CapGlobalCarbon and the UNFCCC

What would be the relationship between CapGlobalCarbon and the UNFCCC?

The Climate Commons Trust would be established independently from the UNFCCC. There are various possibilities as to the relationship it then develops with the UNFCCC. It could possibly be incorporated into the UNFCCC regime or, at the other extreme, it could have no relationship at all.

“to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system..” – UNFCCC Article 2

The first principle of the Convention, stated in Article 3.1, is that the states signing the Convention “should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity…

CapGlobalCarbon would provide a structure to enable humanity to implement this principle. The words of the Convention recognise that climate change is not primarily an issue between states: it is primarily an issue for the whole of humanity. Adoption as part of the UNFCCC process is therefore at least a logical possibility and could be desirable provided the necessary independence of the Trust was not affected.

Past experience in relation to Kyoto2 and the Earth Atmospheric Trust is that those engaged in the UNFCCC negotiations have not yet bought-in to the advantages of an
upstream cap. The possibility of CapGlobalCarbon being incorporated into the UNFCCC system seems remote. Rather than try to be part of the UNFCCC process, a more likely scenario therefore is that the Trust would aim to cooperate with it. The Trust would attend UNFCCC events, make direct contact with the representatives of nation-state governments and seek the support of UNFCCC staff in seeking to persuade individual governments to implement the Trust’s scheme or schemes within their jurisdictions.

It is possible that UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, might be supportive of the proposals outlined in this paper and would be a valuable advocate. It is possible that a country or set of countries might champion this initiative.

Whilst incorporation into the UNFCCC is thus a possibility, and using it as a route to obtain the agreement of individual governments to police schemes managed by the Trust could be a great advantage and perhaps a practical necessity, it is important to stress that the formation of a Climate Commons Trust is envisaged as being achieved outside the UNFCCC process; and that implementation of a global Cap and Dividend scheme should be seen as a complementary initiative to the efforts of UNFCCC and is not necessarily dependent on approval within the UNFCCC system as such.

Implementing CapGlobalCarbon

CapGlobalCarbon is a proposal by members of the Irish think-tank Feasta, the foundation for the economics of sustainability.  Implementation will require a new organisation with large resources and influential champions as well as widespread support. If you are interested in contributing in any way, please contact us at

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