30 December 2012 - IPCC AR5 CO2 Emissions, Concentrations & estimated carbon release from Permafrost Melt

It has been suggested that scientists systematically and iteratively under-estimating risk.

Certainly IPCC has had a policy over the years of erring on the side of caution, as is clear from Sir Robert Watson speaking here.

Going further into the IPCC AR5 drafts, I've now managed to piece together [as best as I can judge] what they are actually saying about rates weights dates of carbon release from permafrost melt. But they're not saying it straight out. You have to piece it together.

'AR5 devolves around what IPCC are now calling these core 'RCPs' or 'Representative Concentration Pathways' [RCPs]. However, while they have drawn four emissions curves or what they title 'Compatible Fossil Fuel Emissions', they then identify these as RCPs [2.6, 4.5, 6.0, 8.5], and the oddity is that that they have not drawn them. Though they are using that term [RCPs] and the model runs extensively as a core term and a core frame-of-reference of reference, nowhere can I find the concentration pathways [Representative or not] actually drawn. This is a prominent and extraordinary omission.

So I have just calculated the concentration-paths out and shown them faute de miuex at CAF 50% [as shown in the image].

Now its not clear which is more worrying the previous imagery or this update. Unlike the previous image, the extra 400 Gt Carbon Release from permafrost melt here [clearly now associated with the RCPs] potentially takes the overall concentration curve over 1,000 ppmv within this Century if you follow RCP8.5.

Note - in his speech Bob Watson said, we must prepare for a world of warming between 3 and 5 degrees. If you download and look at the diagram, this appears to correspond with the RCP8.5 pathway!

What we need are PCPs - 'Planned Compliance Pathways' -

In other words what we need is negotiated and a clearly organised C&C basis and at rates that project UNFCCC-compliance.

What the IPCC scientists are showing is opaquely arm-waving into a potential holocaust, while saying 'not me guv - its your call . . . . ' . . .

29 December 2012 - "I strongly endorse C&C. It is the better concept." Prof Thomas Potthast Tubigen

Dear Aubrey,

I strongly endorse GCI's "Contraction & Convergence" [C&C] Proposal to the UNFCCC!

Best regards,


Prof. Dr. Thomas Potthast
Interdepartmental Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)
University of Tübingen, Germany


Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Edited Thomas Potthast and Simon Meisch

How does sustainable intensification measure against these facts? First, given that a large part of the problem is distribution and not absolute deficiency, it is more sensible to target the underlying problem of distribution directly. Second, intensifying livestock agriculture can lead to further reductions in the crops available to people of poorer nations. Third intensive livestock agriculture can be associated with deforestation causing further emissions.

The most rational policy is contraction and convergence. This recommends a contraction of meat and dairy consumption in parts of the developed world and a limited increase in the developing world leading ultimately to a convergence of consumption at a sustainable level. This is consistent with feeding the world more equitably and reducing food injustice. Finally all of this is consistent with respecting the welfare of sentient farm animals because intensification often diminishes animal welfare. This is consonant with respecting society’s democratic concern for animal welfare.


How then would an equal share proposal benefit those two groups alike? As a more specific avenue towards the allocation of equal entitlements, the Contraction and Convergence [C&C] approach was suggested in the early 1990's by Aubrey Meyer from the London based Global Commons institute [Meyer 2000]. Under a C&C approach every individual is granted an equal right to emit GHGs since every individual has th e right to the use of the benefits of provided by a shared resource. Second, a global cap is placed on emissions, on the basis of a scientific analysis of the amount of GHG's the global environment can withstand. Third, each nation is awarded an emissions budget consistent with the capacity of the global environment to absorb GHG S [Page, 2006: 177]. This implies that the industrialized nations have to contract GHG emissions while the non-industrialized can raise their emissions for a limited time in the future. The non-industrialized nations can sell the emission permits that they do not require to industrialized nations in need of additional permits, thereby creating revenues to fund adaptation, development and poverty reduction, while the industrialized nations use the permits to soften their transition towards a renewable energy economy. Thus, after the contraction of the industrialized nations and the increase in the emissions of the non- industrialized nations, the emissions trajectory of both converges to an equal level.

A sine-qua-non for this scenario to be successful is the collective political will to determine the start and the length of the convergence period [Simms, 200S: 178-179]. Needless to say, the longer the transition's starting point is postponed, the more the problem is exacerbated and the more the invasive the convergence trajectory will need to be. Current estimates show that to stabilize atmospheric levels of CO2 to at 440 ppmv which would correspond with a rise of 2°C, a CO2 peak should occur between 2020 and 2030 and the CO2 emissions should decline to zero by 2052 [GCI, 2011].


The two already mentioned competing concepts in CE are Contraction and Convergence [C&C]. The core idea is presented in Meyer [1999 for furterh developments see the website of Meyer’s Global Commons Institute] and Greenhouse Development Rights [GDR Baer et al 2008 see www.ecoequity.org] The position adopted here is clearly a variant of C&C which is augmented by some ideas on adaptation beyond the vulnerability criterion, some hopes for CDR and strict caveats against SRM.

The GDR concept supposes a global emergency situation and combines strict mitigation with mandatory assistance to adaptation in the global South and with a benchmark in monetary income below which persons have no obligation to curb their GHG emissions or care for climate change. The charming idea that rich persons in poor countries should contribute to mitigation and adaptation is not at the heart of the GDR concept. A human right is seen as a right to create monetary income is placed at the centre of the system of human rights.

The concept of C&C as proposed by Meyer [1999] includes a gradual convergence from now to 2050 which seems both feasible a fair. Such a scheme puts a mitigation burden on countries like China. The heaviest burden clearly falls on states whose economies have been based on cheap energy as in the US.

While C&C allocates resources, GDR allocates burdens. Under the criteria of responsibility and ability, the burdens of single states are calculated. As a result, the burdens of states like Germany, the USA and other wealthy industrialized countries become greater than 100% emissions reduction.

Even if these states reduced all GHG emissions to zero, there remains a financial burden to help to assist Southern Countries to adapt. On the other side, economics which do not convert GHG emissions into income efficiently will be benefitted under a GDR scheme. The attractiveness of GDR has faded at a closer look [Kraus Ott 2009]. It combines an emergency ethics with a conventional approach to development to a measure which creates results that look somewhat over-demanding in a macro-economic perspective.

For Northern countries the economic impacts of C&C are severe but viable under a prudent long-term transition management. Germany could reach 100% electricity supply from renewables by 2040 if there will be close cooperation with Scandinavian states [SRU 2011]. There are reasons to claim that the C&C concept, that must be enlarged to the domain of adaptation and might adopt some important points from GDR, is all things considered the ‘better’ concept.


The triangular affair between mitigation, adaptation and climate-engineering strategies should not be seen as a portfolio. Within this triangular affair mitigation deserves the priority because mitigation is a precondition for adaptation and CDR being successfully performed. Mitigation on a global scale is by no means Utopian anymore. If the course of action will be agreed and become a safely paved and reliable pathway, the speed of taking steps may be increased up to running.

Climate change raises huge challenges for agriculture but there is no time for despair yet. Under a global C&C regime, agriculture could be adapted to modest climate change and, by doing so, become transformed into a more organic and sustainable 'Gestalt’. Adaptation and transformation are two sides of the same coin.


29 December 2012 - "C&C; a principle to guide sustainable development space globally." John Barry Oxford

In general terms following one of the first modern thinkers to propose a 'post-growth' economy, John Stuart Mill (Barry, 2007a), green political economists are of the view that economic growth should be 'redistributed' from the 'over, developed' minority world to the majority world in the global South. In terms of the limits to growth, energy and ecological thresholds that cannot be breached, the development path of the 'global South' cannot be along the same model as those pursued by the already industrialized (over) developed world.

It is for this reason that most of the debates about a post-growth economy tend to be orientated towards the developed world, largely based, in my view, on the application of the 'contraction and convergence' approach to climate change and carbon reductions [Meyer, 200I], as a principle to guide an egalitarian and sustainable distribution of 'development space' globally.
The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainably
John Barry OXFORD

29 December 2012 - 'CSE & EcoEquity lay out fairness captured in C&C vision.' Climate for Change Moser

It is imperative that any climate mitigation regime take into consideration issues of ethics humanc right and justice. EcoEquity and the Centre for Science and the Envrionment lay out a vision for fairness that in their words is equal per capita rights to the atmosphere. Internationally this vision is captured in the proposed Contraction and Convergence approach which reduces emissions from developed high emissions countries and over time comes to a worldwide equal but much reduced per capita standard Global Commons Institute Meyer 2000
Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change Susanne C. Moser, Lisa Dilling
29 December 2012 - 'Calculate C&C rates to ensure UNFCCC-compliance.' RFF Anthology Prof MichaelToman

The idea of making per capita emissions the basis for equitable burden sharing Is a much dlscussed option that is favored by many developing countries. Such formulas are often referred to as convergence measures. A dynamic example of this approach from the Global Commons Institute is Contraction and Convergence [see suggested reading]. Under this option over time developed countries wound reduce emissions in proportion to their population and developing countries would increase emissions according to their population. Eventually, developed and developing coutries would converge to the same per capita emissions ratio. For the environmental goals of the UNFCCC to be met, the ratio and length of expected of time until convergence would have to be calculated to ensure the necessary amount of GHG emissions reductions.
Climate Change Economics and Policy
An RFF Anthology Professor Michael A. Toman
29 December 2012 - "C&C; what appears idealistic or naive is, alas, coldly realistic." Sustainable Systems Lebel

Nothing less than a new global compact is necessary, one where the over-consumers of the world deliver significant reductions in resource throughput and material accumulation. this in order to create "ecological space" for increasing consumption by the world's poor - and where, in turn, the global under-consumers explore development paths of low-consumption high-prosperity living.

This is Contraction and Convergence on a grand scale: Contraction of the consumption by the rich as the foundation for the convergence of consumption levels by all at some sustainable level.

At first blush, any talk of contraction and convergence seems hopelessly naive. ("You'll never get the rich to cut back." is one reflexive response; "the poor will never show restraint" is another: "contraction and convergence” requires massive value change or some deep, mobilizing crisis" and "Americans will never sacrifice without a crisis" arc other common reactions.)

It's no wonder that most people who work on issues of sustainable consumption and production shy away from the question of "how much is enough:' Where, after all, are the potent research questions - those that generate grants, drive publications, or influence policy - if the desire for ever-escalating consumption is hard-wired in the human psyche or part of deep ly held value sets? Who aspires to research and activism that is intrinsically coercive, or that would promote policies of reduced consumption that fly in the face of human desire?

Better, many conclude, to focus on "realistic" and tangible responses to ecological overshoot, such as the development of new production technologies capable of accommodating escalating consumption and lower environmental cost, or economic instruments that might shift consumption toward more environmentally benign products, or education and public-information projects that might, over time re-shape values. And indeed, this is the bulk of the work now occurring under the flag of "sustainable consumption."

What appears to be idealistic or naive is, alas, coldly realistic.

Sustainable Production Consumption Systems: Knowledge, Engagement and Practice
Louis Lebel, Sylvia Lorek, Rajesh Daniel

29 December 2012 - "Dismissing C&C as impracticable is the unrealistic option." Sustainability Mirage J Foster

The total framework within which a UK carbon-rationing regime must be established if the goal really is climate victory is pretty simple in outline for all that. It depends in fact on one of those solutions which is so simple that no-one could see it until it was formulated by a non-expert thinking outside the box. This is the framework known as contraction and convergence (C&C), first proposed by a tiny NGO called the Global Commons Institute in 1990. It is probably best explained in the words of Aubrey Meyer, the man behind it: -

Global greenhouse emissions need to be reduced by 60 percent in less than a hundred years. When governments agree to be bound by such a target, the diminishing amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that the world could release while staying within the target can be calculated for each year of the coming Century. This is the contraction part of the process. The convergence part is that each year's tranche of the global emissions budget gets shared out among the nations of the world in a way that every country converges on the same allocation per inhabitant by say 2030. Countries unable to manage within their allocation would, within limits, be able to buy the unused parts of the more frugal countries.

