Sharing global CO2 emission reductions among one billion high emitters.
ABSTRACT: We present a framework for allocating a global carbon reduction target among nations, in which the concept of "common but differentiated responsibilities" refers to the emissions of individuals instead of nations. We use the income distribution of a country to estimate how its fossil fuel CO(2) emissions are distributed among its citizens, from which we build up a global CO(2) distribution. We then propose a simple rule to derive a universal cap on global individual emissions and find corresponding limits on national aggregate emissions from this cap. All of the world's high CO(2)-emitting individuals are treated the same, regardless of where they live. Any future global emission goal (target and time frame) can be converted into national reduction targets, which are determined by "Business as Usual" projections of national carbon emissions and in-country income distributions. For example, reducing projected global emissions in 2030 by 13 GtCO(2) would require the engagement of 1.13 billion high emitters, roughly equally distributed in 4 regions: the U.S., the OECD minus the U.S., China, and the non-OECD minus China. We also modify our methodology to place a floor on emissions of the world's lowest CO(2) emitters and demonstrate that climate mitigation and alleviation of extreme poverty are largely decoupled.
Project description:Past research on the disproportionality of pollution suggests a small subset of a sector's facilities often produces the lion's share of toxic emissions. Here we extend this idea to the world's electricity sectors by calculating national-level disproportionality Gini coefficients for plant-level carbon emissions in 161 nations based on data from 19,941 fossil-fuel burning power plants. We also evaluate if disproportionalities in plant-level emissions are associated with increased national carbon emissions from fossil-fuel based electricity production, while accounting for other well-established human drivers of greenhouse gas emissions. Results suggest that one potential pathway to decreasing nations' greenhouse gas emissions could involve reducing disproportionality among fossil-fuel power plants by targeting those plants in the upper end of the distribution that burn fuels more inefficiently to produce electricity.
Project description:Recent sustainability science research focuses on tradeoffs between human well-being and stress placed on the environment from fossil fuel consumption, a relationship known as the carbon intensity of well-being (CIWB). In this study we assess how the effect of economic development on consumption-based CIWB--a ratio of consumption-based carbon dioxide emissions to average life expectancy--changed from 1990 to 2008 for 69 nations throughout the world. We examine the effect of development on consumption-based CIWB for the overall sample as well as for smaller samples restricted to mostly high-income OECD nations, Non-OECD nations, and more nuanced regional samples of Non-OECD nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We find that the effect of economic development on CIWB increased through time for the overall sample. However, analyses of the Non-OECD and OECD samples indicate that while the effect of development on CIWB increased from null to a moderate level for the Non-OECD nations, the effect of economic development was much larger, relatively stable through time, and more unsustainable for the OECD nations. Additional findings reveal important regional differences for Non-OECD nations. In the early 1990s, increased development led to a reduction in CIWB for Non-OECD nations in Africa, but in more recent years the relationship changed, becoming less sustainable. For the samples of Non-OECD nations in Asia and Latin America, we find that economic development increased consumption-based CIWB, and increasingly so throughout the 19 year period of study.
Project description:Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is the principal driver of anthropogenic climate change. Asia is an important region for the global carbon budget, with 4 of the world's 10 largest national emitters of CO2. Using an ensemble of seven atmospheric inverse systems, we estimated land biosphere fluxes (natural, land-use change and fires) based on atmospheric observations of CO2 concentration. The Asian land biosphere was a net sink of -0.46 (-0.70-0.24) PgC per year (median and range) for 1996-2012 and was mostly located in East Asia, while in South and Southeast Asia the land biosphere was close to carbon neutral. In East Asia, the annual CO2 sink increased between 1996-2001 and 2008-2012 by 0.56 (0.30-0.81) PgC, accounting for ?35% of the increase in the global land biosphere sink. Uncertainty in the fossil fuel emissions contributes significantly (32%) to the uncertainty in land biosphere sink change.
