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Dear Aubrey

Please do count me in as being in support of your submission.

Cheers, Harley

A strongly worded letter has been sent by Dr Harley Wright of Climate Sense Australia to all UNFCCC negotiators.

TO COP Climate Ambassadors and Chief Negotiators
FROM Dr Harley Wright | Climate Sense | Sydney | Australia [basic cv attached]
DATE 10 May 2012

Your Excellencies

  • Emergency team – to advise what needs to be done, how best to do it
  • Adopt Contraction & Convergence for fair, strong, prompt abatement

I write with two ideas for the COP meetings in Bonn next week. I am a retired environmental scientist and manager, alarmed at the UNFCCC’s insufficient progress to reduce carbon emissions.

Durban Decision – too little, too late

The Durban Decision was the last straw – the new ‘legal instrument’ etc is to come in to effect from 2020. After 20 years of the Framework Convention (28 years by 2020!) this is insufficient and alarmingly too late to avert dangerous climate change.

On reading Parties’ submissions to ADP for your meetings in Bonn, I was dismayed at the ad hoc and excessively ponderous process under which the UNFCCC/COP is working. Present proposals focus on what individual Parties are prepared to do – not what needs to be done.

Commendably, the UNFCC processes satisfactorily delivered the Kyoto Protocol and the Marrakesh Accords - good examples of the cooperation needed to tackle this complex and diabolical problem. They were promising first steps - but time has run out. A 2020 commencement of whole world abatement is too late.

Who can forget Kevin Conrad’s electrifying words at the Bali COP?

“If for some reason you are not willing to lead; leave it to the rest of us; please get out of the way”

Surely it is time for another heartfelt plea to fairness and common sense? We need strong, prompt and widespread abatement starting ASAP – not 2020.

Emergency action and planning

COP should move to an emergency footing. It could adopt more assertive methods of providing future options and plans – like the Marshall Plan after WWII. The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action could create a crisis team from its representatives. Importantly, it could be project managed by an exemplary project manager, eg someone with strong achievements in industry, defence or government. Such a team and leader should have special powers, which minimise hindering, bureaucratic processes, common in current UNFCCC processes. Importantly, it would advise and recommend on what needs to be done and how best to do it.

The terms of reference for an emergency team to provide prompt, strong and widespread carbon
abatement could be to, eg: -

  • Review and report on options for carbon abatement to avoid a temperature increase of 2 °C, with 75% confidence, [draft for COP 18, final for approval at COP19]
  • Recommend a plan, perhaps with options, which has a timetable, targets (KPIs) and indicative management structure to implement the plan (Preliminary approval at COP 19 – then full approval at COP 21 (2015) for full implementation to start in 2016.)
  • Report on the likely needs for sustainable development in developing countries as an allied issue, noting particularly the role of the Green Climate Fund and the likely contribution of large funds from carbon permit trading. Suggest options to facilitate sustainable development.

Importantly, team members’ allegiances and responsibilities should be to the UN process. They would work to find the best way to save the world’s climate – and subordinate their home country’s special interests. No country name tags.

Unless the current sluggish process is rocket-boosted, we should all be extremely concerned.

Sydney bridge – Framework to fair, strong carbon reductions to start 2016

I sent you my recent submission to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change with suggestions for fair, strong and prompt action [email ca 18 to 20 April].

My framework is but one possible way to achieve strong, prompt and widespread abatement from 2016 to 2050. It is based on contraction and convergence.

Contraction and Convergence

From Prof Ross Garnaut’s 2008 Review. Garnaut is an eminent Australian economist

“The only realistic chance of achieving the depth, speed and breadth of action now required from all major emitters is allocation of internationally tradable emissions rights across countries. For practical reasons, allocations across countries will need to move gradually towards a population basis.”

He notes also: -

“Under contraction and convergence, each country would start out with emissions entitlements equal to its current emissions levels, and then over time converge to equal per capita entitlements, while the overall global budget contracts to accommodate the emissions reduction objective.

This means that emissions entitlements per capita would decrease for countries above the global average, and increase (albeit typically at a slower rate than unconstrained emissions growth) in countries below the global average per capita level. Emissions entitlements would be tradable between countries, allowing actual emissions to differ from the contraction and convergence trajectory.”

And further: -

“The contraction and convergence approach addresses the central international equity issue simply and transparently. Slower convergence (a later date at which per capita emissions entitlements are equalised) favours emitters that are above the global per capita average at the starting point. Faster convergence gives more emissions rights to low per capita emitters. The convergence date is the main equity lever in such a scheme.”

My Framework suggests: -

  • a contract and converge process could be implemented with countries representing 70% of world emissions; ie, not full country participation
  • non-participating developed countries would be coerced into joining by trade measures (compliant with GATT) and peer pressure
  • each participating country would be free to choose the means of achieving its entitlement under the UN’s contraction and convergence process
  • emissions from small and developing countries may be better managed with alternative measures.

Your Excellencies, there seems no comprehensive analysis of the ways and means the world can agree on carbon abatement. But the contraction and convergence model, promoted by the Global Commons Institute in London, has wide acceptance as the best means for carbon abatement. It enables us to break out of the current impasse.

In summary: - Durban’s new instrument to “come into action” 2020 is too late. It is not acceptable.

Hence you could;

  • Strive for COP to adopt slick and strong emergency processes and plans for abatement starting 2016
  • Promote contraction and convergence as the fair means to reduce carbon soon.

I wish you all the best at Bonn next week. Our world depends on it.

Yours sincerely
Harley Wright

Dr Harley Wright | Climate Sense | Mob: +61-(0)428 976 450 e: wright9@bigpond.net.au ABN 21
694 462 481 | 20 Victoria St, Roseville, NSW 2069, Australia | Tel: +61-2-9412 2313
Personal Background

I am an Australian citizen who is deeply concerned that the world is not acting firmly enough to deal with the increasing threats from global warming. I am retired and have no commercial or government affiliations. I am acting on my own account and putting my relevant experiences to use.


The proposal is founded on the principles of Contraction and Convergence. It has four essential steps.

  1. Agree on a global maximum emissions cap to 2050 [eg, 1000 gigatonnes CO2] This is contraction.
  2. Agree on the principle of equal per capita emissions at some stage [the date is not determined in this step, simply the principle]. This is convergence.
  3. Agree on the date when all emissions entitlements become equal per person. This is the crux of the issue. The date(s) of convergence determines the size of the high-value trade in entitlements between high-carbon and low-carbon countries, viz developed and developing countries.
  4. Determine emissions profiles, issue permits, manage reconciliation and facilitate global trade. High-carbon countries buy permits from low-carbon with annual trade of around $100 billion or more depending on the carbon price.

These four steps enable a fair determination of each country’s emissions entitlements. Step 3 in particular is highly contestable and most difficult. Agreement on these four steps can resolve the crisis and hiatus. Other issues are secondary to these core steps which need to be resolved first.
'Sydney Bridge' Dr Harley Wright
Climate Sense Australia

This proposal has already been sent directly to the Heads of Delegations to UNFCCC negotiations from these countries: -

  1. India
  2. China
  3. Indonesia
  4. Mexico
  5. Pakistan
  6. Canada
  7. Japan
  8. United States
  9. United Kingdom
  10. France
  11. Gemany
  12. Italy
  13. Australia