News May 2012

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29 May 2012 - Civitas dedicate blog to 'clear & rational' C&C - "a very transparent and fair methodolgy."

Full article here - "A Fair Consensus" by Laurie Barlow

In support of the Contraction and Convergence submission to the UN Climate Negotiations (UNFCCC) in February of this year by Aubrey Meyer (in video above) of the Global Commons Institute, I'm dedicating this post to the implementation of its framework.

This climate agreement model is a very transparent and fair methodology for setting the framework for convergence of carbon emission containment and regenerative ecological habitation by all countries. It is a very clear and rational approach based upon per capita allowances. It's a necessary step because the timeline to reduce human carbon emissions to zero is only 50 years, due to recent documented changes in the climate system.

Double-Jeopardy of unsustainable growth of human population demands and concomitant increased costs of climate damage is a very clear risk model, and it's shared by every country on the globe. It's the limit to growth problem, and the methods by which this risk is contained are grounded in the rapid evolution of renewable energy, conservation and ecological recovery. These things are eminently doable, as is evidenced by the rapid development of net-zero strategies by the building industry, and the capability for rapid energy production transformation as outlined by the Rocky Mountain Institute. Many regional projects around the globe have already regenerated their rivers, forests and resources as part of their development.

The costs of the impact of climate change, as the financial community has observed through its re-insurers, are running well ahead of rate of growth of the global economy. This creates destructive economic as well as physical vectors and generates a future of great uncertainty for all countries. Destabilization of climate, food and water supplies, energy and resources come as an ultimate price of unchecked growth, placing this huge cost upon every country on the planet. Thus the argument that carbon emissions can continue going forward is shown to be utterly destructive to all human societies and living systems by the projections in this model.

Therefore the choice is not whether to agree, but how swiftly this method needs to be put into place. The sooner it is achieved, the better the future is for all countries, and the damage to human life, as well as to all life and ecological systems can be minimized both economically and in terms of resources.

This is a shift in the idea that human existence requires continuous expansion; rather it focuses on the quality of life on earth and the idea that a less mechanistic existence requires fewer resources and fosters the regeneration of that which supports life for all. Human suffering and extinction of natural processes are not rational choices under this model, which is something that can be agreed to in principle very quickly by all countries; the stakes are clear. 

How this is achieved is left up to individual countries and fostered by ability of low-emission countries to create value for their renewal strategies and low carbon levels. This creates an incentive game where this value is sought after, thus creating a market for non-emission of carbon. It's the inverse of how fossil-fueled capitalism works now, but uses the same kind of fiscal incentives, and creates an entire new paradigm for human existence within the natural world that stabilizes the future and allows the earth to regenerate.

28 May 2012 - "Luxury vs Survival emissions emphasize need for C&C" Bangladesh Centre Advanced Studies

Luxury vs. Survival Emissions:

Luxury emissions are different from survival emissions, which emphasizes the need for a strategy of contraction and convergence, whereby rich countries rapidly reduce emissions and poor countries can increase emissions to achieve health and development gain, both having the same sustainable emissions per person.

Youth Think Tank on Climate Change and Health
“Protecting human health from climate change”
24 May, 2012 - Dhaka

Dr. Atiq Rahman
Executive Director: Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS)
Chairman: Climate Action Network – South Asia (CANSA)
Visiting Professor: Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy , Tufts University and Harvard
University, Boston, MA, USA

25 May 2012 - Very hard hitting C&C article by Judith Deutsch President of Science for Peace Toronto

So, what is our fundamental philosophy?

President's Letter: Climate Justice, Contraction and Convergence, and Eliminating GHG Emissions

by Judith Deutsch

Barak Obama “You have my word that we will keep drilling everywhere we can” (March 22, 2012)

Nnimmo Bassey “Delaying real action until 2020 is a crime of global proportions….An increase in global temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan [Durban], is a death sentence for Africa, Small Island States, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide.”

There is a children’s story entitled “It Could Always be Worse.” In it, a peasant father complains to a rabbi about the misery of his very crowded and noisy house. Each day the rabbi advises the father to take yet another farm animal into the house and the peasant becomes ever more overwhelmed. Finally the rabbi suggests removing all these additional animals and the peasant is very grateful for the wise advice for he feels his house is no longer crowded. Perhaps charming, this is also a tale of wishful positive thinking, stupidity, manipulation – no one actually has to work at getting along with each other.

There are parallels in the past half century of history: the United Nations, reacting to the horror of the Second World War (“it couldn’t be worse”), committed to end all wars and shortly thereafter invaded Korea, killing at least three million civilians and destroying the country’s entire infrastructure. Two horrific atom bombs heralded the real possibility of human-caused human extinction, but then the nuclear-armed states assumed control of the United Nations and built tens of thousands of much more lethal nuclear weapons. By 1990, it was well-known that accelerating greenhouse gas emissions threatened human existence, but the powers-that-be orchestrated an enormous increase in emissions.

One difference from the parable of the rabbi is that for the new ministers of prosperity and death, all this additional military power and energy production “couldn’t be better.” The really appropriate children’s story is “Where the Wild Things Are” – in order to provide life’s basic necessities, namely food and shelter and human relatedness, monstrous behaviour has to stop.

Yet, when it comes to climate change, the predominant measures of adaptation, or of partial and gradual substitution of energy sources in limited sectors, does not mean “stop”.

Here are several propositions:

  1. Stopping needs to start with the largest emitters, resulting in a substantial and immediate decrease in demand. This step entails radically reducing and eliminating whole sectors whose emissions are exempt under Kyoto: the military, international aviation and international shipping. Steep reductions are required in industrial agriculture2 and in the use of the most energy-intensive materials like cement and steel. This would necessitate rigorous measurement of lifecycle emissions and the rationing of greenhouse gas emissions to the projects that are most essential for public health. The practice of substituting energy sources generally leaves out life cycle analysis and externalities. Overestimating the effectiveness of energy substitution derails identifying and eliminating the major emitters. For example, the energy cost of hybrid cars (considered a plausible adaptation and mitigation measure) should include the manufacturing process, the car’s material (mining, transportation of parts), the electronic components, and externalities. According to  Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute, the addition of 12 million cars each year consumes, in new roads, highways, and parking lots, roughly 1 million hectares of land, enough to feed nine million people if it were cropland, and he adds that most highways are located on the best cropland. There is also the socioeconomic inequity of government rebates to the affluent purchaser vs. decreased funding for public transportation which then increases incentive to use private cars.

  2. Contraction and Convergence of per capita greenhouse emissions was first researched by Aubrey Meyer and then described by George Monbiot in Heat. Here are concise definitions of contraction and convergence from the website Global Commons Institute:

    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 zeroemissions within a specified time-frame ….Calculating future emissions contraction, looking at concentrations and sink performance, is a non-random way of responding to the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

    Convergence refers to the full international sharing of the emissions contraction-event, where the '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.
    Negotiating the rate of convergence is 'the main equity lever'.