Project description:Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are required to mitigate climate change. However, there is low willingness amongst the public to prioritise climate policies for reducing emissions. Here we show that the extent to which Australians are prepared to reduce their country's CO2 emissions is greater when the costs to future national income are framed as a "foregone-gain"--incomes rise in the future but not by as much as in the absence of emission cuts--rather than as a "loss"--incomes decrease relative to the baseline expected future levels (Studies 1 & 2). The provision of a normative message identifying Australia as one of the world's largest CO2 emitters did not increase the amount by which individuals were prepared to reduce emissions (Study 1), whereas a normative message revealing the emission policy preferences of other Australians did (Study 2). The results suggest that framing the costs of reducing emissions as a smaller increase in future income and communicating normative information about others' emission policy preferences are effective methods for leveraging public support for emission cuts.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Policies to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can yield public health benefits by also reducing emissions of hazardous co-pollutants, such as air toxics and particulate matter. Socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are typically disproportionately exposed to air pollutants, and therefore climate policy could also potentially reduce these environmental inequities. We sought to explore potential social disparities in GHG and co-pollutant emissions under an existing carbon trading program-the dominant approach to GHG regulation in the US and globally. METHODS AND FINDINGS:We examined the relationship between multiple measures of neighborhood disadvantage and the location of GHG and co-pollutant emissions from facilities regulated under California's cap-and-trade program-the world's fourth largest operational carbon trading program. We examined temporal patterns in annual average emissions of GHGs, particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, and air toxics before (January 1, 2011-December 31, 2012) and after (January 1, 2013-December 31, 2015) the initiation of carbon trading. We found that facilities regulated under California's cap-and-trade program are disproportionately located in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods with higher proportions of residents of color, and that the quantities of co-pollutant emissions from these facilities were correlated with GHG emissions through time. Moreover, the majority (52%) of regulated facilities reported higher annual average local (in-state) GHG emissions since the initiation of trading. Neighborhoods that experienced increases in annual average GHG and co-pollutant emissions from regulated facilities nearby after trading began had higher proportions of people of color and poor, less educated, and linguistically isolated residents, compared to neighborhoods that experienced decreases in GHGs. These study results reflect preliminary emissions and social equity patterns of the first 3 years of California's cap-and-trade program for which data are available. Due to data limitations, this analysis did not assess the emissions and equity implications of GHG reductions from transportation-related emission sources. Future emission patterns may shift, due to changes in industrial production decisions and policy initiatives that further incentivize local GHG and co-pollutant reductions in disadvantaged communities. CONCLUSIONS:To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine social disparities in GHG and co-pollutant emissions under an existing carbon trading program. Our results indicate that, thus far, California's cap-and-trade program has not yielded improvements in environmental equity with respect to health-damaging co-pollutant emissions. This could change, however, as the cap on GHG emissions is gradually lowered in the future. The incorporation of additional policy and regulatory elements that incentivize more local emission reductions in disadvantaged communities could enhance the local air quality and environmental equity benefits of California's climate change mitigation efforts.
Project description:The idea of decoupling "environmental bads" from "economic goods" has been proposed as a path towards sustainability by organizations such as the OECD and UN. Scientific consensus reports on environmental impacts (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions) and resource use give an indication of the kind of decoupling needed for ecological sustainability: global, absolute, fast-enough and long-enough. This goal gives grounds for a categorisation of the different kinds of decoupling, with regard to their relevance. We conducted a survey of recent (1990-2019) research on decoupling on Web of Science and reviewed the results in the research according to the categorisation. The reviewed 179 articles contain evidence of absolute impact decoupling, especially between CO2 (and SOX) emissions and evidence on geographically limited (national level) cases of absolute decoupling of land and blue water use from GDP, but not of economy-wide resource decoupling, neither on national nor international scales. Evidence of the needed absolute global fast-enough decoupling is missing.
