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Climate governance and the question of equity

The just concluded international conference on climate governance in Berlin, Germany, held on the 15th June, 2010, organized by Inwent and Transparent International attempted to discuss the key issues of knowledge & information access, equity and the economy in addressing climate change. However, the common denominator seemingly emerged as failure to define equity! Does equity in the context of climate governance mean being fair or vice versa?

One school of thought defined equity as that which should focus on the sources of finance, the financial obligation and its distribution amongst countries. Regardless of their levels of development, countries should show their responsibility and capacity to mitigate climate change. A quick quantification was made pointing at the proportion of financial commitment of two different blocks of countries, the developed and the developing countries in the ratio of 3:1 respectively. A few questions arise and remain unanswered as to who determines these proportions? And what is the basis on which they are developed? Are the equity issues addressed in deriving these proportions?

The other school of thought pointed at the historical facts of climate change and the trends of the mitigation efforts based on the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) and subsequently the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). It was argued that developed countries pledged to take lead in combating climate change and its adverse effects, but they are not, is this equity? It was also noted that, climate change system failed due to the historical industrial revolution that saw developed countries catapulting into industrialised countries at the expense of the developing countries. So, how equitable should the national adaption programmes of action (NAPA) be between the developed and developing countries in the stabilization of the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system? Therefore, shouldn’t legal action be taken against the developed countries for causing climate change!

My school of thought is coined on two basic assumptions (i) development strategies including NDPs (National Development Programmes) inversely affect climate change. Implying that whenever, a development project, say, construction of sugar production plant, a natural forest is cleared for sugar cane growing to serve as raw materials for the project. (ii) Difficulty of maintaining a difference between development fund and climate change adaptation finance, both of which are financial assistance towards the developing countries. Based on the two assumptions, I define equity as vetoing the developed countries from further development, unless such a development has no or negative foreseeable impact on climate change within a period of three hundred years. On the other hand, allow developing countries a maximum of 2 degrees of climate change for a period of one hundred years, thereafter the definition for developed countries should apply.

What is view?