    Ian Angus and Simon Butler4 explain a crucial point in calculating per capita emissions by looking at the case of Ira Rennert (p. 166-169): “Quantitative increases in income lead to qualitative changes in social power exercised not through consumption but through ownership and control of profit-making institutions.” Rennert owns 95% of the Renco Group which includes mining subsidiaries. “As a consumer he lives an excessively wasteful life. But as a chief executive officer (or CEO), he holds responsibility for toxic sites identified by Green Cross as one of the ten worst polluted places on earth. “As a CEO he has shortened the lives of tens of thousands of people and laid waste to entire ecosystems….As a capitalist, he has power over the way that other people live—and the way they die. That fundamental difference can’t be reduced to too many people consuming too much.”

Some considerations: -

The military takes climate change seriously, and this is ominous. The military is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and for this reason alone it should be dismantled. In his article “NATO: The Military Enforcement Wing of the West’s 1%”5, Rick Rozoff quotes from NATO chief Rasmussen’s article “Piracy, cyber-crime and climate change – bringing NATO and insurance together” and from NATO’s new guiding charter, the Strategic Concept. Fifteen of seventeen NATO issues have to do with climate change. The Pentagon Report (2003) on climate disaster proposes the development of “tuneable lethality” to deal with millions of displaced people. The US Department of Defence should plan “no-regret (military) strategies” for worst-case global warming events, to start “building a virtual wall around its national boundaries, restricting the movement of people into the country, developing technologies of political control, and preparing for increased threats from nuclear war.”

It’s critical to look unflinchingly at the whole picture. Resources are available to make radical changes without endangering our biosphere or causing premature human death, and there are plenty of necessary jobs in the water, food, and shelter sectors worldwide if people are to survive. But rapid shifts are required in an increasingly precarious socio-political situation. Necessary reform of banks, the electoral system, laws, redistribution of wealth, labour protection and job creation, etc. will not in themselves reduce emissions unless bound by the contraction and convergence “acceptable risk” budget (p. 40, Meyer).

The narrowing time frame requires real results: the B.C. carbon tax is regressive and coincides with the push for tar sands pipelines and expansion of coal mining in B.C. According to a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) report (June 24, 2008), “the richest 10% of Canadians create a bigger ecological footprint – a whopping 66% higher, than the average Canadian household”. Have the wealthy and powerful reduced emissions because of the carbon tax? There is much smoke and mirrors. A recent British report airbrushed emissions from outsourced manufacturing and transport and from British offshore investments (not to mention the Kyoto exempt emitters). Climate change’s most dangerous impact will be on food and water. The World Bank report on dams received much acclaim but no reactions when it was not adopted by the World Bank. Bill S-8 is supposed to provide safe drinking water in First Nations communities but there is no funding for adequate infrastructure, no regulations, no staff training -- hot air and no water. “

The technological fix is a mantra, too for [the] traditional power-money-knowledge nexus: a largely university-based scientific establishment… the group also has at its core leading environmental NGOs.” (p. 14, Levene and Cromwell). At its core the nexus is detached from the human victim side of this catastrophe. Climate change and its human impact is not an integrated piece of knowledge: here at the University of Toronto are large cement and steel building projects, monuments to the very corporate donors who treat human societies and their environments despicably – and the university library still does not carry James Hansen’s book Storms of My Grandchildren [there is a copy at St. Michael’s College library but not at the Gerstein Science library or the Earth Sciences Library—editor’s note]. Christian Aid warned that by 2050 as many as one billion people could be refugees because of water shortages and crop failures. The political writing on the wall is that billions of people are dispensable. “The only logical response has to be one not of incremental but of revolutionary change; revolutionary, that is, without precipitating nations, societies, and  communities worldwide into unmitigated and ultimately suicidal violence against each other”(Cromwell and Levene p xi): a global commons based on the principle of equity in the basic resources essential for life.

Judith Deutsch is the President of Science for Peace.

24 May 2012 - Media Lens aim: - "Increase rational awareness, critical thought & compassion;" support C&C

Hello Aubrey,

Apologies for not making sure my name was on the list yes please do add me.

All the best


David Cromwell
Media Lens

We accept the Buddhist contention that while greed, hatred and ignorance distort reason; compassion empowers it. Our aim is to increase rational awareness, critical thought and compassion.

Our goal is not at all to attack, insult or anger individual journalists, but to highlight significant examples of systemic media distortion that are the cause of immense suffering. For example: the failure to communicate the true death toll of the war in Iraq; the hypocrisy and destructiveness of media reporting on climate change; the failure to expose the real consequences of corporate psychopathology for modern society, sanity and culture.

Our hope is that by so doing we can challenge harmful delusions. In the age of global warming and globalised exploitation these delusions threaten an extraordinary, and perhaps terminal, disaster. We hope that this website will help to turn bystanders into compassionate actors. As historian Howard Zinn wrote:

"Society has varying and conflicting interests; what is called objectivity is the disguise of one of these interests - that of neutrality. But neutrality is a fiction in an unneutral world. There are victims, there are executioners, and there are bystanders... and the 'objectivity' of the bystander calls for inaction while other heads fall."

23 May 2012 - More support for C&C proposal to UNFCCC. More persons, some eminent, co-sign it.

Full Support here building steadily for the C&C submission to the UNFCCC.

23 May 2012 - Interdisciplinarity and Climate Change; "Such has been the origin of C&C" Bhaskar et al

Such has been the origin of new concepts like ‘Contraction and Convergence[Meyer 2000], influential at Kyoto, based on the principle of equal use of atmospheric resources by the world’s citizens.
Interdisciplinarity and Climate Change (Ontological Explorations)
Roy Bhaskar, Cheryl Frank, Karl Georg Høyer, Petter Naess, Jenneth Parker

23 May 2012 - "The number 6 - the Venus Vibration" Jelle Hielkema at Wake up World

The Number Six – The Venus Vibration - 23rd May 2012

By Jelle U. Hielkema - Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Soon, on 06-06-2012 which’ digits add up to ‘17’ which the ancient Chaldeans called “The Magic Star of Venus” we will be able to witness the last Venus Transit of our lifetime when it crosses in front of the Sun, the next being in December 2117

In Antiquity the number 216 = 6 x 6 x 6 was considered ‘The Number of Creation’ and Pythagoras defined the number 6 as ‘The Number of Perfection’, being the smallest composite number with is proper divisors being 1, 2 and 3, i.e. A, B and C, and ‘6’ represents the vibration with our sister planet Venus.

The Kabbalah of the Chaldeans distinguished three versions of ‘6’, being the ‘15’, ‘33’ which includes the ‘24’, and ‘51’ of which some ‘telling examples’ follow below:

The 6/15, called by The Ancients ‘’The Magician’’ and the interesting ‘thing’ about this magician is that the numerology of ‘The Magician’ is also a 6/15, and so is the cosmic number for the string of numbers: -


The 6/33, ‘33’ being the 3rd Master Number after ‘11’ and ‘22’, is the most powerful ‘6’, exemplified by this selection:


Three ‘true to their nature’ examples of a ‘straight 6’s are the word SKY, written as 321, the name of the Goddess of the Earth GAIA, written as ‘3111’ as well as “A free man thinks” and  “A Global Spring”! At a personal level, two outstanding examples of a ‘33’ vibration are the names ‘Heraclitus’ and  ‘Celestino Quinto’, the latter the same ‘33’ by his formal name ‘Celestino V’, the 192nd Pontiff who was elected Pope in July 1294 and who introduced  a few key ‘renewals’ for the Church , However, in December of the same year, after only five months of active service, decided that the manipulative ‘Scene on the Tiber’ was just not his taste and literally fled back to his mountains in the Abruzzi Region. Clearly a universal soul not to be ‘had’ by earthly manipulative powers. And probably the most important ‘straight 6’ is well the combination ‘I-YOU’ and the all-overarching and fundamental ‘6’ is ’In he Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God’!!!