Project description:The consumption and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are projected to increase substantially in the coming decades in response to regulation of ozone depleting gases under the Montreal Protocol. The projected increases result primarily from sustained growth in demand for refrigeration, air-conditioning (AC) and insulating foam products in developing countries assuming no new regulation of HFC consumption or emissions. New HFC scenarios are presented based on current hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) consumption in leading applications, patterns of replacements of HCFCs by HFCs in developed countries, and gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Global HFC emissions significantly exceed previous estimates after 2025 with developing country emissions as much as 800% greater than in developed countries in 2050. Global HFC emissions in 2050 are equivalent to 9-19% (CO(2)-eq. basis) of projected global CO(2) emissions in business-as-usual scenarios and contribute a radiative forcing equivalent to that from 6-13 years of CO(2) emissions near 2050. This percentage increases to 28-45% compared with projected CO(2) emissions in a 450-ppm CO(2) stabilization scenario. In a hypothetical scenario based on a global cap followed by 4% annual reductions in consumption, HFC radiative forcing is shown to peak and begin to decline before 2050.
Project description:It is well known that far fewer men than women enroll in tertiary education in the United States and other Western nations. Developed nations vary in the degree to which men are underrepresented, but the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average lies around 45% male students. We use data from the OECD Education at a Glance statistical reports, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), and the World Values Survey to explain the degree to which men are underrepresented. Using a multiple regression model, we show that the combination of both the national reading proficiency levels of 15-y-old boys and girls and the social attitudes toward girls attending university can predict the enrollment in tertiary education 5 y later. The model also shows that parity in some countries is a result of boys' poor reading proficiency and negative social attitudes toward girls' education, which suppresses college enrollment in both sexes, but for different reasons. True equity will at the very least require improvement in boys' reading competencies and the liberalization of attitudes regarding women's pursuit of higher education. At this time, there is little reason to expect that the enrollment gap will decrease, given the stagnating reading competencies in most countries.
Project description:We infer global and regional emissions of five of the most abundant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) using atmospheric measurements from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment and the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, networks. We find that the total CO2-equivalent emissions of the five HFCs from countries that are required to provide detailed, annual reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) increased from 198 (175-221) Tg-CO2-eq ? y(-1) in 2007 to 275 (246-304) Tg-CO2-eq ? y(-1) in 2012. These global warming potential-weighted aggregated emissions agree well with those reported to the UNFCCC throughout this period and indicate that the gap between reported emissions and global HFC emissions derived from atmospheric trends is almost entirely due to emissions from nonreporting countries. However, our measurement-based estimates of individual HFC species suggest that emissions, from reporting countries, of the most abundant HFC, HFC-134a, were only 79% (63-95%) of the UNFCCC inventory total, while other HFC emissions were significantly greater than the reported values. These results suggest that there are inaccuracies in the reporting methods for individual HFCs, which appear to cancel when aggregated together.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Several independent lines of evidence suggest that Amazon forests have provided a significant carbon sink service, and also that the Amazon carbon sink in intact, mature forests may now be threatened as a result of different processes. There has however been no work done to quantify non-land-use-change forest carbon fluxes on a national basis within Amazonia, or to place these national fluxes and their possible changes in the context of the major anthropogenic carbon fluxes in the region. Here we present a first attempt to interpret results from ground-based monitoring of mature forest carbon fluxes in a biogeographically, politically, and temporally differentiated way. Specifically, using results from a large long-term network of forest plots, we estimate the Amazon biomass carbon balance over the last three decades for the different regions and nine nations of Amazonia, and evaluate the magnitude and trajectory of these differentiated balances in relation to major national anthropogenic carbon emissions. RESULTS:The sink of carbon into mature forests has been remarkably geographically ubiquitous across Amazonia, being substantial and persistent in each of the five biogeographic regions within Amazonia. Between 1980 and 2010, it has more than mitigated the fossil fuel emissions of every single national economy, except that of Venezuela. For most nations (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname) the sink has probably additionally mitigated all anthropogenic carbon emissions due to Amazon deforestation and other land use change. While the sink has weakened in some regions since 2000, our analysis suggests that Amazon nations which are able to conserve large areas of natural and semi-natural landscape still contribute globally-significant carbon sequestration. CONCLUSIONS:Mature forests across all of Amazonia have contributed significantly to mitigating climate change for decades. Yet Amazon nations have not directly benefited from providing this global scale ecosystem service. We suggest that better monitoring and reporting of the carbon fluxes within mature forests, and understanding the drivers of changes in their balance, must become national, as well as international, priorities.