This means, startlingly, just what it says. Over time, we converge on an equal share for every human being of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which it is judged safe for humanity as a whole to go on emitting. The global percentage reduction target and the date for reaching it are decided on the basis of our best scientifically informed estimate of what will give us the best chance of keeping now-inevitable global warming within survivable limits. We then work towards meeting that target on the understanding that well before we do so, every country will be operating within an equitable national emissions allocation. This allocation will be equitable because it will depend only on national population, multiplied by the personal carbon budget on which we shall have converged for each global citizen. As within the suggested UK rationing scheme, trading around these national allocations is permissible, but the overall global emissions quota is firmly capped.

A standard reaction among people encountering these proposals for the first time is to say, 'How hopelessly idealistic!' And such incredulity is perfectly understandable at first blush. Genuinely equal shares worldwide in a key resource equality not just in theory (high-sounding declarations of universal human rights and so forth), but in hard practice, to which the hitherto globally rich and dominant must conform themselves - and to a fixed timescale! Whose leg does he think he's pulling?

But this response will not survive much careful reflection. For what, actually is the alternative? We have to turn the global-warming super-tanker around, if not quite on a sixpence then certainly within a very limited stretch of sea - and its currently lumbering momentum is powered increasingly by the burgeoning carbon emissions of hugely populous and ambitiously industrializing developing countries. Any chance which a C&C framework offers for halting this process will be greater than the chance of halting it within a global regime where the already developed nations continue trying to defend their own turf, their own historic claims to far more than their fair share of the planet's absorptive and regenerative capacities, because that chance is simply no chance. Whatever may have been the pros and cons. from all the possible perspectives of real international equity in the past, the case for it now is irresistibly and urgently practical. It is with the climate war as Benjamin Franklin famously reminded the Continental Congress preparing to sign the US Declaration of Independence: we must hang together, or we shall assuredly hang separately. That is now the hard unvarnished truth for global humanity.

No doubt it explains why endorsement for the principle, at any rate, of C&C has in fact been forthcoming from a good many quarters where one would expect brisk intolerance of mere hopeless idealism. These include the World Bank, the European Parliament and the UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has explicitly recognized the logic, and tile World Council of Churches has called for commitment to the framework. It would require impossibly high standards to regard all these bodies as lacking in seriousness. Together, the weight or their testimony, suggests that it is may be dismissing C&C as impracticable which is actually the unrealistic option.

What all this means for a country like Britain is that we must act, at last, to redress the historic balance, not through windy 'apologies' for this or that colonial atrocity, nor just through a much more generous development aid budget, but through making the break in this critical arena. That means setting ourselves a reducing carbon ration within assumptions compatible with global convergence and then offering decisive leadership in the international process which will be required for choreographing the actual introduction of the C&C framework worldwide. This a very demanding kind of engagement when compared with our current stance, but it is no less than a survival imperative. There is still a huge job to be done in campaigning and preparing for C&C, never mind in implementing it. The question for this book and this chapter, however is how all this relates to a deep-sustainability understanding of what we are about.
The Sustainability Mirage: Illusion and Reality in the Coming War on Climate Change
John Foster

28 December 2012 - **plus 400 Gt C** top estimate carbon release 21st Century permafrost melt: IPCC AR5 draft.

Perhaps GCI's estimates were too conservative . . . .

IPCC AR5 draft states: -

“Release from thawing permfrost is likely to provide a positive feedback, but there is limited confidence in quantitative projections of its strength. Projections for 2100 range from 33 to over 400 Gt C.”

See Chart page 5 of document linked to image below for the detailed effect of this ‘extra’400 Gt C


“The conjunction of a long carbon accumulation time scale and potential decomposition under climatic conditions leading to permafrost thaw sug ests potential irreversibility of permafrost carbon decomposition (leading to an increase of atmospheric CO2 and/or CH4 concentrations) on timescales of hundreds to thousands of years in a warming climate. The existing modelling studies of permafrost carbon balance under future warming that take into account at least some of the essential permafrost-related processes do not yield consistent results beyond the fact that present-day permafrost will become a net emitter of carbon during the 21st century under plausible future warming scenarios. This also reflects an insufficient understanding of the relevant soil processes during and after permafrost thaw, including processes leading to stabilization of unfrozen soil carbon, and precludes any quantitative assessment of the amplitude of irreversible changes in the climate system potentially related to permafrost degassing and associated global feedbacks at this stage.”

27 December 2012 - "C&C - a well known proposal." Ackerman & Stanton Stockhokm Environment Institute

A well-known proposal is “Contraction and Convergence,” which creates a transition toward equal per capita rights. The global target for per capita emissions shrinks steadily toward a sustainable level. Countries with per capita emissions above the global target have their emissions allocation reduced over time; countries below the global target receive gradual increases in their allocations. Using this strategy, global emissions would contract while per capita emissions among countries would converge (Global Commons Institute 2010).
Climate Economics: The State of the Art
Frank Ackerman Elizabeth A. Stanton Stockholm Environment Institute-U.S. Center
25 December 2012 - UNFCCC Christmas Greetings from Poly Bear . . . .
24 December 2012 - "West Antarctica Warming Twice as Fast as Previously Thought." UCAR via Reuters & HuffPo

By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle

OSLO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - West Antarctica is warming almost twice as fast as previously believed, adding to worries of a thaw that would add to sea level rise from San Francisco to Shanghai, a UCAR study showed on Sunday.

Annual average temperatures at the Byrd research station in West Antarctica had risen 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3F) since the 1950s, one of the fastest gains on the planet and three times the global average in a changing climate, it said.

The unexpectedly big increase adds to fears the ice sheet is vulnerable to thawing. West Antarctica holds enough ice to raise world sea levels by at least 3.3 metres (11 feet) if it ever all melted, a process that would take centuries.

"The western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought," Ohio State University said in a statement of the study led by its geography professor David Bromwich.

The warming, "raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise," it said. Higher summer temperatures raised risks of a surface melt of ice and snow even though most of Antarctica is in a year-round deep freeze.

Low-lying nations from Bangladesh to Tuvalu are especially vulnerable to sea level rise, as are coastal cities from London to Buenos Aires. Sea levels have risen by about 20 cms (8 inches) in the past century.

The United Nations panel of climate experts projects that sea levels will rise by between 18 and 59 cms (7-24 inches) this century, and by more if a thaw of Greenland and Antarctica accelerates, due to global warming caused by human activities.


The rise in temperatures in the remote region was comparable to that on the Antarctic Peninsula to the north, which snakes up towards South America, according to the U.S.-based experts writing in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Parts of the northern hemisphere have also warmed at similarly fast rates.

Several ice shelves - thick ice floating on the ocean and linked to land - have collapsed around the Antarctic Peninsula in recent years. Once ice shelves break up, glaciers pent up behind them can slide faster into the sea, raising water levels.

"The stakes would be much higher if a similar event occurred to an ice shelf restraining one of the enormous West Antarctic ice sheet glaciers," said Andrew Monaghan, a co-author at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The Pine Island glacier off West Antarctica, for instance, brings as much water to the ocean as the Rhine river in Europe.

The scientists said there had been one instance of a widespread surface melt of West Antarctica, in 2005. "A continued rise in summer temperatures could lead to more frequent and extensive episodes of surface melting," they wrote.

West Antarctica now contributes about 0.3 mm a year to sea level rise, less than Greenland's 0.7 mm, Ohio State University said. The bigger East Antarctic ice sheet is less vulnerable to a thaw.

Helped by computer simulations, the scientists reconstructed a record of temperatures stretching back to 1958 at Byrd, where about a third of the measurements were missing, sometimes because of power failures in the long Antarctic winters.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

24 December 2012 - Combining Black-Box Climate Analysis Models doesn't result in White-Box Policy output

As a preliminary to looking at the potential for destruction by positive feedback from melting perma-frost shown here & below . . .

The Carbon Budget “2016 4% Low” as in the UK Climate Act is shown above in Yellow. Also shown are potential [positive/negative] feedback gradations above & below this Carbon Emissions Budget. These are shown in Grey.

These are directly linked tonne-for-tonne by weight to the array of constant rates for the build-up or accumulation of Atmospheric Carbon Concentrations shown in Grey above. This is in view of this context of the real potential for feedback responses like this, as is shown in the imagery that follows, where the weights, dates and rates for potential CO2 release from melting permafrost for example are shown.

These response rates are shown above & below the red-line of CAF 50% of the fixed-budget [2016 4% Low] only. Above and below CAF 50% [Budget-only], this changing concentrations potential is shown by adding 40 steps of positive feedback upwards whilst also subtracting 40 steps of negative feedback downwards. All these possible concentration response rates are measured as combinations of the Carbon Budget plus the feedback rates shown above and below the budget; however, with these gradations CAF is held constant at 50% for each of the combinations of the Budget-emissions + the Feedback-emissions.

The rate of acceleration/deceleration the shape of the curvature in the concentration path is the issue, as concentrations are ‘cumulative-emissions’ and are acquiring speed and embedding momentum in that curvature.

It is essential to understand that once we get established on one of these paths, they are not easily changed, especially if increasingly dominated by the relative weight of the add-on effects of positive feedback [for example the maximum concentration path shown is the result of reaching an annual release of 4 Gt C by 2100 compared with the budget reaching near zero by that year]. This is because there is huge momentum in these rates and weights of change and these can become completely self-perpetuating i.e. beyond any 'human emissions control' through 'budget-restrictions'.

The bottom-line is that we cannot just 'switch positive-feedback off' and at worst this has the potential to trigger what is portrayed in the graphic assembly shown in the image that follows - on page two here and below - dangerous runaway [unstoppable] rates of climate change.


The United Kingdom Meteorological Office [UKMO] Hadley Centre modelled the emissions:concentrations scenario underpinning the UK Climate Act. It is called ‘2016 4% Low’ and is shown in solid Yellow at the bottom of the image above.

Contradicting research published in IPCC AR4 regarding 'coupled' and 'uncoupled' emissions:concentrations scenarios [scenarios with and without feedback], UKMO claimed to ‘have modelled all known feedbacks’ in "2016 4% Low" and they defended this assertion aggressively in a Parliamentary hearing.

It is clear that the UKMO ‘90%-ile’ curve accelerates faster than CAF 50%. This portrays rising positive feedback, or that emissions are being released increasingly in excess of ‘the Budget accumulating as concentrations at CAF 50%. However, as can be seen clearly against the 40 graduated curves of ‘constant acceleration’ [the grey lines above CAF 50% in the image on the right], their ‘positive feedback’ for their '90%-ile' curve then slows down to well below CAF 50%, even though the UKMO’s temperature curve for this scenario [not shown here] continues to rise throughout the 21st Century. This is counter-intuitive as it suggests that this rate of positive feedback will lessen though temperature is continuing to rise which would, if anything, accelerate this curve. They said that the 90%-ile concentration path was most improbable. However, the only thing that was improbable about it was the shape or the early acceleration and the subsequent deceleration of the curve. That said, the danger of getting on a concentration that accelerates to over 1100 Gt C by 2100 due to the emergence of positive feedback taking hold, is not improbable at all. On the contrary, with acceleration all the way from increasing warming and melt, it is wholly possible. It is also a cause for very great concern as graduation to runaway rates of climate change means being caught on an infinte damage curve and being unable to do anything about it.

It is clear that the UKMO median curve initially accelerates the concentration build-up from 44% to slightly over CAF 50% [2010-2020] and then falls back so fast that even concentrations are falling from 2050 onwards. This indicates the UKMO’s extraordinary view - quite unsupported by any evidence - that sinks will have become more than 100% efficient from 2050 onwards. In other words, while feedback becomes strongly negative from around 2030 onwards, it is so strongly negative by 2050 that the sinks are absorbing more than all human sources a releasing!

It is worth noting that the 'fossil-carbon' burned to the atmosphere, is not going back down the coal-mines or the oil and gas fields, it is going theoretically into the biota on land and in the oceans, where it is being re-absorbed. However, one way or another this is what the UKMO projects and it is completely unrealistic. However, when asked about this, UKMO said it was, 'entirely reasonable'.

