PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Climate change is an issue of urgent international importance, but for 20 years, the international community has been unable to agree on a coordinated way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In a "Perspective" piece published in the June issue of Nature Climate Change, J. Timmons Roberts, the Ittleson Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology, proposes a four-step compromise toward emissions reduction that offers "effectiveness, feasibility, and fairness."
Their proposal comes as another major United Nations meeting on climage change approaches.
"We face a major deadline in December of 2015 for a deal to be agreed on by the parties of the global United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change," Roberts said. "Either to get things moving toward that meeting or as a way to adequately address the issue afterward, this approach is practical, fresh, and fair."
Roberts' proposal, which he co-authored with Marco Grasso of the Universit Milano-Bicocca, is made up of four core elements for sharing the burden of carbon reductions. Their analysis is based on a carbon budget of 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide over the period 2012-50.
A successful approach, they write, must take into account both developing and developed countries without penalizing any economies disproportionately, while also proposing an equitable way to share the burden of emissions reductions.
"Some of the steps have been proposed, but what's new here is the combination of elements in a way that has the genuine ability to coalesce interests of the key players who have blocked action in the past," Roberts said.
The first factor Grasso and Roberts propose is reducing the number of actors involved in the initial reductions process from the 194 involved in U.N. negotiations to the 13 members of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) that are the largest emitters in the world. The list includes both devel
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