Dear Aubrey


I wholeheartedly recommend the use of contraction and convergence to the UNFCCC.It is a sane and equitable approach that provides appropriate guidelines to all countries in the world from now and well into the future.


Yours sincerely



Brenda Boardman
Dr Brenda Boardman, MBE, FEI
Emeritus Fellow
Lower Carbon Futures
Environmental Change Institute


The UK’s target of a 60% reduction by 2050 was originally suggested by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) as a means to limit the rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to 550 parts per million (ppm) (RCEP 2000) and was adopted by the Government in the 2003 Energy White Paper (DTI 2003c). The RCEP target was based on the assumption that all nations would be contributing to a global reduction in carbon emissions via a framework called ‘contraction and convergence’. This ensures that over time, firstly global carbon emissions would contract and secondly, there would be global convergence to equal per capita shares of this contraction (GCI 2001). The UK Government has not yet adopted C&C as its international negotiating position for the period after the Kyoto agreement, despite RCEP’s advice. Setting a national target is only part of what is needed to stabilise global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases - it has little value unless it eventually forms part of a strong global agreement, which the UK must work towards achieving.
40% House Brenda Boardman, Sarah Darby, Gavin Killip, Mark Hinnells,
Christian N. Jardine, Jane Palmer and Graham Sinden


“PCA has the potential to reduce carbon emissions in an equitable, efficient and effective way. It is based on the same principle of equity as that underpinning the international carbon reduction proposal ‘contraction and convergence’ (Meyer 2000), i.e. that everyone has an equal right to emit carbon. By allowing trading, the idea is that people who live low carbon lives can sell their spare allowances to those with higher emissions. A market price for carbon will emerge and higher carbon lifestyles will cost more than they currently do. The equal shares will not require that everyone emits equally – instead people will have choice and can adapt to a lower carbon society at a slower pace by buying additional allowances. This allocation system should be economically efficient as it will encourage lower cost carbon savings to be made first (although this is only wholly true if a ‘perfect market’ exists, which is not the case in reality). Because PCA will have a firm cap, national carbon emissions from these sectors of the economy cannot be exceeded.
”Trialling personal carbon allowances"
Tina Fawcett Catherine Bottrill Brenda Boardman Geoff Lye

The research for this report was conducted under the auspices of the UK Energy Research Centre which is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Research Council.

This report was written by: Dr Tina Fawcett, Environmental Change Institute; Catherine Bottrill, Environmental Change Institute; Dr Brenda Boardman, Environmental Change Institute; Geoff Lye, SustainAbility

“Trialling Personal Carbon Allowances” [PCA]
A report produced by Oxford University’s ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE INSTITUTE with SUSTAINABILITY
For the Demand Reduction UKERC Report No.: UKERC/RR/DR/2007/002 - ISBN: 1 874370 44 3

An alternative to reducing its own emissions would be for the UK to buy ‘emissions credits’ from abroad via various mechanisms (including the EU Emissions Trading Scheme). However, the RCEP target was based on the model of ‘contraction and convergence’, whose underlying philosophy is that each developed country should aim for an absolute reduction in its own emissions. This can be justified first, on the grounds of social equity, and second, because relying on offsetting emissions abroad cannot be a permanent solution given that, as other countries develop, they may not offer sufficient spare ‘emissions capacity’ to offset UK activities in the future. Specifically, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution states: “If it [trading] became merely a means of enabling wealthy nations to buy up the emission entitlements of poorer countries on the cheap, thereby evading taking any action at home, trading would not serve the cause of climate protection.” In brief, then, there is a belief that, overall, the UK needs to cut its own emissions substantially in absolute terms.
Predict and Decide
Aviation, climate change and UK policy

The research has been funded through the UK Energy Research Centre, as part of a grant to the Demand Reduction theme, from the joint Research Councils. Dr Brenda Boardman leads this theme, at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford and Dr Jillian Anable co-ordinates the research on transport, from The Centre for Transport Policy, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Dr Sally Cairns is a Senior Research Fellow,working jointly at the Transport Research Laboratory and University College London. Carey Newson is an independent writer and researcher, specialising in sustainable transport.

Day One - Plenary session speakers for day one were: -

  • Nigel Dewbery, Enact Energy – Sponsors Address.
  • Peter Daley, Eaga Partnership - Warmfront.
  • Joanne Carr, NEA - NEA strengthening focus on fuel poverty.
  • Jim Skea, UK Energy Research Centre - The Role of Research.
  • Aubrey Meyer, Global Commons Institute - Contraction and Convergence.
  • Dr Brenda Boardman, Environmental Change Institute University of Oxford Housing & Energy Strategy.

Why not Why not this?

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