ).

Data on the past and projected greenhouse gas emissions of Developed and Developing countries is conveniently summarized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (see “Global Greenhouse Gas Data”: ) and is set out below (Gt CO2-e = billions of tonnes of GHGs measured as CO2-equivalent).

Developed country GHG emissions (Gt CO2-e): 15.0 (1990), 16.5 (1995), 18.0 (2000), 19 (2005), 20.0 (2010), 21.0 (2015), 22.0 (2020).

Developed country population (billions): 1.147 (1990), 1.175 (1995), 1.195 (2000), 1,217 (2005), 1.237 (2010), 1,255 (2015), 1.268 (2020).

Developed country “annual per capita GHG pollution” (tonnes CO2-e per person per year): 13.1 (1990), 14.0 (1995), 15.1 (2000), 15.6 (2005), 16.2 (2010), 16.7 (2015), 17.4 (2020).

Developing country GHG emissions (Gt CO2-e): 10.0 (1990), 12.0 (1995), 14.5 (2000), 16.0 (2005), 18.5 (2010), 21.0 (2015), 24.0 (2020).

Developing country population (billions): 4.143 (1990), 4.538 (1995), 4.920 (2000), 5.296 (2005), 5.671 (2010), 6.071 (2015), 6.406 (2020).

Developing country “annual per capita GHG pollution” (tonnes CO2-e per person per year): 2.41 (1990), 2.64 (1995), 2.95 (2000), 3.02 (2005), 3.26 (2010), 3.46 (2015), 3.75 (2020).

For a detailed analysis of the above data see “Climate justice & climate injustice: Australia wants a 2020 per capita GHG pollution 15 times greater than Developing World’s”, put on the Web by the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group (see: ).

“Annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 54 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included) (for sources see (see Wikipedia, “List of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capita”: ; Dr Gideon Polya, “Pro-coal Australian Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) devalues Australian lives, threatens Biosphere and ignores Science”, 2009: ; Michael Szabo, “Cut CO2 to India’s level, top scientist urges”, Reuters, 28 May 2008: ; Ross Garnaut, The Garnaut Climate Change Review, Chapter 7: ; Hal Turton, “Greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries. Where does Australia stand?”, Australia Institute, 2004: ).

What do the various Copenhagen proposals mean in terms of “annual per capita GHG emissions” in “tonnes CO2-e per person per year” by 2020?

And how do these proposed per capita values compare with a conveniently assumed 2020 Bangladesh value of 1 tonne CO2-e per person per year?

Some of the major propositions at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference are listed below in order of DECREASING acceptability.

1. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) proposal for “55% of 1990 levels by 2020 for Developed Countries” would mean that their per capita would go from 16 to 6.5 [6.5 times Bangladesh’s] while Developing Countries would “in aggregate aim to achieve significant deviations [downwards] from baselines [BAU?] by 2020 [less than 3.8 i.e. less than 3.8 times Bangladesh’s?] (see New York Times: ).

2. The UN Draft Proposal for “60-75% of 1990 levels by 2020 for Developed Countries” would mean that their average per capita would go from 16 to 7.1 – 8.9 in 2020 [7.1-8.9 times Bangladesh’s] (see NYT: ).

3. India has recently committed that it will not exceed the average per capita for Developed Countries which means that its per capita will increase on current projections from 2.2 to at most 8.9 by 2020 [see item #2; 8.9 times Bangladesh’s] (see: ).

4. Notwithstanding China’s rapid uptake of renewable energy and its commitment to reduce carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, China’s greenhouse gas pollution is predicted to double by 2020 relative to the 2005 value according to various Western experts (see: ). This means China’s per capita will increase from circa 6 to a per capita of 2 x 7,527 Mt CO2-e/1,431 million persons = 10.5 [10.5 times Bangladesh’s] (for GHG data see: ).

5. Obama USA’s proposal for “83% of 1990 value by 2020” would mean that its per capita would go from 27 to 0.83 x 5,177 Mt CO2-e / 346 million persons = 12.4 in 2020 [12.4 times Bangladesh’s] (for 1990 GHG data see: ).

6. Australia’s highly conditional best offer of “75% of 2000 value by 2020” would mean that Australia’s domestic per capita would go from 30 to 17.2 in 2020 [17.2 times that of Bangladesh] (and its domestic plus exported per capita would go from 54 to 62 tonnes CO2-e per person per year in 2020 [62 times that of Bangladesh]).

Clearly the AOSIS proposal is by far the best on offer at Copenhagen and the US and Australian proposals are so destructive and so far removed from reality as to invite sanctions, boycotts, green tariffs, reparations demands, international criminal court prosecutions and other legal and trade retaliation by an indignant World.

However the AOSIS proposal would only be an initial step because top scientists are in actuality demanding NEGATIVE greenhouse gas emissions. Thus top climate scientists are now advocating a return of the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration from the current 390 parts per million to about 300 ppm for a safe ands sustainable planet for all peoples and all species (see ).

A return to circa 300 ppm CO2 will mean drawdown of CO2 from the atmosphere i.e. NEGATIVE CO2 emissions.

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