At the other end of the 6-spectrum we find a rather strong character in the 6/51, which is often associated with dangerous enemies unrelated to war, and rather telling examples of this vibration are 


The three types of ‘6’s are best summarized by one ‘straight ‘6’ in ‘I am’ as well as ‘A Free Person’!

Say no more and on to the Venus Transit on to 6-6 with understanding in ‘the natural context of things’, a ‘33’!

About the Author

Jelle U. Hielkema is of Dutch/Frisian farmer’s origin (1947) and has lived in Rome since 1975, where he has been working for the United Nations for thirty years in the field of Earth Observation from space in the context of global Food Security. His frequent travels across the globe spanning five continents, coupled with a keen interest in the interaction among philosophy, science, religion, and politics, enabled him to make a wide range of observations on the relationship among names, language, and numbers with rather amazing findings.

More about these Thoughts and what to possibly do with them can be found here and here

22 May 2012 - What would UNFCCC do with US Greens say its urgency in a strategy-free zone.

A dialogue with Lorna Salzman - part I
Submitted by Joanne Poyourow on Tue, 05/18/2010 - 20:55

A bit of backstory here:  In the May 3 issue of The Nation magazine, Lorna Salzman ran a full-page advertisement critiquing Bill McKibben and for not telling us HOW to reduce CO2 concentrations to 350ppm.  (read the letter here)  I wrote a reply, "How to get to 350ppm," in which I pointed out that McKibben and 350, like Al Gore, are all in the business of awareness-raising, and that it is other organizations -- namely Transition Initiatives -- which are shouldering the burden of How To.  Below is Ms. Salzman's first piece, a commentary on my "How to get to 350ppm." (Ms. Salzman's text is posted with her permission.)  My reply is here.

Ms. Poyourow's response to my Open Letter to Bill McKibben is well taken inasmuch as there is nothing in it that I would take issue with,  per se. Nonetheless, my experience as an environmental organizer and activist has brought me into this issue from an entirely different direction. Furthermore, I suspect that McKibben's own areas of expertise, mainly writing and lecturing, brought him in from a different direction.

My contention is that while these other views have their place in any movement seeking ecological sanity and sustainability, because of their time frame and emphasis on the future, they neglect, at great peril, the simple fact that time is short and is not on our side.

   First, I  want to say that I disagree with the writer's contention that McKibben/350's role is not to propose strategies. I was not requesting strategies but TACTICS, immediate actions that need to be taken. If someone like McKibben organizes rallies, appears at demonstrations, and issues worldwide internet appeals to the global audience about the need to get back down to 350 ppm, then I believe it is incumbent on that person to tell his audience what he thinks they should do. One specific thing he could have urged, but did not, was support by citizens for a carbon tax and above all for HIGHER ENERGY PRICES. Neither he nor Transition has mentioned this, the single most important first step that needs to be taken, as my letter said.

   The most important thing that citizens could have done, or could do now, would be to reject the paltry compromised legislation being proposed by Sen. Kerry et al, which gives subsidies and tax breaks to the coal and nuclear industry, proposes that scam called cap and trade, and fails to include stringent mandatory energy efficiency standards and measures. Yet McKibben's entreaties to the public have not deigned to inform the public about what is in this bill and how it will do absolutely nothing to reduce global warming. This is the kind of dishonesty that has allowed our leaders to bring us to the brink of disaster. If nothing else McKibben owed it to us to tell us how we might possibly, with some effort, take a step back from the brink. He failed to do this. And as far as I can tell, Transition hasn't told us either.

   Nor do I think it sufficient, as Transition appears to think, that telling people to change their life styles and think ahead suffices in the emergency situation we are now in. This emergency has two parts: the climate change emergency, and the emergency that is being imposed upon us by our paralyzed misinformed and do-nothing congress at the behest of the fossil fuel industry. If McKibben, or Transition, agree that we have a handful of years to turn things around, then it behooves them to not only articulate this urgency but tell us what to do NOW, and what NOT to do now. Neither of them have chosen to do so.

   With due respect to Transition's proposals,  to their sincerity and commitment, I must frankly say that their goals are simply another list of the usual homilies phrased in  broad, general and abstract  terms,(as opposed to the hands-on immediate actions  needed in an emergency) about how we need to change ourselves in order to change society. I take strong issue with this approach. What needs to be brought up short are the institutions - social, economic, political - that implement the existing short-sighted energy and environmental policies. It is ONLY institutional change,  in our laws, policies,  tax policy, economic incentives and disincentives, and educational system,  that is going to matter in the long run with which Transition is concerned. But in the SHORT run, it is replacing as far as possible the things that can be replaced or changed: energy legislation for starters, and replacement of our elected officials in Washington.

   The striking absence, in both McKibben and Transition, of any political strategy to stop disastrous legislation in its tracks, to send a signal to our representatives and political parties that we don't like what they are offering us, and to put them on notice that we are ready to replace them, is in my view the fatal flaw. We need sharp teeth and an articulated position on what is happening NOW in congress, not on what we would like citizens or our government to do five or ten years from now, when it will be too late. It is the failure to demand alternatives to the status quo that will render and Transition ineffective and unable to offer any alternative that is commensurate with the risk.

Lorna Salzman

Lorna Salzman is a long-time environmental and Green Party activist (biography).  In 2002, she was the Green Party candidate for a New York seat in the US House of Representatives. In 2004 she sought the US Green Party's nomination for president.

The full dialogue:

"An Open Letter and Appeal to Bill McKibben and" by Lorna Salzman, published in The Nation, May 3, 2010
"How to get to 350ppm" by Joanne Poyourow
Lorna Salzman's Comments on "How to get to 350ppm"
Critique of the Transition Initiative/Network by Lorna Salzman
Joanne's reply: "A Dialogue With Lorna Salzman, Part III"

22 May 2012 - Support builds steadily for C&C proposal to UNFCCC. More persons, some eminent, co-sign it.

Full Support here building steadily for the C&C submission to the UNFCCC.

21 May 2012 - "C&C more equitable & so more capable of winning support." 3rd World Network 2007, and now . . ?

In 2007 Martin Khor spoke this to UNGA as Director of Third World Network.

"It is more equitable and fair to consider the per capita emission concept and data. This is because some countries have large total emissions mainly because of their huge population sizes, and not because of the emission intensity. The principle of “contraction and convergence” would be equitable and thus more capable of winning support by more people. In this principle, the world as a whole has to contract or reduce its total emissions. In doing so, an equitable principle is used. Take the total maximum emission level that is sustainable, i.e. that the world is able environmentally to sustain. Divide this total by the world’s population. That level of emission per capita could be considered the “emission right” or “emission entitlement” per person."

