CapGlobalCarbon is a proposal for non-governmental actors to create a new global system as a back-up to the inter-governmental negotiations to make sure the necessary reductions in global carbon emissions are achieved. This idea has been developed by members of the Irish think tank Feasta. Anyone interested in further information or in helping to realise this project please make contact here.
Capping Global Carbon At Source
There is a glut of national institutions and instruments governing climate change, and they are collectively failing to ensure us a safe future as they do not operate on a global level. They overlook the most powerful tool we can employ for controlling our fossil fuel extraction: capping the rate at which fossil fuels leave the ground.
- The purpose of CapGlobalCarbon is to establish a system that makes sure we reduce fossil fuel emissions in time to avoid irreversible climate change, and to do so in a way that contributes to social justice.
- The intention is to do that by establishing an independent global institution (the “Global Climate Commons Trust”).
Global cooperation on climate action
By combining climate justice with scientific legitimacy and legal rigour, we can ensure that fossil fuel extraction is reduced in a fair, straightforward and pragmatic manner. We need to build a new governance structure which harmonises economics with planetary boundaries. This will demand an invigorated ethos of global cooperation and common humanity – an ethos which our proposal will strengthen.
“as 80% of the world’s energy is used by 20% of its human population, most of the world would benefit financially if it was introduced.” – Richard Douthwaite
The Cap and Dividend mechanism
Under a global Cap & Dividend scheme emissions from burning fossil fuels are limited by limiting the amount of fossil fuels that can be brought onto the market anywhere in the world – an ‘upstream cap’, the cap being set and then lowered each year based on climate science, and being implemented by requiring fossil fuel corporations to have a permit issued by the Trust for each unit of coal, oil or gas introduced anywhere in the world, the permits being denominated in carbon units.
Reducing fossil fuel availability by an upstream global cap system is by far the easiest way to ensure that total global carbon emissions are reduced because far fewer corporations are involved in introducing fossil fuels into the economy than in using them. An upstream cap thus involves issuing permits to far fewer licensees than a scheme controlling various classes of user, like power stations, further downstream.
An upstream cap is also the most certain way to make sure that the required reductions in emissions are achieved because it impacts directly on total global supply and hence automatically on total global emissions. Unlike a carbon tax, it does not depend on market forces to achieve the reduction in emissions called for by climate science.
“Perhaps the biggest challenge is that governments are unlikely to outline cuts in annual emissions that will be collectively consistent with a path that gives a good chance of remaining below the 2C danger limit”. Lord Stern, The Guardian, Monday 15th December 2014
The scheme has several benefits:
- The scheme acts as a global safeguard to ensure that, whatever may or may not be agreed between nation-state governments at Paris next year, the necessary reductions in total global carbon emissions required to avoid disastrous runaway climate change are achieved.
- There is no interference with the powers and responsibilities of nation-states.
- Interference with the global economy is kept to a minimum.
- The scheme contributes to the reduction of poverty and inequality.
Cap Global Carbon Would Succeed Because…
..it takes a profoundly democratic approach to global carbon reduction. This is because both the cap and the distribution of the revenues from emissions permit sales would be implemented by Trustees who would be accountable to humanity as a whole. Further, these revenues would empower global citizens by significantly reducing structural inequality and poverty, while also promoting a sense of personal responsibility in the use of energy. Moreover, the system is refreshingly simple, bypassing the unnecessary complexity and abstraction of existing climate mitigation instruments.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller
What can I do?
- Promote capglobalcarbon on social media and distribute our leaflet
- affiliate or endorse capglobalcarbon as a company, organization or institute.
- We are looking for team members for our working groups and for the core group, contact us if your interested