Then, after reaching 100 sink-efficiency, their median curve indicates that feedback becomes less strongly negative. Once again, though clearly modelled and shown in their median curve, this shape is not supported by any evidence and is completely unexplained.

With regard to the potential acceleration rate of non-linear change, it is some sense unknowable. Certainly, none of UKMO's work ignoring feedback from melting permafrost, remotely approximates any of the 40 deceleration curves on the right in the image above [the grey lines below CAF 50%].

That noted, the UKMO stated that, ‘the Median curve’ is, "the most probable curve". This statement is deceptive as - it should be carefully noted - they said this whilst also assigning only 44% odds for staying below 2 degrees with this median concentration curve over their ‘2016 4% Low’ emissions scenario.

In fact, 'all' the negative and/or the positive feedbacks they claim were modelled in their 3 concentrations curves, lack consistency or any credible explanation [at least in the climate system] for the actual shape of the concentration curves that were drawn. Concealed by opaqueness, the 'assumptions' that are revealed on close analysis, at best appear arbitrary and actually defy common sense.

This is classic output from the kind of ‘Black-Box’ climate model being used by Governments to generate economic and policy-computations from what are even more contestable ‘Black-Box’ economic models [vide Garnaut]. UKMO's work on this scenario is not fit for purpose, if UNFCC-compliance is still seriously the intention.

In this it is extraordinary - it defies commons sense - that they should have: -

[a] chosen to calculate a scenario with unrealisitically optimistic assumptions about 'sink-efficiency';
[b] also to exhibit and prefer a scenario with odds that predict a failure to achieve UNFCCC-compliance at two degrees;
[c] chosen in what is acknowledged as a C&C negotiation scenario, to simply 'prescribe convergence by 2050'.

Overall, UKMO’s varying rates of acceleration & deceleration in future sink performance, present what appears as a knowledgable and detailed - but what actually is - a dubious and discreditable array of 'prescience-insights'. Doing this reveals that their analysis, far from being 'scientific, is ideologically opaque and untrustworthy.

In essence, "2016 4% Low" was a politically constructed and politically pre-emptive global-emissions-budget-scenario. It is no surprise that this created anything less of a political scandal at COP-15, than unequal life-evaluation did at COP-1 [see pp 6-10].

However, it was a surprise to dicover that the DECC Minister [Miliband] who presented this to the global community at COP-9 was so extensively ignorant of what he was dealing with and what he was actually doing throughout the whole process.

The main point surely is that UNFCCC-compliance is the primary and over-riding purpose of the exercise.

Consequently, it makes far more sense to pose a single trajectory to safe and stable concentrations and then vary the size of the contraction-budgets to reflect the varying rates of sink-performance [positive to negative feedback effects] that need to be projected due to the uncertainty about this issue that remain. This, as portrayed here for example is transparent.

Proceeding this way has to more sensible and transparent, than - as the UK Government did - to simply: -

  • ‘fix a carbon-budget’ with a ‘Black-Box climate model’ with rates of failure attached, then
  • project an arbitrary array of such arbitrarily varied rates of concentration accumulation
  • as a preliminary to generating a hydra of contestable economic computations from a range of ‘Black-Box’ economic models
  • not to mention promoting the prescriptive political fiasco as at COP-9 where
  • being able to blame the other side was arguably a deliberate feature of what was in fact a ‘planned failure’.

23 December 2012 - "Harmonic Infinities" Eclectic & beautiful blogging at Pasadena Greensward Civitas

Harmonic Infinities


Posted by L.Barlow
American Institute of Architects [AIA]
Sunday 23rd December at 1:00 AM

Proportional harmonies, the structures of Phi and the underlying quantum mechanics are the inherent patterns of the universe. Understanding these is achieved through many paths of inquiry - mathematics, music, natural science, philosophy and religious practice. They tie together as universal patterns and channels of energy, and are also expressed in the structures of music, which explains the video above.

These are inherent properties and relational structures to all things in the universe, as Einstein, Bell and Bohm discovered, and they are now beginning to be understood as parts of the whole interconnected life that nature and human society is bound by. Understanding this impact of human societies on the earth's systems is a crucial part of coming to grips with this energetic structure that plays out in nature. Its creativity and intelligence is orders of magnitude greater than our own, yet resonates with us.

As soon as we understand that in this biosphere the balance of these things is critical to life, and that there are limits to its tolerance for the degradation of extractive processes and the unbinding of carbon that took the earth millenniums to absorb, the path forward to a collective way of life that balances within the earth's natural bounds will become evident. The synchronicity of this approach is embedded in the Eden Project and its association with the C&C method of carbon reduction.

May we enter a new beginning with the understanding of the true challenges of the world before us.

21 December 2012 - Sir Bob Watson lectures at the AGU Fall Meeting San Francisco December 2012


Ecosystem & Human Well-Being
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Coordinating Lead Authors: Ian Noble, Jyoti Parikh, Robert Watson
Lead Authors: Richard Howarth, Richard J. T. Klein
Contributing Authors: Allali Abdelkader, Tim Forsyth
Review Editors: Pavel Kabat, Shuzo Nishioka

As noted, a number of different allocations schemes have been suggested.

One approach that is receiving significant attention, and is endorsed by the German Advisory Council on Global Change, is some form of contraction and convergence whereby total global emissions are reduced (that is, contraction) to meet a specific agreed target, and the per capita emissions of industrialized and the developing countries converge over a suitably long time period, with the rate and magnitude of contraction and convergence being determined through the UNFCCC negotiating process.

‘‘Contraction and Convergence’’* is a science-based global climate-policy framework proposed by the Global Commons
Institute with the objective of realizing ‘‘safe’’ and stable greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere; a ‘‘safe’’ level is defined as one that avoids dangerous anthropogenic perturbation to the climate system as defined in Article II of the UNFCCC and is to be determined through a sociopolitical process, for example, the UNFCCC. The Global Commons Institute applies principles of precaution and equity—principles identified as important in the UNFCCC but not defined—to provide the formal calculating basis of the contraction and convergence framework, which proposes: -

  • a full-term contraction budget for global emissions consistent with stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at a pre-agreed concentration maximum deemed to be ‘‘safe’’ using IPCC WG1 carbon cycle modeling;
  • the international sharing of this budget as ‘‘entitlements’’ results from a negotiable rate of linear convergence to equal shares per person globally by an agreed date within the timeline of the full-term contraction/concentration agreement;
  • negotiations for this within the UNFCCC could occur principally between regions of the world, leaving negotiations between countries primarily within their respective regions, such as the European Union, the Africa Union, the United States, etc., comparable to the current EU bubble.
  • the interregional, international, and intra-national tradability of these entitlements should be encouraged to reduce costs; and
  • as scientific understanding of the relationship between an emissions-free economy and concentrations develops, so contraction/convergence rates can evolve under periodic revision.

*For further information, see here & here & here

21 December 2012 - World didn't end [just went quiet] 4' 33'' Silent Night?' - Whimsy Christmas from John & Mary

Some gentle & witty whimsy [4' 33''] from John & Mary . . . . Happy Christmas . . . .


. . . and why the world didn't end yesterday [NASA] . . . . .


21 December 2012 - Climate Desk 2012: "The Year in Climate Insanity . . . . "
21 December 2012 - More detail on how the rate of CO2 release from PermaFrost melt can be calculated.

More detail on calculating the possible *RATE* of CO2 release from Permafrost Melt

The lined ‘grey’ areas in ‘Emissions’ and ‘Concentrations’ mathematically relate the former to the latter in forty theoretical steps downward & upwards from ‘the UK Carbon Budget’ with concentrations at CAF 50-% for 'Budget + feedback’ in each of the steps. In other words, these steps are caluclating theoretically possible rates of negative & positive feedback from the carbon-cycling process as a whole over the Century ahead..

In the cause of UNFCCC-compliance, the world might theoretically hold to the ‘2016 4% Low’ Carbon Emissions Budget [as in the UK Climate Act]. However, positive feedback in the carbon cycle - e.g. from melting permafrost - will release more CO2, as suggested here.

The highest rate of CO2 emissions:concentration calculated here, shows a steady rate of acceleration in both emissions and concentgrations across the Century ahead. By mid-Century it is clear that positive feedback could be driving the system as a whole, and driving to a point where ‘human-emission-control’ has become completely irrelevant.

There are two simple messages. If UNFCCC-Compliance is the goal, we need to: -

  1. leave fossil carbon [oil coal & gas] in the ground
  2. get on with ‘human-emissions-control’ qas quickly as possible.
19 December 2012 - Despite permafrost melt, the UK Climate Act projects *negative* [not positive] feedback!

The UK Climate Act was based on climate change modelling from the UK Met Office.
This prescribed a ‘CO2 Emissions-Contraction-Budget’ - the so-called '2016 4% Low' pathway.

With this was projected the median case on atmospheric concentrations, which they described as the most probably outcome.

The 'median case' sees concentrations falling is less than halfway through their ‘Emissions-Contraction-Budget’.
Incredibly, this means that the feedback they projected in the UK Climate Act is overall strongly negative and not positive.

They claimed this saying that all known feedbacks were ‘in their model’.
However this model ignored completely the potentially huge CO2 & CH4 potential from permafrost melt.


  • This is an early hint of one way CBAT model-animation starts measuring source-sink relations ['x' axis is 2010 - 2110].
    The Emission-Budget example here [blue solid] is UK Climate Act; the Dark Blue Lines above are CAF 50% & 100%] . . .

    Mouse-slide little blue rectangle on the right of the animation up & down to see 'risk-compensation' for . . .

  • Policy Management of Positive to High Risk of 'Climate Danger' due to strong positive feedback . . .
    To Avoid High Concentrations [above], Emissions-Contraction must be fast and low & [below] . . .

  • Policy Management of Negative to Low Risk of Danger 'Climate Danger' assuming feedback is negative . . .
    To Avoid fast and Low-Emissions-Contraction [below], Concentrations can rise [above].

19 December 2012 - "In 1990 GCI proposed C&C." Prof Zwei Yang Wuhan Uni; American Climate Change Journal

Contraction and Convergence
In 1990, the British Global Commons Institute initiative “Contraction and Convergence”, developed countries gradually reduce to per capita from the present high emission while developing countries gradually increase to the global average from the current low level emission so that the global per capita emission will converge in the target year and ultimately achieve the goal of concentration of global stability. Some scholars pro-posed the distributing method of “the Two Convergences” based on this, namely that the per capita emission of every country will converge in 2100, and the accumu-lated per capita emission will converge from 1990 to the convergence year (2100).

17 December 2012 - After one year this remains a much downloaded C&C interview in NATURE Climate Change

Composer and string musician, turned award-winning environmentalist, Aubrey Meyer tells Nature Climate Change why he is campaigning for countries to adopt his 'contraction and convergence' model of global development to avoid dangerous climate change.
Fiddling with climate change
Nature Climate Change 04 December
17 December 2012 - "C&C best possible solution to climate change & inequity." Still much read BMJ by Dr R Stott

The most feasible present framework that embraces these principles is contraction and convergence (C&C). C&C is based on the science of limits and the logic of global rights. The global total of permitted emissions is calculated so as to achieve the objective of limiting and stabilising atmospheric carbon concentrations below the level beyond which runaway climate change becomes unavoidable (presently thought to be about 400 parts per million). This calculated amount of carbon (the global carbon budget) provides the quantum from which an inclusive, global, equal rights per capita entitlement of carbon is derived; an entitlement that will go to each adult. Emissions trading can then take place within the context of this scientifically calculated carbon budget and the rights based mechanism for distribution.

The implementation of a framework founded on these principles will require tough negotiation, particularly around the speed of convergence to an equal per capita entitlement of carbon dioxide emissions, which can be no more than one and a half tonnes per person by 2050 (assuming a global population of 9 billion). Calculation of the initial carbon budget takes account of the present capacity of the global sinks: the oceans, soils, forests, and other flora that absorb CO2. If these sinks diminish, C&C enables the necessary recalculation; the contraction and convergence framework has the capacity to be modified in relation to evolving risks.