Martin Khor - Director Third World Network - August 2007
To the Special UN General Assembly Session on Climate Change

In June 2009 he commented like this in the Third World Network Briefing on the impending COP-9 in Copenhagen

"Martin Khor asked whether per capita equality is a goal? Per capita emissions are relevant, but we need to go beyond simple “contraction and convergence”. Per capita emissions have a different relationship to levels of development in different countries, depending on their levels of financial, technological and human capacity. We can envisage an Annex I country living with 1tpc emissions by 2050 while ensuring per capita incomes of, say, $50,000. At the same time, a developing country with 1tpc emissions may be stuck with $500 or $1000 per capita income, unless it undergoes a technology revolution." This was attacking in advance the position in the UK Climate Act, that was to led at COP-9 by the UK and its allies. The Chinese Government also critiqued this position before Copenhagen in the same way.

TWN Update - Developing countries call for historical responsibility as basis for Copenhagen Outcome

Inevitably inviting the C&C Proposal to the UNFCCC from GCI, on May 16th 2012 he addressed the UNFCCC Climate Negotiations in Bonn thus clearly once again attacking the UK-led prescription of rates of C&C at COP-9 Copenhagen: -

"In sharing the remaining carbon space in 2010-2050 two concepts are needed: -

  1. The allocation of carbon space as according to rights and responsibilities;
  2. The actual carbon budget (and related physical emissions reduction schedule) that countries eventually put forward as what they can physically undertake.

There could be a difference between the allocation of responsibilities and rights, and the actual emissions reduction or related budgets. Therefore: Countries that cannot meet their allocated budget or emission cut can compensate for this unmet part of their obligation and countries that do not make full use of these rights, can obtain the funds for their actions.

The equity approach has implications for the various topics under LCA. In shared vision, the setting of a global goal for emission reduction should be accompanied by a clarification of the roles of developed and developing countries. For example, a proposal of a global goal of 50% and an Annex I goal of 80% proposal raises some issues.

  1. the 50% global cut is environmentally not ambitious enough, as it would correspond to a carbon budget above what is required.
  2. the implied distribution of the carbon budget gives Annex I countries a budget share of 30-35 per cent, compared to their 16% share of world population in this period.
  3. acceptance of this proposal means accepting not only an unfair distribution of the 2010-50 carbon budget, but also writing off the cumulative debt of developed countries.
  4. accepting these figures (50%, 80%) implicitly accepts a specific emissions cut target for developing countries, and locking in this whole distribution of carbon budget and set of emissions cuts.

It implies that in 2050, annex I total and per capita emissions would be cut by 80% while developing countries’ per capita emissions would be cut to 1.5 ton or about half below 1990 levels and compared to 2005 levels it would be around 40% below in absolute terms and 60% below in per capita terms. The cuts would be even more compared to business as usual in 2050. It is doubtful that developing countries can meet this implied target for them, unless decoupling between emissions and economic growth takes place through a miraculous mechanism. For this decoupling, massive infusions of finance and technology, coupled with institutional and human capacity building is required. This is why equity is also embedded in the finance and technology issues."

There is now no conceivable other way to negotiate than using the C&C methodogy as laid out here and this is more and more widely recognized.


21 May 2012 - "China's target consistent with C&C" Generic take on C&C from Doctors for Environment Australia

China has an energy intensity target which has been tacitly accepted by the international community because China is a developing country with considerable poverty to alleviate. Its self imposed target could be seen to comply with international thought on contraction and convergence whereby developed countries reduce their total emissions in order to allow developing countries to expand their emissions. They have growth to alleviate poverty. China’s total emissions are continuing to grow under a regime of reducing energy intensity.Submission from Doctors for the Environment Australia Inc.
David Shearman, Hon Secretary
5 Fitzgerald Road PASADENA SA 5042

Future directions for population policy in Australia - Australian society and its governance systems must be encouraged to accept that science can provide us with an understanding of the parameters that sustain our physical presence on this planet.

  • Population numbers in Australia should be based on what science tells us is the ecological carrying capacity of Australia taking into account projected water and fertile land resources, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in concert with expected international contraction and convergence policy.
  • opulation stabilisation will require progressive modification of the economic ethos of continued growth and expanding consumption.
  • Having defined the constraints on population growth, all major projects should have a population health impact statement in order to move away from the ‘given’ that a new project must be developed immediately if economically advantageous.
  • The concerns of governments and society over national security must be taken into account in all deliberations.
  • Australia, as a wealthy developed country, should play an increasing role in alleviating regional poverty through education and the encouragement of regional family planning based on human rights principles.

A Position Paper from Doctors for the Environment Australia

21 May 2012 - Youth Charter endorse C&C proposal to UNFCCC - support growing steadily, see here

Can I confirm our support and endorsement for the C&C submission top the UNFCCC.

I would also welcome establishing a dialogue with a view to our work over the last ten years in particular, in the role that sport and the arts can play in developing and highlighting climate change.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards.

Geoff Thompson MBE
Executive Chairman, Youth Charter

21 May 2012 - "One approach being considered is C&C with all countries in." AISEC Youth Platform Indonesia

Climate change has become a big political issue and a great deal of debate continues about the solutions. One approach being considered to reduce global carbon emissions is the idea of contraction and convergence. Under this approach all countries would participate in a global emission reduction with quantified emission targets.

Malang, East Java, Indonesia

Present over 1100 universities in 110 countries and territories, AIESEC is the international platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential to have a positive impact to the society. Toward this aim, we run more than 350 conferences, provide 3,500 work abroad opportunities, and offer over 5,000 leaderships positions to our members each year. Together with a focus on building personal networks and exploring the direction and ambition of their future, AIESEC has innovate approach to engaging and developing young people. Our partner organization, literally thousands from all sectors, look at AIESEC as a way to support the development of young people and to have access to high- potential young talent from around the world. So, instead of just worrying about building leaders in your organization, why not make it your strategy to hire them?

18 May 2012 - "The multilateral process is needed for global accounting." UNFCCC Executive Christina Figueres

New Scientist Question for Christina Figueres

"Some people have suggested a Plan B: national pledges on emissions. Some countries, like Mexico, have already signed up. Can these small-scale actions halt climate change, or is a global deal still necessary?"

Christina Figueres answer to New Scientist Question

"This is not an "either/or" conversation, this is an "and" conversation. All of the efforts are necessary. But it is clear that all of those individual efforts, wherever they may be, cannot substitute the multilateral, global process. It is the multilateral process that can do the global accounting to help us figure out if we are on track or not."

18 May 2012 - "Time to Support C&C." Here's how - Bhavani Prakash on Facebook

Time and again, activists have said that there is real power in petitions. It's time again to support one that strikes at the heart of the climate change debate - a fair and scientific framework that enables nations to act together to 'contract' their emissions and 'converge' to a low per capita one to keep the planet within a safe temperature rise.

Please send an email to Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute, supporting the "CONTRACTION & CONVERGENCE" framework to be submitted to the UNFCCC. It doesn't have to be as long as my letter below, even a one-liner will do. Please see further links and explanations on the threads here.
Bhavani Prakash

18 May 2012 - "C&C can be applied to many resources." Wellbeing, Consumer Culture, Hanlon & Carlisle


A very sharp turn is needed, if we are to change. This will involve not just questioning the way we live, but giving up some of its most sacrosanct assumptions, such as believing that economic growth is an unqualified good, despite damage done to the human condition and the natural world.

