In the second part of the interview, D. Raghunandan, President of All India Peoples Science Network points out that the recent US-China agreement may well signal a further entrenchment of the “pledge and review” approach to global emissions control, a view long promoted by the US. He says that the “pledge and review” mechanism addresses neither the physical requirements of emission cuts/limits for reigning in climate change, nor the equity issue of who should cut by how much. By focussing on merely what the countries are willing to commit rather than what science and equity demands, this agreement could seriously dilute the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris next year.
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The second part of our discussion with D. Raghunandan on climate change and US-China agreement on this issue.
Prabir Purkayastha (PP)- It is not really a pledge and review driven mechanism which is what US has always proposed, as opposed to what the world needs and the world that needs to do, particularly the large emitters and those who've done historical emissions need to do. Isn't this a reversal of that and we are getting back to, a kind of, each one decides what it wants to do, irrespective of what happens to the climate.
D. Raghunandan (DR)- To me, the other somewhat disquieting feature of this agreement is that it seems to endorse the long held US position of moving towards a pledge and review based system for the architecture of the global climate agreement in Paris. The US has long resisted a top down system and it prefers a bottom up pledge and review system. The question is, is there going to be now or in Paris, a mechanism by which these pledges will be weighed against the 2 degrees Celsius goal and to address what in the negotiations parlances known as adequacy. Are these going to be adequate to meet the 2 degree centigrade goal and if not, will the climate summit in Paris afford an opportunity to bring the countries back to the negotiating table to make an upward revision till the 2 degree centigrade goal is reached. That is to say, whether there is going to be a combination of a top down science based target and a bottom up pledge and review system. Right now we are getting only pledges, where is the review? So, if this joint China-US statement is going to be a harbinger of a widespread movement to the pledge and review system and that both countries will support pledge and review at Paris, then that's going to be a rather disturbing trend.
Prabir Purkayastha (PP)- Raghu, one part of it is what science demands, which is what you said, is a top down requirement which, finally, the globe has to follow. The other is the allocation of these targets, based on different countries historical emissions, as well as flows. So, taking both in to account, how do you create, what I would call it, equity principle. Now, how do we bring equity principle into the climate change negotiations, particularly, if it's going to be pledge and review as a mechanism.
D. Raghunandan (DR)- Unfortunately, the pledge and review mechanism doesn't take into account either equity or the science based requirement. There is, therefore, a need to bring back into the discourse, the equity principle. And, I still have not come across a better way of working with the equity principle, than the one which, as you know, the Delhi Science Forum and our partners in TISS have been working on, which is an allocation of fair shares distributed among countries, taking into account the historical stocks of carbon in the atmosphere, based on a carbon budgets approach and allocating the remaining carbon budgets among the countries, based on a per capita entitlement to this. Now, even if that is not used as a formula to determine what each country would do, if that is used at least as a method by which adequacy can be measured, in terms of the science and adequacy can be measured in terms of the equity principle. Then, I think, it gives a way by which one can work with both a self stated goal or a target, which is what the pledge and review system is, provided the sum of all the pledges then works out to be what the science demands. It's going to be..
Prabir Purkayastha (PP)- And, the equity.
D. Raghunandan (DR)- And, the equity. So, if the equity and the science can combine together to do this, although, the pledges may not entirely be following the equity principle, but then somebody must pick up the slack.
Prabir Purkayastha (PP)- We'll follow up with the third part after this.