How will C&C work?
The equal per capita entitlement of carbon emissions can be pre-distributed as carbon coupons to consumers who could then negotiate the sale of these coupons. Under-consumers (generally the poor) will have coupons to sell to over-consumers (generally the rich). Market forces will work for the poor as well as to reduce carbon emissions; a key feature of the scheme. Putting the poor in control is a crucial development goal, as evidenced by the recent moves by donor agencies such as the International Red Cross to simply give cash to the poor. Recent publications testify to the efficacy of this approach. Equal entitlement under C&C has the added advantage that, in the early stages of the implementation of the framework, rapidly industrialising countries such as China, India, and Brazil (which are still relatively low per capita emitters of carbon) will be beneficiaries.

Credits (entitlements) will be issued by the global institution that oversees global sustainable development and agrees and implements C&C. C&C envisages that a greater portion of these entitlements are delivered to individuals or small collectives. This commitment can be written into the global agreements. So also can the proportion of the entitlements that would be held by the country level group to cover communal facilities such as schools and hospitals. For instance, in the UK, the proportion of carbon emitted by collective rather than individual actions is around 40%, an indication of the proportion of entitlements that the UK would hold centrally.

The widespread uptake of microcredit and the penetration of electronic communication, especially mobile phone technology, provides a route for implementing C&C in poorer countries. And although C&C encourages low carbon solutions, it does not seek to define those solutions for any particular group. The agency of individuals and communities to use resources as they think best makes C&C nonintrusive and is one of the socially attractive properties of the scheme.

No other framework quantifies allowable carbon emissions against an atmospheric CO2 concentration. No other framework allocates entitlements of this amount in a way which is to the advantage of underprivileged people in both the countries that are yet to industrialise and the rapidly industrialising countries. These unique features account for the significant level of global support for C&C, support which will be essential to getting the framework implemented. During the implementation of C&C, a period of no more than a few years, a low carbon development fund of at least $150bn must immediately be established. Much of the money could be raised by a tax on airline tickets and imposition of a $5 tax on each of the 20 billion barrels of oil used by OECD countries each year, or through the introduction of a financial transaction tax as advocated by Nobel prize winning economist James Tobin.

Time is of the essence. This is well understood by health professionals. After any serious trauma, a patient’s chances of recovery are much greater if treatment is started within one hour of the event: the so called golden hour. Our traumatised globe is nearing the end of its golden hour. For the sake of present and future generations, we have to move quickly for our interventions to successfully heal the globe. An agreement to implement C&C cannot be delayed.
Robin Stott
Contraction & convergence:
the best possible solution to the twin problems of climate change and inequity.

17 December 2012 - "C&C; Supported by many scientists & policy-makers." RIBA continues with C&C Advocacy

RIBA - "One approach to reducing GHG emissions is known as Contraction and Convergence. This involves emissions from industrialised nations reducing (contracting) and emissions from all nations converging to an overall target consistent with stabilising GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. Over time, emissions would contract and converge to an equal share per person. To achieve this equitable distribution, each of us in the UK would need to reduce our average annual carbon dioxide emissions from 10 tonnes to two tonnes. Contraction and Convergence is the science-based, global climate-policy framework, proposed to the United Nations since 1990 by the Global Commons Institute. It is supported by many scientists and policy makers, including the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution."
See here & here
RIBA Climate Change Toolkit

16 December 2012 - "At the heart of any target framework, if it is to work, must lie C&C." Roaf, Crichton, Nichol


The C&C model formalizes the objective and principles of the UNFCCC. It first proposes a reviewable global greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions 'contraction budget' targeted at a safe and stable future level for atmospheric ghg concentrations. The Internationally tradable shares in this budget are then agreed on the basis of 'convergence' fromnow, where shares are broadly proportional to Income, to a target date in the budget timeline after which they remain broadly proportional to an agreed base year if global population. Recognizing the bigger the budget, the greater the risks and that de-carbonization is further enhanced if revenue from emissions trading is re-invested in zero emissions techniques. This reduces the randomness that has dogged negotiations since 1992 over future emissions entitlements, as it resolves the conflict between the GDP-led approaches and those emphasizing responsibility for the historic build-up of atmospheric concentrations.


On the basis of precaution, and guided by the scientific evidence of the the IPCC, all governments or regionel groupings of governments jointly and severally agree to observe such an atmospheric target. With this it is possible to calculate the total diminishing amount of greenhouse gases that the world can emit for each year in the coming century. Whatever the rale chosen, C&C views this event as a whole as ‘Contraction’.


On the basis of equity, convergence means that each year'€™s ration of this global emissions budget can be shared so that each country or group of countries, progressively converges on the same allocation per inhabitant by an agreed date, for example by 2030. This recognizes the principle of globally equal rights per capita to the 'globel commons’ of the atmosphere, but achieved by smooth transition. Where countries or groups do have a diversity of natural endowments, C&C IIcknowiedges thiS 100 by embracing, for example, the EU, which operates as a unit at the international level whilst creating its own convergence arrangements.


Only emissions In excess of the tota! of permits created under C&C are not permitted ('hot-air'). Countries unable to manage within their agreed shares would, subject to the above and appropriate rules, be able to buy the unused parts of the allocations of other countnes or regions. Sales of unused allocations would give low per capita emitting countries the income to fund sustainable development in zero-emission ways. High per capita emitting countries gain a mechanism to mitigate the premature retirement of their carbon capital stock, whilst also benefiting from the export markets for renewable technologies this restructunng would create. All countries therefore benefit from more rapidly avoided global damages.


Climate change increasingly augurs potentially catastrophic losses. C&C mitigates this by integrating the key features of global diplomacy and development necessary for long-term prosperity and security. C&C synthesizes the objective and principles of the UNFCCC in a constitutional rather than a stochastic manner, so that the necessary foundation for the transition to a new growth and prosperity is specifically guideded by this agreement to the zero carbon energy technologies that make this prosperity with security possible.

  • C&C options will calculate any rates of contraction and convergence for all countries' CO2.


  • The example chosen shows global CO2 emissions reduced to 40% of 1990 output value by 2100 giving a stable atmospheric concentration of 450 parts per million of CO2 by 2100. Other contraction 'shapes' are possible for the same concentration outcome. Different rates of contraction are possible leading to different concentration outcomes but damages from climate change increase proportionate to delay.
  • The example shows global pre-distribution of contraction through linear convergence so shares are proportional to international poopulations by 2050 with figures for population growth frozed from 2050 forward. Different rates of convergence are possible and different dates of freezing populations are possible. Both of these effect the predistribution of the tradable emissions entitltements.



Another problem in trying to arrive at 'joined-up' thinking on how to reduce the impacts of climate change has been the lack of agreement on what reduction targets we should be meeting, before the question of how we meet them even arises.

The most credible method of delivering agreement on the required levels of emission reduction is that of 'Contraction and Convergence' (C&C), which has been described as looking increasingly like 'the only game in town'.

C&C, devised by Aubrey Meyer at the Global Commons Institute, is all about reducing the total global output of greenhouse gases, by gradually reducing national emissions to targets based on per capita Quotas over time. To meet the more stringent atmospheric levels over the course of the century total global emissions would have 10 drop from an average of 1 tonne of CO2 per person to below 0.3 tonnes per person over time depending on what is the final atmospheric level aimed at and how quickly it has to be achieved. C&C has the potential to smooth over the political and economic cracks that are threatening to tear down the Kyoto, and subsequent Protocols.

The convergence figures represent what it is estimated to be the carbon emissions reductions needed to stabilize climate change. The discrepancy between the reality of what we emit and what is required is being faced up to by some governments and the EU. On 23 January 2008 the EU put forward an integrated proposal for Climate Action in which a mandatory target of 20% of all energy use for the EU would come from renewables by 2020 and set a 10% minimum target for biofuels by 2020. A plethora of action plans and associated targets has been proposed and adopted by many different groups and organizations, from local communities to towns and cites, states and countries. and over the next few years we may see these coalesce into a credible coordinated attempt by humanity to put in place the implementable strategies we need, quite simply, to survive. At the heart of such a targets framework, if it is to work, must lie the notion of C&C.

David Crichton, Sue Roaf, Fergus Nichol

15 December 2012 - Calculation of *the rate* of Permafrost CO2 release against carbon-budget in 'Climate Act'
13 December 2012 - "C&C - Where RealPolitik meets RealEcologik." Director's blog Griffiths University Australia

In the wake of Doha
December 11, 2012

The 2012 U.N. climate change treaty negotiations in Doha have concluded with little to show on the mitigation front. We are no closer to solving the root cause of the problem: reducing fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide to a small fraction of the ~30 billion tonnes we currently emit each year. Unless we collectively achieve this mitigation goal, the planet will continue to heat, ice melt, sea levels rise, extreme weather events increase in frequency and intensity, and we face increasing harm to humans and nature, along with growing risks to all aspects of our economy.

In the wake of Doha, many political commentators, including major newspaper editorials, are now calling for the U.N. talks to be abandoned and for the big polluting countries to work out some kind of deal among themselves, arguing along the lines that the time has come for climate change action rather than talk. Alas, if only our world were so simple. The reality is that international relations remain dominated by short- term national self-interest, narrowly defined. Ethics – doing the right thing and avoiding harm to others including future generations – is typically understood as relevant in international affairs only up to the point it becomes inconvenient.

If human-forced climate change is to stop then we have to cease using fossil fuel. If we wish to limit global warming to around 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels then the collective human endeavour can only emit a total of about 1,000 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 60 years. If we are prepared to live with more than 2 degrees C warming then a larger amount of carbon dioxide can be emitted over a longer time period. Whatever the climate change goal, in the absence of a U.N. negotiated legally binding mitigation agreement we will be relying on voluntary commitments between the world big carbon emitters to solve the problem. Without agreement on the emission reduction target and timetable, and how the permissible emissions are to be allocated among the world’s nations, we will have to hope that the fortuitous aggregate outcome of voluntary actions by some countries magically delivers the solution.

Abandonment of the U.N. negotiations would also leave the issue of financing climate change loss and damage in developing countries to the largesse of wealthy nations such that adaptation becomes a matter of charity. Furthermore, it is politically naïve to think that the majority of the world’s population will sit by idly and leave the future of their planet to the “big boys” to play with. It would be a retrogressive step of enormous proportions to abandon the rule of law to an anarchistic-like approach and mere voluntarism. In any case, even reducing say 80% of fossil fuel emissions will not solve the problem as the remaining 20% will still over-run natural sinks leading to ongoing increasing in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations which would interfere with the global climate system for thousands of years. Mitigation is a global problem whose solution demands the cooperation of all players, big and small.

Nevertheless, U.N. climate change negotiations are in desperate need of a re-refocussing on the three primary mitigation questions which, by analogy, come down to (1) what is the size of the “global carbon pie” (the total permissible CO2 emissions) , (2) how long do we have to eat it (the year at which we achieve zero emissions), and (3) how do we divvy up the pie (allocating the permissible emissions among 7-9 billion people in 193 sovereign states)? One approach to answering these questions is called “Contraction and Convergence” (C&C) based on the total carbon budget and schedule, national allocations based on the per capita principle, with the added “justice lever” of a negotiated point in time at which national per capita emissions converge see. If agreement could be reached on these three questions, then the foundation would be in place to continue negotiations on the vast array of secondary (albeit important) issues concerning actions to reduce emissions, adapting to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, financing and technology.

At some point, the RealPolitik of international relations must meet the RealEcologik of what the Earth system can absorb. Re-focussing U.N. negotiations on the three primary mitigation questions could provide the breakthrough the world community is seeking, enabling negotiations to conform at a basic level with what planetary boundaries prescribe while delivering, to quote Aubrey Meyer the founder of C&C, “climate justice without vengeance”.

12 December 2012 - "Converge reseach inspired by C&C." SCAD & Converge to host International Conference

This February SCAD are hosting an International conference with our partners Converge Project which is an interdisciplinary research project funded by the European Union with 9 partners across 5 countries, including partners from industrialised nations such as Sweden, the UK and Iceland, transition economies such as Hungary and rapidly industrialising nations such as India.

Converge research is inspired by the concept of contraction and convergence (C&C); a suggested way to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses while promoting social equity with regards to climate change and green house gas emissions.