For example, Zygmunt Bauman recommends that we decouple individual income entitlement from income-earning capacity. The taxation system should provide all with a means to a decent life. This would preserve the ethical values and social arrangements that underpin Western civilisation, in a context where our institutions no longer guarantee their implementation.

There are also other ideas and models that can help us think differently and challenge conventional thinking. Perhaps one of the most significant is the concept of ‘contraction and convergence’ developed by Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute, in response to the threat of runaway climate change. Meyer notes that the whole world needs a contraction in the production of carbon dioxide – an output of increased industrialisation and economic growth. Rich and poor nations must eventually converge in their carbon production, to avoid catastrophe. Less developed nations must be allowed to develop – so their carbon use goes up – whilst industrialised – and post-industrial nations must make substantial reductions.

This model of redistribution can, of course, be applied to many resources and not just the carbon resources on which affluent societies depend. Increasingly, the evidence suggests no really viable and sustainable alternative to this propositition.

Yet it seems likely that changing the social structure and the economy will not, in itself, achieve this – even if we knew how to do it. If we are to survive and thrive, then cultural change is also necessary. What we take to be ‘the good life’ needs to
be re-thought and re-worked if our society is to be sustainable over the longer term. And for our society to be worth living in, we need to develop a far greater sense of care and compassion for others than presently seems to be the case.

Wellbeing, consumer culture and the ‘new poor’
A Whose Economy Seminar Paper
Dr Sandra Carlisle and Professor Phil Hanlon June 2011

16 May 2012 - Strong support building for C&C proposal to UNFCCC. Supporters getting individual web-pages.

Seeking & finding support for the submission to the UNFCCC of the C&C Principle.

Please consider the proposal & write to me with an endorsement of it, if you feel you are able to do this. We'll create your own web-page if you do, to reflect the full extent of what you want say about it and your work generally.

15 May 2012 - "The Emergence of a Commons-Based Economy" - Lectures led by James Quilligan

A series of 12 inter-related studies in 12 days: 7 - 18 May 2012 - led by James B. Quilligan
Here you can find an overview and see how all seminars are interrelated.

The series develops the vision of the commons expressed in the mind-map here:


  • Development - on an international scale, the development of livelihoods and greater quality of life for human beings.Human and social development encompasses foreign aid, governance, healthcare, education, gender equality, disaster preparedness, infrastructure, economics, human rights, environment, and other associated issues.
  • Bipolar paradigm - a system where two dominant functional components determine all implementations and solutions. In the case of state capitalism, the public-private dichotomy is actually a monoculture with more similarities than differences
  • Public Sector - deals with the delivery of goods and services by and for the government, whether national, regional or local/municipal. Mainly funded through taxation.
  • Private Sector - the economy run for private profit and not controlled by the state. For example: private banks and corporations
  • G-8, G-20 & G-192 - groups of nations that meet periodically for determination of interests that pertain to the nations within the group. The lower the number, the greater the tendency for concentrated self-interest in relationship to other nations outside of the group. G-192 represents all member states of the United Nations.
  • Multilateral System - system of governance in which all nation-states work together to solve global problems.
  • Commons - people sharing resources (both depletable and replenishable) including: air, water, fossil fuels, forests, fisheries, food resources, biodiversity, genetics, internet, open source info/ mass collaboration, human rights/ health/ culture, pollution, security, climate, communications.
  • "Commoning" is the ability to organize, express the will of, and meet the needs of people without harm to systems on which we depend.
  • Resources: International Association for the Study of the Commons,, also
  • Commons Trusts - co-governance and co-production of a commons asset by a local community of producers and users with the primary goal of preserving the resource for future generations. Local trusts must coordinate regionally and cooperate across regions creating Global Trusts to effectively safeguard global commons.
  • Co-Governance - process of participatory management in which decisions are made at the lowest levels possible (ie. subsidiarity and decentralization), thereby recognizing the decision of each member equitably.
  • Co-Production - the outcome of synergistic cooperation; productivity, creative output and social capital created through a group working under a transparent process of co-governance.
  • 1. Sheth and Uslay, From Exchange to Value Creation,
    2. Bauwens, The Political Economy of Peer Production,
    3. Bollier, The Commons as a New Sector of Value-Creation,

  • Full Cost Accounting - transparent reflection of true costs of resource development, production and distribution, as well as long-term advantages for projects or proposals. ‘Triple bottom line’ (People, Planet, Profit) is an example, where financial considerations and also ecological and social performance are included in the equation for a model’s success.
  • Carbon Tax - an environmental tax on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for the purpose of protecting the environment and slowing climate change by reducing greenhouse emissions.
  • Cap and Trade - proposal to set a cap on carbon emissions and issue pollution credits. Emissions cap can be reduced over time. Some see this as a public-private sector system with its own market, which could lead to manipulation of the credits and a tendency toward privatization of the air.
  • Cap and Dividend - a system where carbon credits are issued to limit carbon emissions. The revenues resulting from the credits and penalties are returned to the taxpayers as dividends, thereby increasing common wealth while suppressing the tendency for the private sector to manipulate credits and enclose (privatize) air resources

    1. USA: Peter Barnes testifies to the US Ways and Means Committee on the benefits of paying carbon dividends to every American via a Sky Trust,
    2. International: A worldwide agreement to secure drastic cuts, negotiate benefits to be shared equitably. Global Cap and Share proposal from FEASTA.

  • Contraction & Convergence [C&C] - conceived in the 1990’s by the Global Commons Institute to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas [ghg] concentration. To this end, global ghg emissions are decreased each year [contraction], while the international quota shares of this are predistributed by moving to equal per capita shares globally by an agreed date [convergence].
  • Equity-Based Money System - system where creation and usage of money is based on, and determined by, existing commons assets (reserves), rather than assumed future assets (fractional reserves) based on debt and interest rates. Thomas H. Greco, Jr., "The End of Money and the Future of Civilization", 2009, or download an overview of his work.
  • Debt-Based Money System - the dominant economic paradigm, pervasive across the planet. Richard Greaves, The Negative Consequences Of The Debt-Based Money System.
  • Declaration of Respect for Life and Human Security across the Global Commons - Respect for the entire Sacred Web of Life: All human beings, all species, all flora and fauna, and the Earth, its elements and minerals, are required for survival and prosperity. The laws of cause and effect, energy, biodiversity and interspecies ethics have taught us to recognize and legitimate the essential rights of all of Earth’s life forms. To this end, we declare our rights to the sustainability and security of this Global Commons, encompassing local, national, regional and global stability and the environmental and economic threats to our survival as societies, groups, and individuals. We have no need to petition government for entitlements or businesses for permissions to these rights – we claim them in partnership as our legal and moral birthrights and our responsibilities as Sovereign Beings on Earth.