11 December 2012 - "C&C - well worth looking up for Climate Justice Without Vengeance." Energize Cambridge
What would a "fair global model" for emissions reductions look like? |
Energize Cambridge?

Aubrey Meyer's idea of 'Contraction and Convergence' is well worth looking up to understand how we could achieve 'Climate Justice without Vengeance' and there's a lot more information about the model here, or for an animation click here

Contraction refers to the 'full-term event' in which the future global total of greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions from human sources is shrunk over time in a measured way to near zero-emissions in a specified time-frame. The example shows 90% by 2100. Calculating future emissions contraction, looking at concentrations and sink performance, is a non-random way of responding to the objective of the UNFCCC.

Convergence refers to the full international sharing of the emissions contraction, where 'emissions-entitlements' for all countries result from them converging on the declining global per capita average of emissions arising under the contraction rate chosen. Converging at a rate to be agreed - the example shows 2030 - is a non-random way of responding to the principle of 'equity' in the UNFCCC, whilst still meeting its objective.

The Global Commons Institute [GCI] This was founded in 1990 in response to the mainstreaming of global climate change and based on the principles of 'equity' and 'survival'.

11 December 2012 - "C&C; vital to integrate into design." Assessing Building Performance, Eds Preiser, Vischer

Significant scientific work has gone into developing scenario-based studies of how much greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced globally in order to avoid the risk of destabilizing the climate. The UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP, 2000) proposed realizable targets for the control of human-induced climate change in response to estimates of CO2 emitted from the burning of fossil fuels that would lead to high risks of catastrophic alterations to the climate. For the UK, this was calculated to require a reduction of 60% of CO2 emissions by 2050 and 80% by 2100, relative to 1997 levels.

This is based on the contraction and convergence principle, proposed by the Global Commons Institute, enshrining the idea that every human is entitled to release into the atmosphere the same quantity of greenhouse gases (Meyer, 2000). The global problems are known, the macro-targets exist, and for key sectors of the building industry it is vital to integrate these pressing issues of ‘sustainability’ into the way in which we manage the design, use and disposal of our buildings.

Assessing Building Performance
Edited by Wolfgang F.E. Preiser Jacqueline C. Vischer
10 December 2012 - *See* effect of another 1.9 Trillion Tonnes of Carbon from melting Perma Frost [Science]

Click image to Download Detailed and 'Zoomable' pdf file

Extra 1.9 Trillion Tonnes Carbon from melting Perma Frost, as reported in Science [AAAS].

09 December 2012 - "C&C appealing, simple, practical, transparent." Goldman School of Public Policy Berkeley



Contraction and Convergence
Let us begin with a fair share concept that is one of the most appealing as a matter of practicality, simplicity and transparency: the 'contraction and convergence' (C&C) standard described in GCI (2005). Contraction is the process of reducing collective emissions to meet a concentration goal, e.g., 550ppm. Convergence is the process of redistributing those emissions among countries to eventually attain equal per-capita emissions. Many of the fair share methods rely to some extent on the norm of equal per-capita shares, particularly in the long-run when unequal economic circumstances across jurisdictions might be reduced and all countries developed.

Under the basic approach, one must pick a year by which all countries will agree to converge on an equal per-capita allocation. One must also choose a base (starting) year, and a global emissions target in the year of convergence. All countries’ emissions allowances then change linearly over time from their current levels to an equal per-capita share of the chosen target in the year of convergence. While for most countries this will be a gradual decline in emissions, a number of less developed countries with current per capita emissions below the target for convergence would be allowed an emissions budget that gradually rises. Some authors, including GCI, recommend using the population shares as of the base year to avoid encouraging population growth; others recommend against that, reasoning that this incentive is small compared with all the other incentives involved and that such action effectively punishes future inhabitants of countries whose current growth rates are high.

For purposes of our exercise, we set the base year at 2012 (when California’s new regulatory system goes into effect) and the year of convergence at 2050 (the target year for attaining California’s long-run goal of emissions at 20% of the 1990 level). We specify the global emissions target in 2050 at 53.11 GtCO2e, a level calculated from IPCC data on Scenario B1, which involves stabilization near 550 ppm.44 We used 2000 population levels: 6.122 billion for the world (from the same IPCC Scenario B1 Image) and 33.87 million for California from the U.S. Census, yielding a population share just under 0.6% for California.

We used the IPCC Scenario B1 Image figures for the GHGs included in the calculation of California’s emission goals (CO2, CH4, N20, CFCs, PFCs, and SF6), converting by using the global warming potentials from the IPCC Second Assessment Report (as specified in the Kyoto Protocol) into CO2e. These figures are commonly expressed in metric gigatons (Gt) and megatons (Mt), where 1 gigaton equals 1000 megatons and 1 megaton is one million metric tons (1Mt = 1mmt).

Under these assumptions, California’s emissions allowance in 2050 would be 293.8 MtCO2e. However, the Governor’s 2050 target is 20% of 1990’s 426.6 MtCO2e, for a considerably lower value of 85.3 MtCO2e. In other words, California’s actual 2050 target is a very ambitious target compared to this standard. The C&C standard would only require California to cut back to 69% of its 1990 level, whereas the adopted goal is 20% of the 1990 level. The C&C goal may seem modest only because California starts from a relatively clean position for a developed jurisdiction. In 2020, allowable emissions under C&C with the above assumptions lie along a line segment between 2012’s emissions (estimated at 537 MtCO2e) and the 2050 value, for a 2020 target of 441.9 MtCO2e. The AB32 target of 426.6 MtCO2e is again lower, albeit only slightly.

Under the assumptions above, C&C yields a total CA emissions allowance of 15.8 GtCO2e from 2012-2050. This is substantially above the 10.5-12.4 GtCO2e range from our three illustrative compliance paths. Put differently, any of the three shapes would more than satisfy environmental equity if California’s responsibility from a global perspective were judged by the C&C standard with 2050 as the date of convergence.

Of course there is nothing magical about 2050; one can imagine the date of convergence being either earlier or later and that would change the fair share calculations. We are reluctant to consider later dates because we think it critical that emissions globally are under control by this time. We do consider earlier dates, recognizing that they may be impractical (in terms of actual global accomplishment) unless new evidence propels the world to act more quickly than suggested by the most recent IPCC assessment. Moving the date of convergence forward to 2030 tightens California’s emissions allowance to 13.4 GtCO2e, still higher than any of our three illustrative paths. In the extreme case of convergence in 2012 or earlier (effectively meaning a uniform per capita standard around the globe from the outset of the program), California’s cumulative emissions allowed from 2012-2050 would be 11.0 Gts, slightly lower than the allowance produced by a linear pathway.45 We think this last calculation simply shows the aggressiveness of the California standards, as we think the likelihood of global political consensus and action around this norm is quite low.
January 2010
Intertemporal Regulatory Tasks and Responsibilities for Greenhouse Gas Reductions
By Jeffrey A. Deason and Lee S. Friedman*
Goldman School of Public Policy - University of California at Berkeley

09 December 2012 - "We support C&C" Population Matters submission to FAO post 2015 Development Agenda

We support contraction and convergence between the rich and poor, as this would tend to reduce the birth rate. Under the MDGs, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty i.e. under $1.25 per day fell by half from 1990 to 2010. However, a smaller proportion of a larger number can still be a larger number, as has happened in Africa; and it is numbers of people, not rates or proportions, that need ever-increasing food, water, soil, energy etc.
Food and Nutrition Security in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Submission by Population Matters

See the attachment: The World We Want 2015 PM response on Food and Nutrition Security.docx 

09 December 2012 - "We believe the time for C&C has come." Climate Consent

The need for a rational global climate deal

Further fossil-fuelled growth will hasten the onset of irreversible climate change. All nations should therefore give urgent consent to a binding global agreement whose principles combine science and justice and which uses the market to create financial incentives for all nations to avoid fossil fuels. Contraction and Convergence satisfies these criteria.

A logical starting point will be to use the latest scientific understanding to set a science-based target and date for a maximum concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. From this, it will be possible to calculate a finite carbon budget for future global emissions. The key negotiation at the UNFCCC will therefore focus on the principles and timescale through which this budget should be shared internationally.

We have considered many proposed frameworks for cutting carbon emissions. Other pages compare these and explain why we consider ‘Contraction & Convergence’ (C&C), developed by The Global Commons Institute (Meyer, 2000) to be the simplest, fairest, most rational, and politically acceptable basis for a binding global climate treaty. As we will show, C&C has not received the media attention, or clear political backing that it deserves, but we believe its time has come.

Climate Consent

08 December 2012 - "The time is ripe to establish C&C. Goldman Sachs & 55 eminent persons . . .

Back to Endorsements Economists
Back to Endorsements Justice Eco-Debt

"As to the finance system governance should aim at higher levels of bank capital and liquidity and at taking precautionary measures to prevent risks without endangering sustainable growth. As to national budgets the task is to reduce the increasing levels of public debt.

  1. Concerning planetary boundaries the time is ripe for identifying scientifically endorsed resource and emission caps, and for establishing reduction targets associated with these caps, Contraction and Convergence strategies.
  2. There is also a strong case for getting prices right in order to properly account for energy and material flows.
  3. As to global poverty, governance needs to reinforce the MDGs and Rio Process and deliver tangible results."

GES statement [above] and GES Advisory Board [below]


  1. Akerlof, George A. Nobel Laureate; Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
  2. Blanchard, Olivier Chief Economist, IMF
  3. Ernst, Richard Nobel Laureate; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
  4. Feldstein, Martin Professor of Economics, Harvard University
  5. Freeman, Richard Professor of Economics, Harvard University
  6. Guidotti, Pablo Professor at the School of Government and Member of the Board of Directors, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella
  7. Heckman, James Nobel Laureate; Professor of Economics, University of Chicago
  8. Krueger, Anne O. Professor of International Economics, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University; Senior Fellow, Stanford Center for International Development
  9. Lazear, Edward Professor of Human Resources Management and Economics, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
  10. Lindbeck, Assar Professor of International Economics, Stockholm University
  11. McFadden, Daniel L. Nobel Laureate; Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
  12. Naam, Moisas Editor-in-Chief, Foreign Policy Magazine
  13. Portes, Richard Professor of Economics, London Business School
  14. Rajan, Raghuram G. Professor of Finance, University of Chicago
  15. Rogoff, Kenneth Professor of Economics, Harvard University
  16. Simonsen Leal, Carlos Ivan President, Getulio Vargas Foundation
  17. Spence, Michael A. Nobel Laureate; Chairman, Commission on Growth and Development
  18. Victor, David G. Adjunct Senior Fellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations, Stanford
  19. Yu, Yongding Director, Institute for World Economics and Politics, Beijing
  20. Honorary Chairperson  Schmidt, Helmut Former Chancellor, Federal Republic of Germany

Politics  Members

  1. Ahluwalia, Montek Singh Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, India
  2. Almunia, Joaquin European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, European Commission
  3. Al Qasimi, Sheikha Lubna Minister of Foreign Trade, UAE
  4. Arthur, Sir Michael Ambassador to Germany, Embassy of Great Britain
  5. Ba , Erdem Governor, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey
  6. Borg, Anders Minister of Finance, Sweden
  7. Cabral, Antonio Jose Senior Advisor to the President, European Commission
  8. Liikanen, Erkki Governor, Central Bank of Finland
  9. m ek, Mehmet Minister of Finance, Turkey
  10. Torry, Sir Peter Former Ambassador to Germany, Embassy of the United Kingdom
  11. Turhan, Ibrahim Deputy Governor, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey
  12. Visco, Ignazio Deputy Director General and Member of the Governing Board, Central Bank of Italy
  13. Weber, Axel President, Central Bank of Germany
  14. Yamaguchi, Yukata Former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Japan

International and Non-Governmental Organizations 

  1. Cotis, Jean-Philippe Lead Director General, National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies
  2. De Geus, Aart Deputy Secretary-General, OECD
  3. El-Baradei, Mohamed Former Director General, IAEA
  4. Pachauri, Rajendra K. Nobel Laureate; Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;
    Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi
  5. Panitchpakdi, Supachai Secretary-General, UNCTAD
  6. Thielen, Gunter Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann Stiftung


  1. Banerji, Shumeet CEO, Booz & Company
  2. Browne, Lord John Managing Director and Managing Partner (Europe), Riverstone Holdings
  3. Bürkner, Hans-Paul President and CEO, The Boston Consulting Group
  4. Cleary, Sean Chairman, Strategic Concepts (Pty) Ltd
  5. Evans, Richard CEO (retd.), Alcan Inc and Rio Tinto Alcan
  6. Feldmann, John Member of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF
  7. Frenkel, Jacob A. Chairman, Group of Thirty; Chairman, J.P.Morgan Chase International
  8. Frost, David Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
  9. Haley, John J. Chairman of the Board and CEO, Towers Watson
  10. Hatzius, Jan Chief Economist, Goldman Sachs
  11. Mittal, Sunil Bharti Chairman and Group CEO, Bharti Enterprises
  12. Obermann, Ren CEO, Deutsche Telekom
  13. Regling, Klaus CEO, European Financial Stabilization Fund
  14. Schwartz, Rodney CEO, ClearlySo
  15. Walter, Norbert Managing Director, Walter & Daughters Consult
  16. Zemlin, Jim Executive Director, Linux Foundation

Back to Endorsements Economists
Back to Endorsements Justice Eco-Debt

08 December 2012 - "Post 2015 we call for new social contract based on C&C." Alasdair Roderick Huffington Post

Any post-2015 framework has to address the long-term problem of promoting development for the poorest while managing critical resource depletion and global environmental change. At present, proposals focus on one or the othr, or present an unfocused mash-up of filling in various gaps in the current MDGs. Neither development nor sustainability adequately describes the task ahead, and composite terms such as sustainable development just don't fit the bill either.