Mary Beth Steisslinger, MS Integral Systems Biologist
Urban Ecology Collaborative and Global Commons

14 May 2012 - Seeking Support for C&C submissions to UNFCCC

Seeking support for C&C Submissions to UNFCCC here from GCI and Climate Sense Australia

Dear Friend and Colleague

Please will you consider supporting GCI's C&C Proposal to the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC are now debating the way ahead beyond 2012 and invited submissions from observer organisations. The details of the proposal submitted by GCI are on this web-page: -

It is a very straightforward re-statement of how to use C&C as the collective basis of the negotiating framework needed for UNFCCC-compliance. The many people who co-signed Colin Challen's pro-C&C letter to Chris Huhne when he became the Minister at DECC in 2010 have been approached. That letter is at the foot of this web-page - there were over 500 signatories all told on that.

Your support would be welcome, useful and influential if your name were added endorsing the present proposal to the UNFCCC. So if you feel you are able to support the present proposal, please will you send me [minima] a one-line e-mail saying just that and I will add your name and affiliation to the list that is being collected and conveyed to the UNFCCC Executive.

With best wishes

Aubrey Meyer

After 23 years there is a diverse and growing volume of support for C&C: -

14 May 2012 - The Future of OCCUPY: Sage advice from Nobel Winner Elinor Ostrom

Sage Advice for Occupy? from Nobel winner Elinor Ostrom
How can Occupy build it’s responsibility, power and influence via mutual support and cooperation, local to global?  How can Occupy prevent the privatization of resources and social and ecological systems from the local to the global scale?  And conversely, how can Occupy empower local to global models that support each community at the level of their home commons while not allowing the degradation of anyone’s home commons?

This is an especially challenging question when one considers that many global commons such as the arctic, sea bed minerals, the broadcast spectrum or atmosphere are currently unmanaged and thus literally “up for grabs”, to the tune of trillions of dollars of commercial and industrial profit each year… and much ecological devastation.  If these global commons were managed for the benefit of all humanity and the earth, in trust, the resources available for sustainable development, ecological restoration and enforcement would be sufficient to cover the needs of all.

Example: One amazing all-win model addresses the need for equitably managing the global atmosphere commons and thus fairly addressing the climate change crises.  Many groups around the globe are working on this, and the Irish think tank, Feasta (The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability) has some of the most inclusive ideas.  The key Ostrom-identified concept here is the need to build responsibility for governing the common resource of our atmosphere in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.  Ie How can we simultaneously move towards green energy while we contract our carbon usage and converge on equitable use (video), esp considering quickly developing nations and victims of climate change in the most struggling nations?

The Feasta Cap and Share model does just this.  Here’s the jist — the Cap and Share model here referred to as an “Earth Climate Commons Trust” – A diverse group of citizens, acting on behalf of the whole human family and all life on Earth, establish an independent Earth Climate Commons Trust (ECCT). Acting on independent climate science, the Trust sets an annually reducing cap on the total amount of fossil fuels that can be introduced into the global economy and issues permits up to the amount of the cap, available for purchase by fuel companies for full market value. The proceeds of sale are paid to or applied for the benefit of all adult citizens in the world in equal shares, via a network of national and local citizen’s climate trusts. Nation-state governments collaborate with the Trust by banning the introduction of the fuels into their territory without an ECCT permit. So long as not all state governments have agreed to collaborate, the ECCT limits the total number of permits issued in the same proportion as the use of fossil fuels in the countries participating, in relation to total global use.   

John Jopling, Feasta.   Excerpt from proposal submitted by the NGO Major Group for The Ten Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Production and Consumption, UN Commission for Sustainable Development (2010)

For any questions, resources, or additional contacts regarding any of these commons models, please contact
Mary Beth Steisslinger, MS - Commons Page with visionary mind-map of the commons from MBS here
Sage Advice for Occupy? from Nobel winner Elinor Ostrom

14 May 2012 - "Without C&C our grandchildren may view us as criminal." Ming Campbell Lib Dem 26 04 2006

On Thursday 26th of April Ming Campbell of the Lberal Democrats wote this in the Independent

"Planning for a low-carbon economy at home is an essential part of winning the international argument on contraction and convergence of emissions. This is the only equitable way to deal with climate change. There is a finite amount of emissions that the world can take. We have to share out pollution judiciously, and ultimately, equally. Relative targets linked to GDP or how much a country feels it can reduce are not only unworkable, but our grandchildren may well view such political weakness as criminal.

The climate does not need more hot air - but that is what the Conservatives and the Labour Party are offering. They have no serious proposals - they have not even committed to contraction and convergence as the basis for global targets after the Kyoto ones expire in 2012."

Menzies Campbell: "My rivals offer nothing more than hot air
The world must plan for a low carbon economy and start making adjustments now

Once upon a time the Parties were all for C&C

Now the Parties are all at sea, not C&C.

What Happened?

11 May 2012 - "C&C vs Border Trade Adjustments." 'Economic Analysis' from Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Finally, in the Contraction and Convergence (C&C, Global Commons Institute 1996) scenario, emissions are set to be globally 40% below emissions of 1990. Under a C&C regime, emission allowances in 2012 are based on current per capita emissions in different regions; per capita emissions subsequently converge to a common level in 2050. The scenario consequently puts a cap into effect in all regions, but allows for global trade in permits. Countries with lower per capital emissions are likely to have surplus emissions which they can sell on the international carbon market.

The scenario is therefore not directly comparable to the previous analysis of Europe as global carbon emissions differ substantially from the previous scenarios. The principal aim is however, to see if such a regime could be preferential for certain countries due to the fact that they are subject to low abatement costs which can be exploited under a global carbon market. A global carbon price should furthermore reduce carbon leakage and reduce the differences between carbon emissions by consumption and production. We therefore are interested in the question on how a global regime reduces the imbalances in the “carbon balance of trade” between countries in comparison with policies like border tariff adjustments.

What is certainly not the case is that the thread of Border Trade Adjustsments [BTA] provides incentives for most developing and emerging countries rather to sign a stringent international climate regime. At least under the assumptions made in the scenarios here, the welfare losses under BTA are much less severe than under a Contraction & Convergence regime.

For Europe, the analysis shows that BTA is indeed able to reduce negative competitiveness and welfare effects of unilateral climate policy. Yet, a global regime would still be preferable for Europe. If one measures the success of BTA from an environmental perspective, it is able to reduce the simple substitution to imports as a mitigation strategy, but there is still substantial leakage caused by reduced fossil fuel prices. Hence, global CO2 emissions change little with BTA and such a regime does not move the world much closer to reaching e.g. the 2 degree target.

The question is then, whether BTA can be a credible thread for other regions to join a global climate regime. The picture in this respect is mixed. BTA has clearly negative welfare effects for basically all regions outside Europe. For the US, Canada, the Former Soviet Union, Australia/New Zealand, Latin America, China and the Middle East the negative effects of a contraction and convergence (C&C) global climate regime would be much larger though. For Japan, India, Pacific Asia and Africa the C&C regime that has a very favorable permit allocation especially for Japan and India would actually bring welfare gains.

A partially dominating effect of the C&C scenario though is that the reduced fossil energy use and thus reduced energy prices are favorable for energy importing regions (such as e.g. Japan) and imply large losses for major energy exporting regions (Former Soviet Union, Middle East). Since the regimes are highly stylized though, it could be possible to search for alternative policies which would increase welfare compared to EU BTA for those countries that are worse off with stringent climate policy. It could also be the case that for some countries it pays to accept a BTA as long as the tariff rate is low and join a cap and trade regime once the trade effects become too costly.