What we call for is a new social contract between nations and people based on Contraction and Convergence criteria - the mechanism underpinning the Kyoto climate protocol - which structures environmental agreements in such a way as to strike a balance between the needs of rich countries to remain economically stable and of poor countries to develop.
The Sustainable Development Goals: Confronting the Major Challenges of the Twenty-First Century
Alasdair Roderick in the Huffington Post

08 December 2012 - "The US is willing to discuss concepts of equity." Todd D Stern US Chief Negotiator

"Todd D. Stern, the senior American diplomat here, said the United States understood the impatience and frustration of its negotiating partners from the developing world. Addressing the conference on Wednesday, he said that different countries had different abilities to cope with a changing climate and to find the money to adapt. He said that the United States was willing to discuss the concepts of equity and “common but differentiated responsibilities,” terms that carry heavy emotional and historical baggage at these gatherings."

As reported in the New York Times
08 December 2012 - "Address climate change with Contraction and Convergence" Club of Rome/Nobel Cause

* This is the position of the

  • Club of Rome,
  • EU Information Society Forum
  • Ecosocial Forum Europe since at least ten years;

since at least ten years; cf. also 'Nobel Cause'.

"Carbon justice. Striving for a long-term convergence to equal-per-capita emissions rights"

08 December 2012 - US *obviously/rightly* refuses to accept unlimited liability for unlimited climate-damages.

"Loss and Damage" - Absurd stand-off on "Enhanced action on adaptation" from COP-18 Qatar

Only the global Adoption of C&C can break this deadlock.

Developing Countries demand - & the US *obviously and rightly* refuses to accept - unlimited liability for unlimited climate damages, as articulated in the UNFCCC document from COP-18 in Qatar below.

What individual party from personal to political would accept writing out a permanent blank cheque to damages increasingly caused by more and more parties? Obviously *no party* would do this.

The folly of both sides of the adversarial divide over twenty years of climate negotiations at the UNFCCC is now finally laid bare. Prevention is the primary and the only sensible option and the only way to resolve this now ludicrous argument is to agree C&C to cut emissions globally to limit the damages globally.

So the US sh/would say, "if you agree to negotiate rates of C&C with us we will agree to limited liability/assistance issues. Details will be and can only be meaningfull as a function of that headline agreement"

Recalling the commitments of Parties under Article 4, paragraphs 1(e), 3 and 4, of the Convention,

Also recalling decisions 1/CP.13, 1/CP.16, 2/CP.17, 5/CP.17, 6/CP.17 and 7/CP.17,

  • Reaffirming that adaptation is a challenge faced by all Parties, and that enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to enable and support the implementation of adaptation actions aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience in developing country Parties, taking into account the urgent and immediate needs of those developing countries that are particularly vulnerable,

  • Also reaffirming that adaptation must be addressed with the same priority as mitigation and that appropriate institutional arrangements are required to enhance adaptation action and support, Acknowledging the progress achieved under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention in enhancing action on adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change through the establishment of the Cancun Adaptation Framework,

  • Also acknowledging the progress made at the eighteenth and previous sessions of the Conference of the Parties, including the approval of the three-year work-plan of the Adaptation Committee, the implementation of the work programme on loss and damage, the process to enable least developed country Parties to formulate and implement national adaptation plans, the invitation for other developing country Parties to employ the modalities formulated to support the national adaptation plan process and the guidance on support for the national adaptation plan process,

  • 55. Decides that the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies and other bodies under the Convention will continue their work to enhance action on adaptation under the Convention, as provided for in the Cancun Adaptation Framework and relevant decisions of the Conference of the Parties;

  • 56. Also decides, in progressing such work, to give consideration to issues relating to the coherence of the action of and the support provided to, developing country Parties, the engagement and role of regional centres and networks, and the promotion of livelihood and economic diversification to build resilience in the context of planning, prioritizing and implementing adaptation actions;

  • 57. Requests the Adaptation Committee to consider the establishment of an annual adaptation forum, to be held in conjunction with the sessions of the Conference of the Parties, to maintain a high profile for adaptation under the Convention, to raise awareness and ambition with regard to adaptation actions and to facilitate enhanced coherence of adaptation actions;

07 December 2012 - Concept Overviews of C-BAT [Carbon-Budget Analysis Tool]. Work in progress.

CBAT is 'rooted in nature'

It is robust because it is rational and the 'fairness' is a function of that rationale. So before it is 'binary' [common but differentiated] C&C is 'unitary' [common] and what follows below shows an effort to organize action based on the common-good of collective self-interest. The epistemology of this arises from the sequenced procedure shown.

C&C is now laid out as the Four Domains of CBAT [the Carbon-Budget Analysis Tool].

Here is a CBAT concept graphic. The much higher data resolution and also user-friendly CBAT animation is in preparation.

A summary overview of these domains is shown here at three rates
Acceptable [C1] Dangerous [C2] Impossible [C3]

A crude and temporary mock-up of the C-BAT animation is here
A not for publication 'C-BAT development-page' is here

The detail of this work is still in progress. However, the calculating *sequence* goes from One to Four through *FOUR DOMAINS* starting with *and crucially governed by*: -

DOMAIN ONE: - Contraction and Concentrations

This domain is 'global' and deals with the 'Common Good'. It directly addresses the 'objective' of the UNFCCC [the reason why the treaty exists].

Here, the spread of changing concentration possibilities on any given future carbon-budget is mathematized in the light of certainly changing [and probably lessening] future sink-performance.

The carbon-airborne-fractions Retained/Returned' and the changes in Ocean Acidification that result from these rates will be shown as well.

NB *the numeraire in Domains One and Two is a tonne of carbon.*

The carbon in 1 part per million atmospheric
CO2 by volume [ppmv] equals . . . . . . . . . . . .


. . . 2,13,000,000 tonnes carbon or 2.13 Gigatonnes Carbon
[i.e. Gt C or 2.13 Billion Tonnes Carbon]

Conversely, 1 tonne carbon equals . . . . . . 0.00000000046948357 ppmv atmospheric CO2

Using this numeraire for both CO2 emissions & concentrations makes Carbon-Budget Analysis easily doable.
In Domains Three and Four the *the dollar-numeraire remains subject to this CBAT-numeraire.*

As things stand with CBAT model development so far, 400 different carbon-path-integrals have been computed using this numeraire. These are now being animated in a user-friendly way with all these derived details that have been quantified and this makes risk analysis of all the future rates of change much easier to compare and evaluate.

Static Concept Overview of Domain One is shown here.
Ocean CO2 deposition/acidification is not [yet] shown.
The overall animation in still in preparation.

Users are invited to select the Domain One path-integral they feel successfully relates to achieving UNFCCC-compliance and to hold this choice as they then progress through Domains two, three and four.

As twenty years of negotiations at the UNFCCC now clearly show, not proceeding in a manner governed by this sequence generates an increasingly chaotic process that is less and less governed by the demands of UNFCCC-compliance.

DOMAIN TWO: - Contraction and Convergence

This domain is international. It address the 'Common but Differentiated Good' of negotiating to share what is left in the future global carbon budget in a rational manner. For all the contraction rates in Domain One, all convergence rates are being computed and animated, again in a user-friendly way.

Population growth rates and the effect of a population base-year in the C&C accounts are addressed here. Also convergence procedures derived from C&C such as Common But Differentiated Convergence, Cap and Dividend, Cap and Share and Greenhouse Development Rights are compared with C&C.

Users are invited to select the convergence-rate they feel relates to the path-integral already chosen in Domain One and so successfully achieving UNFCCC-compliance and hold this choice through Domains three and four.

DOMAIN THREE: - Contraction and Conversion

This domain is technological and economic and explores the options for sustaining or not sustaining present levels of production and consumption. It is in essence the position where C&C without 'Green Growth' of some kind is useless, but 'Green Growth' without C&C is dangerous.

Users are invited to evaluate in the Domain subject to the choices already made in Domains One and Two.

DOMAIN FOUR: - Damages and Growth

Domain Four is really where economics is relevant. It is the domain of climate-damages versus conventional 'growth' based on Munich Re trends over the last forty years. All rates shown are functions of results and choices made in Domain One.

So users can see whether their efforts have passed the crucial test of doing enough soon enough to achieve UNFCCC-compliance. If not they can go back and re-run their analysis based on different choices being made in Domains One Two and Three.


A crude and temporary mock-up of the C-BAT animation is here
A not for publication 'C-BAT development-page' is here
An example of Domain One related to the UK Climate Act is here


07 December 2012 - "I am happy to support C&C proposal to UNFCCC." Dr Carl Knight Glasgow University

Dear Aubrey,

I am happy to support GCI's Contraction and Convergence proposal to the UNFCCC.

Best wishes,

Dr Carl Knight
University of Glasgow



What is Grandfathering?

There is a notable divide between the allocations emissions rights selected by political actors on the one hand and the allocations defended by political theorists and applied philosophers on the other. This divide is largely explicable in terms of grandfathering, the view that prior emissions increase entitlements to future emissions. Actual allocations of emissions rights, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), typically include a significant element of grandfathering, as indeed do more practically oriented proposals such as Contraction and Convergence. Yet theorists are dismissive of grandfathering, instead focusing on principles which are arc indifferent to prior emissions, or which treat them as decreasing entitlements. Moderate grandfathering can be combined with basic needs and ability to pay considerations to provide an attractive approach to allocating emissions entitlements.

06 December 2012 - Very affecting statement to COP-18 by lead Philippine negotiator. Courtesy Guardian.
06 December 2012 - "C&C the most equitable way, but self interest trumps common good." Leo Hickman Guardian

Doha climate talks: should rich countries shoulder 'responsibility' for carbon cuts?

The UN's Ban Ki-moon says rich countries should bear most of the responsibility for climate change.
Leo Hickman, with your help, investigates. Post your views below,


Leo's verdict: -

The evidence seems pretty clear cut to me: the most developed nations should, indeed, proportionately do the heavy-lifting when it comes to tackling climate change, be that mitigation or funding adaptation. It's very hard to argue against the data on historical emissions, especially when you look at it in per capita terms.

This debate gets a lot more chewy (hence 20 years of protracted international negotiations) when you then try to work out precisely what each nation should do - and over what length of time into the future, as different nations continue to develop at different rates.

Contraction and convergence does seem to be the most equitable way to do it on paper, but, sadly, self-interest tends to trump appeals for the common good at such negotiations. It looks - on current evidence, at least - that this year's gathering in Doha will achieve as much as all the climate conferences that have gone before it.