Finally, the analysis shows that a global carbon regime will over proportionally reduce the emissions embodied in trade and close the gap between consumptions and production based carbon accounting.
The carbon content of trade: Under border tariff adjustments and a global carbon regime
Matthias Weitzel×, Sonja Peterson; Kiel Institute for the World Economy

11 May 2012 - "Technology Diffusion under C&C - CGE Analysis of China." Potsdam Climate Impacts Mike Hubler

A Chinese commitment to reduce emissions would encourage the USA and developing countries to make commitments on emissions reductions as well. In this context, a per capita emissions based contraction and convergence regime has a realistic chance of being accepted by countries with currently low per capita emissions such as China. It can even be beneficial for developing countries due to revenues from selling excess emissions permits. Further research is needed to figure out how to include China in recently discussed post-Kyoto policies. Therefore, we apply our diffusion mechanism to the analysis of a contraction and convergence type climate policy that starts in 2020 and leads to equal per capita emissions of 2t of CO2 in 2050. This policy aims at reaching the 2° target as emphasized at Copenhagen 2009.

We apply the mechanisms derived in the previous sections to a post-Kyoto climate policy analysis. We assume a per-capita emissions based contraction and convergence (C&C) regime which reduces regional emissions gradually so that equal regional per capita emissions will be reached in the future (c.f. GCI, 1990, Meyer 2004).25 C&C has been frequently discussed by prominent politicians and economists as a mechanism that yields a “fair” distribution of emissions permits: Population rich developing countries such as China or India receive relatively large endowments of emissions permits. Allowing for inter-regional emissions trading, such developing countries can then receive revenues from selling emissions permits to industrialized countries. This is often seen as one channel of financial transfer from industrialized to developing countries; that is an indirect way to support emissions reductions in developing countries.

Technology Diffusion under Contraction and Convergence: A CGE Analysis of China
Michael Hubler September 29, 2010

10 May 2012 - "Heyam Dukham anagatam - The pain that has not yet come can be avoided." C&C Author's Note

Author’s Note Contraction and Convergence

I’ve never been anything other than a musician. How I ended up devising a global policy concept at UN climate negotiations for the last ten years is still a bit of a mystery to me. But a clue is that both writing and playing music are largely about wholeness and the principled distribution of 'effort' or practice. Responding to the climate challenge seems much like writing or playing music, where balance on the axes of reason and feeling, time and space, can only come from internal consistency. If practice is unprincipled there is no coordination and there is discord. When it is principled, there is balance, harmony and union. Perhaps all life aspires to the condition of music.

Ten years ago, I was feeling crushed and frightened by the realisation that humanity’s pollution was destroying the future by changing the global climate. A sympathetic friend told me I wasn’t being ‘Zen’ enough. I didn’t know what he meant, had a good laugh and then decided he must be right. So I went to the UN just as the negotiations began to create the Climate Convention. There I discovered tensions between Taoists, Marxists, economists, musicians and other human beings. This was only just funny enough, often enough, to rescue me from the powerlessness and despair that otherwise captures those who are not being Zen enough at the UN, or anywhere else. 'Being Zen' probably means caring, but enough to grasp reality by letting go of 'duality'.

The 'equity and survival' case argued at the UN tries to express this through 'Contraction and Convergence'. This starts from the oneness of the global picture and creates a framework with subdivision by principle. The precautionary principle is about survival. It says we have to unite in order to try and prevent damages and death from dangerous climate changes. This recognises the singular purpose or 'one-ness'. That is the Convention's 'objective'. That is why humanity created it. The equity principle says this must be fair across time and space between people in very different situations. This recognises 'two-ness' and shows the need to keep the feedback between ourselves and the earth in balance. It also recognises that the practice that flows from these principles of responsibility must be flexible and responsive rather than rigid. This is the 'three-ness' but is only a product of the responsibilities and the rights created by oneness and twoness. And then, and only then, come the 'ten thousand things' of prosperity in the traditional goals of life, health and happiness with harmony in all these because we have united to prevent damages and do no harm.

So C&C is a globalisation of consciousness and creates an internally consistent view of what has happened and what needs to be done. So it is a framework for organising our efforts to prevent global death and damage costs from climate changes rising out of control. This reflects the UN Convention. However, when we have failed to unite around these principles and pursue instead analysis of the 'costs and benefits' amid the noise of the 'ten thousand things', a divisive almost paranoid picture emerges ending up with the randomness of unresolved quarrels and guesswork.

Working this way is not illuminating and encourages people to see preventing the damages and death as less important than preventing the pollution that is causing them. Sadly the Kyoto Protocol to the Convention reflects this approach. This global conflict between the one and the many is at the heart of the policy quarrel. The effort recalled here has been about resolving the tension between this one over-riding purpose of damage prevention and the 'ten thousand' protests' this has raised. It has been about transforming the friction between framework and guesswork back to this purpose.

While I hope this Briefing will appeal to the hearts and minds of a wide range of people, writing about C&C for a potentially diverse readership has been difficult. This is because, although we are all in the same boat in relation to climate change, we live in and see very different parts of it. Try addressing an audience made up of the anxious, the agnostic, sybarites and over-worked mothers. Then there's academia, 'policy makers' and bureaucracy. How do you persuade them, and especially the economists among them, about anything, let alone the logic of global equity in climate policy or letting go of guesswork? With honourable exceptions, those in a position to develop a response to the threat have chosen to remain captive to the very forces that now threaten us. Rather than seeking to calm the global climate, they have sought to calm us instead with mere economic management dogma. And while some of these have preened and quibbled, islands are threatened by rising seas and more and more people die from droughts, floods and other extreme events.

If this makes you just want to run away, I do too. But where do we go? Al Gore says to solve the problem we have to 'step out of the box'. But once again, step out into what? If this Briefing succeeds in making the case for C&C, staying means joining the effort for equity and survival. Both morally and logically, equity simply won't be unglued from survival and survival from equity. As in a marriage, the two are one. In fact, you can look at the UN climate negotiations as just a little haggle over an ante-nuptial contract in the shot-gun marriage that climate change forces on us all.

We have seen the future. We have the idea. We have to make an effective deal. If the right framework is adopted there can be a new growth of economic opportunity where prosperity is achieved by greener means for greener ends. This will necessarily involve all sorts of guesswork . . . . but within a framework that keeps us secure. As another expression of Indian philosophy - the 'Yoga Sutras' of Patanjali - says, 'Heyam duhkam anagatam'. The pain that has not yet come can be avoided.
Aubrey Meyer, October 2000.

"Contraction and Convergence is a mechanism for getting global agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Like all the best ideas, it is easy to grasp. It is founded on two fundamental principles that cannot be questioned except by very devious linguistic distortions:

  • First, that the global emission of greenhouse gases must be progressively reduced; secondly, that global governance must be based on justice and fairness.
  • Under the second principle, the emission of greenhouse gases must be based on an equal per capita allowance. It is this second principle that makes it particularly relevant to recent clashes between Civil Society and the world financial organisations - the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.

In dealing with the global economy the IMF, rightly, sees the need for 'structural adjustments'. By this, it means adjustments to the economy and practices of nations that will lead to continuing, rather than short term, benefit. But the structural adjustments being imposed by the IMF on poor nations are primarily designed to strengthen the global economy in the hope that wealth will trickle down from the wealthy to the poor.

Seen from the perspective of poor countries, 'structural adjustments' need to be made to the practices of the industrial nations since it is their consumption and emissions that are destroying the natural world, and it is their economic system that has led to such massive inequality. Contraction and Convergence is such an adjustment.

Contraction and Convergence is a mechanism by which money would flow from rich to poor nations as of right, not as aid. It would introduce a mechanism by which the world economy would move in the direction of greater equality. It is based on a simple principle of justice that any schoolchild can understand, and therefore should be difficult for negotiators to pervert."
From James Bruges Foreword to
"Contraction & Convergence: The Global Solution to Climate Change" - Aubrey Meyer

Some Reviews

10 May 2012 - AECB the Sustainable Building Association showing excellent C&C movie from C&C Foundation

The AECB is a network of individuals and companies with a common aim of promoting sustainable building. It brings together builders, architects, designers, manufacturers, housing associations and local authorities, to develop, share and promote best practice in environmentally sustainable building. We pride ourselves on our independence, relevance and practicality.

Contraction and Convergence [C&C] is a science-based, equitable framework for cutting human-induced carbon emissions. It was developed in the early 1990's by a small group led by Aubrey Meyer, a musician and composer turned environmentalist, who has campaigned for it ever since. C&C Website

10 May 2012 - "Adopt C&C." Strongly worded letter to UNFCCC negotiators, from Climate Sense Australia

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

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

Your Excellencies

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

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

Durban Decision – too little, too late

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emergency action and planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contraction and Convergence

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

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

He notes also: -

“Under contraction and convergence, each country would start out with emissions entitlements equal to its current emissions levels, and then over time converge to equal per capita entitlements, while the overall global budget contracts to accommodate the emissions reduction objective. This means that emissions entitlements per capita would decrease for countries above the global average, and increase (albeit typically at a slower rate than
unconstrained emissions growth) in countries below the global average per capita level. Emissions entitlements would be tradable between countries, allowing actual emissions to differ from the contraction and convergence trajectory.”

And further: -

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

My Framework suggests: -

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

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

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

Hence you could;

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

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

Yours sincerely
Harley Wright

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

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


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

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

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

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

  1. India
  2. China
  3. Indonesia
  4. Mexico
  5. Pakistan
  6. Canada
  7. Japan
  8. United States
  9. United Kingdom
  10. France
  11. Gemany
  12. Italy
  13. Australia
10 May 2012 - One Planet Initiative & Sustainable Development Commission London adopt C&C Principle

The UK Climate Change Act target of an 80% reduction in CO2 by 2050 and the London Climate Change Action Plan target of a 60% cut by 2025 are both broadly based on the Contraction and Convergence model in which by 2050 everyone in the world would be entitled to an equal share of emissions with the aim of atmospheric CO2 concentrations not exceeding 450ppm. This entitlement is roughly equivalent to two tonnes of CO2 per person each year.
Capital consumption – the transition to sustainable consumption and production in London

"The One Planet initiative adopts the principle of Contraction and Convergence which means that countries with high per capita emissions will have to reduce their emissions much more rapidly than countries that currently have low per capita emissions. The end result being that per capita emissions from each country will converge at a more equitable level and the global total of emissions will contract. BioRegional will work with partners to agree community specific trajectories. For example, for communities in developing countries a suitable trajectory will have to take into account whether the development is targeted at residents with high impact lifestyles or very low income residents with low carbon emissions."
Common International Targets January 2011

10 May 2012 - "We'll have to accept the C&C principle." Miriam Lyons in Crikey

"If the global response to climate change is not fair, it won’t happen. If it doesn’t happen, we’re all stuffed. And for it to be fair, those of us who live in countries pumping more than our share of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are going to have to accept the principle of “contraction and convergence” i.e. equal per capita emissions, which means that a 60% cut in emissions by 2050 translates to a 90% cut for Australia. This will require more significant changes than have been promised to date. It means economic reform of the scale seen in the 1980s or greater - designing markets, taxation, and regulation to make it cheaper to do business sustainably than unsustainably."

Remaking Australia - Miriam Lyons in Crikey

"What an excellent article, it really gets to the heart of the matter. Climate change is a wonderful opportunity for human beings as a whole to start working together, its urgent and it matters."
Chris Doonan

10 May 2012 - "QUAD Agreement possible around C&C." Institute for Environmental Security

The Climate Quad: Geopolitics, Tactics and Quick Hits
Major Powers Re-assessing their Foreign and Climate Policies

Success in the on-going international climate change negotiations “requires a deal between the USA, China, India and the EU” according to Tom Spencer, IES Vice Chair. Speaking at a recent meeting of the Council for Multilateral Business Diplomacy, Mr Spencer said that the need for such a deal: -

“not surprisingly reflects the current state of geopolitics, where all the major powers are re-assessing their foreign policy in the light of the emergence of a multi-polar world - a world in which the security of energy supplies and the impact of climate change on security are key building blocks.”

The meeting, held in Brussels on 18 June, focused on the latest developments in the preparations for the G8 Summit and the Bali Action Plan and their potential effect on global business. Mr Spencer said he believed an agreement amongst the Quad is possible around the principle of “Contraction and Convergence” and see GLOBE Papers below.

 “In a world where food price increases threaten the stability of many governments, it is surely time that we recognised the impact of climate change on the security situation of countries faced by millions of environmentally-driven refugees or displaced persons,” Mr Spencer said.

Download the speech by Mr Spencer

C&C Briefing for Parliamentarians.
On Sunday the 17th of May 1998, the leaders of the developed world and Russia will sit down in Birmingham at the World Economic Summit to discuss climate change."Contraction and Convergence" is the only practical and convincing way forward for the world. It is vital that the G8 leaders recognize this and commit themselves to negotiating ahead of COP4 the global solution for what everyone accepts is the global problem. Such negotiation can only be based on the principle of equity and the establishment of the robust and flexible model contained in these pages.

10 May 2012 - "Let Government make every effort to bring about C&C." Operation NOAH - CEL

Contraction and Convergence

The governments which committed themselves to the Kyoto Agreement promised to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by an average of 5% by the year 2010 compared with 1990 levels. However, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution says a global reduction of at least 60% is needed. When developing nations improve their material standard of living they inevitably increase their emissions. So we in the developed world will have to contract our use of energy and achieve cuts of 80% to 90% and converge with developing people to create a more equitable world. International discussion must now focus on a post-Kyoto climate change agreement.

'Let not the Government of this country simply express vague and polite interest in Contraction and Convergence; let them make every possible effort to bring it about for the salvation of the planet.'
Rt Rev John Oliver, Bishop of Hereford


Aubrey Meyer used this Contraction and Convergence Presentation/Animation at the Operation Noah Launch in Coventry. Well worth downloading. It relates the arithmetic of emissions contraction to issues of: -

  • convergence,
  • climate- science,
  • geo-technology,
  • oil and gas depletion,
  • growth and damages,
  • clean energy and implementation.
    More details and notes