Inter Alia Leo says: -

Aubrey Meyer played a key role in developing the concept of "Contraction and Convergence" (C&C) in the early 1990s. C&C is often hailed as an elegant, fair way to bring down global emissions in that it seeks to formulate the rate at which each country reduces its emissions according to their current per capita emissions. Developing countries would be entitled to increase emissions for a period, but, over time, the aim would be for all these entitlements to converge, thus enabling a net contraction of emissions. Meyer has just sent me his thoughts: -

"At this time of COP-18, both atmospheric concentrations and emissions from fossil fuel burning are still accelerating upwards. This puts us all at increasing risk of runaway rates of climate change. To deal with this, many people agree we need a rational C&C-based agreement.

CO2 concentrations in 1995 at COP-1 were ~360 ppmv. Now at COP-18 they are ~393. This means we haved added ~70bn tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere in the last 18 years. While this is just under half the ~150 Gt C we have emitted to the atmosphere 1995 - 2012, just over a half of these emissions have returned to the now increasingly saturated 'natural sinks'. The danger of this should focus minds.

The relationship between atmospheric concentrations and emissions is 'stock and flow', like a bath and a tap. It is vital we understand that merely to decelerate the rise in concentrations, emissions rise needs to go into reverse and go downwards. In the analogy, to stop the 'concentrations-bath' from overflowing, we need to turn the 'emissions-tap' right off and we now need to do that very soon, within the next 40 years. Close analysis shows that the quantity of carbon left for burning globally during this period and successfully avoiding dangerous runaway climate change is around 200 Gt C or less.

It is also vital to understand that [a] calculating this amount and [b] how to share it internationally, are not determined by 'economic-analysis', but by the logic of 'truth-and-reconciliation', or C&C. This means rationally accounting for the tonnes of carbon [mostly fossil fuels] that we add to the atmosphere, but within the limit in the UN climate treaty to which all participants at COP-18 have agreed.

C&C in this account creates a 'framework-based-market'. It is 'climate-justice' without vengeance and can resolve the the dilemma at the heart of what has Nicholas Stern rightly calls the 'brutal climate arithmetic'. Without such a framework, 'prices' are ephemeral or even delusional at best. Quite simply, no price is too high for success, as the price of failure is greater.

So, to continue a divisive debate at this stage about 'who should pay?' for climate change is not rational as everybody - indeed the species as a whole - will pay for this failure. This echoes the words of Euripedes, "those whom the Gods would destroy they first drive mad." In a phrase, the sanity and rationality of C&C are preferable as they are fairer and cheaper."


Leo's verdict on COP-18 is that 'self interest trumps the common-good' - and he may well be right. However, virtually every negotiating party at COP-18 does now know that if that is so, then 'self-interest generates the common-bad' of increasingly dangerous rates of climate change. In other words, unless and until it is collective, self-interest is ultimately destructive.

C&C is robust because it is rational and the 'fairness' is a function of that rationale. So before it is 'binary' [common but differentiated] C&C is 'unitary' [common] and what follows below shows an effort to organize action based on the common-good of collective self-interest. The epistemology of this arises from the sequenced procedure shown.

C&C is now laid out as C-BAT - Carbon-Budget-Accounting-Tool.

Here is a concept graphic

A summary overview of these domains is shown here at three rates
Acceptable [C1] Dangerous [C2] Impossible [C3]

The detail of this work is still in progress. However, the calculating *sequence* goes from One to Four through *FOUR DOMAINS* starting with *and crucially governed by*: -

DOMAIN ONE: - Contraction and Concentrations

This domain is 'global' and deals with the 'Common Good'. It directly addresses the 'objective' of the UNFCCC [the reason why the treaty exists].

Here, the spread of changing concentration possibilities on any given future carbon-budget is mathematized in the light of certainly changing [and probably lessening] future sink-performance.

The carbon-airborne-fractions Retained/Returned' and the changes in Ocean Acidification that result from these rates will be shown as well.

NB *the numeraire in Domains One and Two is a tonne of carbon.*
In Domains Three and Four the *the dollar-numeraire remains subject to that.*

As things stand with C-BAT model development, 400 different carbon-path-integrals have been computed with this numeraire. These are now being animated in a user-friendly way with all these derived details that have been quantified and this makes risk analysis of all the future rates of change much easier to compare and evaluate.

Users are invited to select the path-integral they feel successfully relates to achieving UNFCCC-compliance and to hold this choice as they then progress through Domains two, three and four.

DOMAIN TWO: - Contraction and Convergence

This domain is international. It address the 'Common but Differentiated Good' of negotiating to share what is left in the future global carbon budget in a rational manner. For all the contraction rates in Domain One, all convergence rates are being computed and animated, again in a user-friendly way.

Population growth rates and the effect of a population base-year in the C&C accounts are addressed here. Also convergence procedures derived from C&C such as Common But Differentiated Convergence, Cap and Dividend, Cap and Share and Greenhouse Development Rights are compared with C&C.

Users are invited to select the convergence-rate they feel relates to the path-integral already chosen in Domain One and so successfully achieving UNFCCC-compliance and hold this choice through Domains three and four.

DOMAIN THREE: - Contraction and Conversion

This domain is technological and economic and explores the options for sustaining or not sustaining present levels of production and consumption - it is in essence the position where C&C without 'Green Growth' of some kind is useless, but 'Green Growth' without C&C is dangerous. Users are invited to evaluate in the Domain subject to the choices already made in Domains One and Two.

DOMAIN FOUR: - Damages and Growth

Domain Four is really where economics is relevant. It is the domain of climate-damages versus conventional 'growth' based on Munich Re trends over the last forty years. All rates shown are functions of results and choices made in Domain One. So users can see whether their efforts have passed the crucial test of doing enough soon enough to achieve UNFCCC-compliance. If not they can go back and re-run their analysis based on different choices being made in Domains One Two and Three.


Helpless and powerless on climate change

Letter to The Guardian from Dave Bradney, Thursday 6 December 2012 21.00 GMT

Anne Karpf says she feels confused and helpless in the face of climate change (You can't ignore this, 1 December), "and seems inclined to blame herself for this. But in a week when we have yet another apocalyptic warning about unsustainability (World 'on collision course with nature', OECD green growth report warns, 4 December), while the chancellor gets set to authorise up to 40 more gas-fired power stations (Osborne's gas plan will harm economy, says energy adviser, 5 December), who could reasonably be blamed for feeling confused and/or powerless?

Meanwhile the international climate change talks meander pointlessly on, radiating an eerie feeling that their processes were actually designed to achieve stasis. Even this paper's green guru George Monbiot has despaired (Now we know. Governments have given up on the planet, 26 June). Worse still, the only coherent mechanism for addressing the problem � contraction and convergence � remains mostly shunned by the powers that be and reviled by the major environmental non-governmental organisations. It's too late now, anyway. Confused? Understandably. Powerless? Undeniably."

Dave Bradney Llanrhystud, Ceredigion

05 December 2012 - "C&C - The only just and sustainable solution." Planetary Emergency, Monthly Review

"It follows that the downsizing of ecological footprints to get the world back in accord with environmental limits must necessarily fall very disproportionately on the rich capitalist countries. The only just and sustainable solution is one of contraction and convergence, whereby global per capita carbon emissions and ecological footprints are equalized, along with the elimination of unequal ecological exchange."
The Planetary Emergency Wednesday
December 5th, 2012
John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark

05 December 2012 - "Golden Spiral" in 1. Nebula 2. Hurricane Sandy 3. Nautilus Shell 4. Particle Decay 5. Galaxy


04 December 2012 - "Why it is so important that everyone gets behind C&C." Tim Smit CEO the EDEN Project


"How appropriate on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin that I should be standing here in front of the Eden Dome - itself a monument to high technological achievement - and be talking about why it is important that everybody in the world gets behind Contraction and Convergence [C&C].

I don’t say things like this lightly. I am not really one for hyperbole or strange religious motivations. What I find is important is that my whole life experience has taught me that things that have proportionality to them, that have melody to them, that are profoundly simple, usually have something right going for them. And secondly that you can judge an idea by the quality of the enemies it gets and there have been some profound enemies for C&C, which is based on an understanding that perhaps there is something of the night about it; there is something not properly scientific.

Well actually it is, it is totally scientific and more important than that it has blended something the age of reason was never able totally to do which is blending the empiricism of it with ‘soul’; the quite obvious rightness of a system that apportions to every person on earth a carbon contract that it theirs to dispose of over a period of time to create a parity that enables us to live one with another in a way that enables us to actually be connected to the earth itself in terms of being able to make us live with the grain of nature and not apart from it.

I have yet to hear anyone provide an argument that makes it ethically unsound, however uncomfortable they may feel about it. I have yet to find someone who can scientifically disprove the work of Aubrey Meyer. All I have heard is male testosterone-led vanity. And I would ask anyone watching this whether you are not actually standing at the moment when we are going to have to reduced carbon by a phenomenal amount over the next forty years – 80% is some people’s guess, but if you look at the figures, it may be far less than forty years. We’re going to have to have tactics in place to deal with it or else we’re not going to be worthy of the name ‘homo sapiens’ - what a joke the wise hominid . . . are we?

If we are truly wise we will actually realize the rightness of the mathematics of it, the rightness of the ethics of it and actually understand that even if it is slightly flawed, which I don’t think it is, even if it is, it is so far better than anything else that has been put on offer, that we should actually go with it simply on the precautionary method because at least along the path towards it, those little glitches that need to be ironed out, can be.

But the first thing is a statement of commitment and conviction that we truly are worthy of the name that we gave ourselves. That is why I return to Charles Darwin. Evolution was the most unpopular theory there was. The amount of people who came out on the streets and said we’re not descended from apes, you know, adaptation . . . and they said that adaptation was rather clever – the survival of the fittest that actually makes us top-chaps actually in authority, there’s a biological reason . . . Well let me tell you – if we can’t sort this out, if we can’t embrace C&C, the biological reason will have shown why we are redundant.

Wake up. Support this. Be excited. Know you are living at a time in history that is as important – if not more so - as the dawning of the Renaissance."
Tim Smit Chief Executive and Co-Founder of the EDEN Project


04 December 2012 - "The extraordinarily attractive power of C&C." Exquisite visionary insight from Permavegan


The Golden Section - the 'Eden-Seed' - at the heart of quantum consciousness, generates deep and exquisite visionary insights about C&C from Jonathan Maxson of Permavegan. They go well beyond the beyond the bouquets and brickbats routinely cast around Billboard-C&C.

2007-06-11 Seed Installation Eden

The Permavegan blog - and it is prolific - is Alpine in its scope and epic in its struggles. It is a light that shines in the darkness of the global changes that now threaten the entire human project.

"If we are serious about the prevention of runaway global warming, we simply have to begin with C&C as our seed framework of negotiation for a post-2015 international climate stabilization agenda. For me, the extraordinarily attractive power of C&C is likewise found in its profoundly multidimensional proportionality."

A Maxson-Meyer-Tarnas Natal Seed Synchronicity

03 December 2012 - "C&C - "This idea hasn't ocurred to our leaders." Vegan for the Earth

Recycling, greenwash and other rubbish ideas.

November 30, 2012

According to those who purport to be our leaders, recycling is a panacea for our wasteful ways. All we need to do is move from burying our waste in the ground to reintegrating it into the industrial cycle and all will be well. This is errant nonsense for several reasons. Granted, reusing waste as raw material for new goods will somewhat reduce the demand for new materials from the Earth. However, in the context of an expanding global economy, this becomes meaningless. The demand for raw materials from whatever source is insatiable and all that the recycled goods do is help to meet this increase. So long as levels of production and consumption continue to rise, the process of recycling will remain just another part of the industrial process that is destroying life on Earth.

Political leaders are the problem and not the solution. Their only concern is to protect the interests of business in pursuit of economic growth. Their fondness for the idea of recycling is based on the fact that it contributes to this. Only if it were used as an entry point into an entirely new and different concept would it start to be a better thing. This new concept would be a massive contraction and convergence of the global economy and personal wealth, a move towards a world in which their ethos was respect for the Earth, not the acquisition of unlimited material wealth. Unfortunately, this idea does not seem to have occurred to our self seeking so called leaders. Instead, they mumble warm words about recycling and alternative energy sources, whilst devoting all their efforts to driving forward the global greed machine that grinds the Earth into money, and kills everything that gets in its way.

These “greenwash” policies are akin to putting a sticking plaster on an amputation, and are entirely unsuited to the need to respect the Earth. If political leaders are too venal or too cowardly to tell us what needs to be done, then we will have to tell ourselves. The best way we can do that is to reject their policies in favour of our Vegan values. That we are right is already virtually impossible to contradict. The weight of evidence of the precarious position in which we have placed the future of life on Earth is now overwhelming. If the state continues to refuse to acknowledge this, or to take action, then it will have abrogated any right to rule and we will have to find ways of running our own affairs.

The rule of the state through the enforcement of laws is a mixture of subterfuge and brute force. Their right is derived mainly from our acquiescence, as rulers have previously realised when the tolerance of the people has been exceeded. The big difference now is that far from wishing to rise up in pursuit of material wealth, our strength lies more in what we choose not to do. A refusal to participate in the economic feeding frenzy will eventually bring a reaction. It is this reaction that we seek as it will enable us to engage fully in the struggle for a fairer and more just world, a world based on the ideals of respect for the Earth and all the other life it generates and sustains.

As Vegans, our greatest weapon is our integrity. If we can bring our lives into accordance with this integrity, we will place in a position of shame all those who treat the Earth with contempt. This may not seem likely to achieve much, but shame can be a powerful weapon, because it tends only to afflict those who know in their hearts that they are wrong. Although there will be those beyond changing, if they can be reduced to a sufficient minority their actions can be controlled. However, this will not happen unless there are sufficient of us in the vanguard of the Vegan movement to set the necessary example.

As far as recycling is concerned we should do it. But only as part of the process of moving toward living on what we really need and not on what we used to want. The amount of goods already in circulation and available might well go a long way toward providing our reasonable needs. Puritan austerity is neither advocated nor necessary, just the implementation of reasonable common sense. Pleasure is as important as purpose to a fulfilled life, for what would be the point otherwise?

Rather than industrial recycling let’s move towards exchanging and reusing. If something is useful what does it matter that it is not new? Let’s develop a sense of shared Vegan purpose by sharing what we have with others. From our present position as passive participants in the global greed machine, we can move toward lives that are utterly different in their motivation and, therefore, in their quality. When we do this we will have those who would be our leaders sitting up to take notice, for they need us much more than we need them.

03 December 2012 - "Phanstasy Politics to avoid Speed & Violence? C&C the simplest formula." Fred Pearce

Big developing nations like China and India may have high national emissions. But measured in ratio to population, their emissions remain low.

While the U.S. and Australia emit around 5.5 tons of carbon a year for every citizen, and European countries average around 3 tons, China is still around 1 ton, and India below half a ton. Developing countries feel they are being asked to forego economic development to help clean up a mess they did not create. On the other hand, they increasingly see that climate change threatens their prospects for economic development. The only solution is to institute a rationing system for pollution entitlements, based on a shared view of fairness.

Perhaps the simplest blueprint is contraction and convergence. Developed by a small British group called the Global Commons Institute, it is attracting support around the world. The contraction half of the formula would establish a rolling program of annual targets for global emissions. The targets would begin roughly where we are today, and would fall over the coming decades. They would be set so as to ensure that the atmosphere never passed whatever limit on carbon dioxide concentrations the world chose.

The convergence half of the formula would share out those allowable global emissions each year according to population size. So national targets might begin at about 1 ton of carbon per person and then fall to maybe half a ton by 2050 and to that much less again by 2 100, depending on the global target chosen. Of course, at the start that would leave rich nations with too few permits and many poor nations with more than they needed. So they would trade. The costs of buying and selling pollution licenses would be a powerful incentive for a global cleanup.

Fantasy politics? Maybe. But something on this scale will be needed if we are to prevent climatic disaster. And if the rich world wants the poor world to help clean up its mess, and save us all from dangerous climate change, then some such formula will be needed.

With Speed and Violence
Fred Pearce


03 December 2012 - "C&C shows the industrial world how to bear the lion's share." ENBO Report

To constrain global temperatures within tolerable bounds, global emissions of greenhouse gases have to decrease rapidly, breaking the trend of the past 200 years. We, in the industrialized parts of the world, bear the main responsibility for the climate change that will happen over the next 50 years. We must therefore bear the ‘lion’s share’ of the reductions.

The principle of contraction and convergence sets goals of per capita emissions, by which poor nations are allowed to increase their emissions up to a globally agreed norm, and to which we have to reduce ours. This also puts special responsibilities on the emergent economies of China, India and Brazil. They will take over as the main agents of climate change in the second half of this century if, in embracing the industrialization and lifestyles that our Western project of modernity have offered, they also copy our model of nature as a resource to be consumed.

The fifth model is presented to seek a balance between intervention and conservation in their own contexts that do not merely repeat our sorry ecological history with analogous mistakes. Climate change provides both the urgency and the opportunity to do better; merely doing as badly as we have in the past is not an option for anyone any more.

We face an environmental race to the bottom if the ownership model, as expressed in terms of competitive economic pressures and gross domestic product, remains the prime determinant of how we treat nature and intervene technologically.

A final issue concerns our humanness. If we pursue technological progress without limits, are we losing something vital in our humanity that would be difficult to regain? If, because of the pressures of the dependencies that we have set up, we are unable to say ‘no’ to any technological development, is our humanity diminished?

Many years ago, the Catholic priest and academic Romano Guardini (1885–1968) reflected on the loss of harmonious landscapes beside Lake Como in Italy through the brute insensitivity of the “logic of the formula”, rather than respecting human and natural connectedness.

His response was not to retrench, but to ask how we might make our technology more human in the future and what limits we must apply to do so (Guardini, 1994). Faced with climate change, human enhancement and much else, some answers are needed sooner rather than later.

Science & Society
How sustainable are we? Facing the environmental impact of modern society
Donald Bruce

03 December 2012 - "Transition already seen with campaigns like C&C." Civil Society Futures - Carnegie Trust

The Shape of Civil Society to Come

The so called ‘green value shift’, towards more sustainable and less resource-intensive social and economic models, has been evolving since the 1960s. It represents one of the long waves of social change. It accelerated in the 1980s, as the climate change science started to be understood, and has accelerated again in the past decade, both because climate change has become a more pressing issue, and also because resources are starting, in some areas, to become visibly scarcer as a result of greater global competition for them. Civil society associations, from political parties to single issue campaigns, have been at the forefront of this shift, in promoting awareness and confronting policies which damage the environment.

The current wave of environmental activism has put new energy into some parts of civil society, both at a global and at a local level. Some participants in the Inquiry workshops saw this as inevitably continuing, and argued that civil society in its associational form would certainly benefit as a result (i.e. more people uniting to address a common purpose). And it can be argued that civil society prospers most when there is an ideological challenge to the dominant social model. However, it also seems possible that over the next two decades the role of civil society associations may change, from an oppositional model to one which is about building systems for sustainability.

Given the scale of the challenge and the fact that civil society associations alone cannot resolve climate change, it is likely that there may be further blurring of the three sectors (civil society, the state and the market) in the interests of sustainable development. This transition is already being seen in some local campaigns such as the Transition Towns movement in the south-west of England and some global campaigns such as Global Contraction and Convergence.

Another question raised by the challenge of sustainability is who speaks in the interests of future generations?

Geoff Mulgan
Chair of the of the Commission for the Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society in the UK and Ireland
Published by the Carnegie Trust

03 December 2012 - "Equitable Down-Sizing - C&C describes the process." Candadian Centre Policy Alternatives

The recent Second International Degrowth Conference at Barcelona attempted to answer the question: "What will it look like?" Bringing together a plurality of approaches and creativity, and building on the findings of the first international conference in 2008, the 500 participants responded. Some of their suggestions follow.

The concept of sustainable degrowth has evolved over several decades from numerous sources including: Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation, decrying the embedding of social relations within the dominant economic system and applauding the consequent emergence of social defence mechanisms; the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth; Georgescu-Roegen’s application of the law of entropy to economics; and Herman Daly’s Steady State Economy based on no-growth.

Barcelona’s Autonomous University (co-host of this conference with the University of Barcelona) counts J. Martinez-Alier as a faculty member; his latest publication, Beyond GDP lies economic degrowth, addresses the increasing pressure on the environment and on human livelihoods at the “commodity frontiers.”

York University economics professor Peter Victor, in his presentation Managing Without Growth, explores low-growth and no-growth scenarios, using a “dynamic simulation model.” He argues that economic growth in developed countries “is neither necessary nor sufficient for meeting specific policy objectives such as full employment, no poverty, and protection of the environment.”

It is understood that downsizing production, consumption, and pollution will result in less economic activity. Two occurrences might attenuate this: in a more equitable society, some currently unpaid services would be paid, boosting employment; additionally, new employment opportunities would be created when social and ecological priorities are respected, particularly at the local level.

The terms “contraction and convergence” describe the process: the first would limit inputs to production according to ecological constraints; the second calls for a more equitable distribution of entitlements to natural resources. This is the double dividend of degrowth.

Equitable downsizing of economic activity, when it is chosen and not imposed, involves a shift in focus to local territory where people's needs can best be determined. Meeting these needs, preferably with locally produced goods and services, is expected, and import substitution encouraged. Only excess produce should be exported, reducing export transportation costs and the destabilizing effect of dependence on foreign trade as a significant component of the economy.

02 December 2012 - "The Spirit of 1848 - C&C framework of note to address deprivation & excess." US PHA Conf

American Public Health Association
141st Annual Meeting "Think Global, Act Local: Best Practices Around the World"
Boston, MA, November 2-6, 2013

Abstracts are due on FEBRUARY 5, 2013 with abstract submission opening on Friday, December 14, 2012.

All relevant instructions can be found at the APHA abstract submission website
For pdf version of the call for abstracts click here

Spirit of 1848 and the Politics of Global Climate Change: Social Justice, Sustainable Economies & Ecologies, and Health Equity A Call for Abstracts. The call has 3 sections where we: -

  • present our program theme: “The Politics of Global Climate Change: Social Justice, Sustainable Economies & Ecologies, and Health Equity”;
  • provide the rationale for our program theme; and
  • provide the specific details for the call for abstracts for each of our 5 Spirit of 1848 sessions (4 oral sessions; 1 poster session), which together address the 3 foci of our caucus, pertaining to the inextricable links between social justice and public health, as manifested in:

(1) the politics of public health data,

(2) the social history of public health, and (3) progressive pedagogy.

The Politics of Global Climate Change: Social Justice, Sustainable Economies & Ecologies, and Health Equity The theme of the 141st annual meeting of APHA, November 2-6, 2013, in Boston, MA, is “Think Global, Act Local: Best Practices Around the World.” We have decided that to address this theme, we want all of our sessions to raise the challenge – including to ourselves – of an immense critical issue that intimately links the global & the local, with profound implications for equity, economic policies, political priorities, and public health: that of global climate change.

Our sense is that public health discussions regarding critical links between global climate change, health equity, economic systems, political systems, and social justice, are in their very early stages. Key issues include:

  • how to meet the material and energy needs of the myriad people on this planet subjected to economic deprivation, as differently experienced and prevalent in low-, middle-, and high-income countries, while at the same time
  • reduce the excessive material consumption and energy use in economically wealthy nations whose ways of living have been constructed by dominant economic and political systems to consume resources and energy at levels that are not sustainable for well-being on this planet.

Of note, one framework raised in the environmental literature for approaching these intertwined issues of deprivation and excess is that of “contraction and convergence.” The overall goal is to: -

  • raise the energy use of people subjected to economic deprivation to levels needed for sustainable meaningful and healthy lives, and simultaneously
  • reduce the excessive energy use of those who use way more so that it contracts down and converges to this same sustainable and healthy level of energy use.

UNFCCC C&C Submission - Support for Submission