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How Much 'Carbon Space' Do We Have? Physical Constraints on India's Climate Policy and Its Implications

It is necessary to determine the role of various nations, including India, China and the other major developing countries in keeping the total atmospheric stock of greenhouse gases below 450 ppm (carbon dioxide equivalent) which, in turn, would provide a 50% probability of keeping the global temperature increase below 2°c. An analysis of future emissions of co2 in Annex I countries, large developing nations and other nations is done using a gams-based emission model. This analysis underlines sharply the historical responsibility of the developed nations for global warming and their duty to cut emissions drastically to mitigate climate change. Also large developing nations like China and India also need to contribute strongly to mitigation. It is argued that this necessity makes evident that carbon offsets will act as "double burden" on developing nations, as also a major disincentive to innovation in critical migration technologies in the industrialised world. The analysis implies that India needs an alternative climate policy that recognises proactive action for climate change mitigation while ensuring that the developed nations do not pass on their burden to the global South, which would otherwise seriously

SPECIAL ARTICLE

How Much ‘Carbon Space’ Do We Have? Physical Constraints on India’s Climate Policy and Its Implications

Tejal Kanitkar, T Jayaraman, Mario D’Souza, Prabir Purkayastha, D Raghunandan, Rajbans Talwar

It is necessary to determine the role of various nations, including India, China and the other major developing countries in keeping the total atmospheric stock of greenhouse gases below 450 ppm (carbon dioxide equivalent) which, in turn, would provide a 50% probability of keeping the global temperature increase below 2°C. An analysis of future emissions of CO in Annex I countries,

2

large developing nations and other nations is done using a GAMS-based emission model. This analysis underlines sharply the historical responsibility of the developed nations for global warming and their duty to cut emissions drastically to mitigate climate change. Also large developing nations like China and India also need to contribute strongly to mitigation. It is argued that this necessity makes evident that carbon offsets will act as “double burden” on developing nations, as also a major disincentive to innovation in critical migration technologies in the industrialised world. The analysis implies that India needs an alternative climate policy that recognises proactive action for climate change mitigation while ensuring that the developed nations do not pass on their burden to the global South, which would otherwise seriously restrict its development options in the process.

Originally prepared for the Workshop on “Breaking the Climate Deadlock: Towards a New Climate Policy for India”, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, 31 July-1 August 2009.

Tejal Kanitkar (tejal.kanitkar@gmail.com), T Jayaraman and Mario D’Souza are with the Centre for Science, Technology and Society, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and Prabir Purkayastha, D Raghunandan and Rajbans Talwar are with Delhi Science Forum, New Delhi.

1 Introduction

W
e take the attitude in this study that considerations of climate change policy must begin with the essential facts related to tolerable emission limits for greenhouse gases (GHGs), most particularly carbon dioxide (CO2). This is above all a consideration founded on social and ethical grounds, recognising that within the parameters of our current state of scientific knowledge, unchecked emissions would lead to levels of global rise of temperatures and other effects that would have profoundly negative social, economic and political consequences.

The majority of uncertainties regarding the science of climate change are related to the relative importance of various effects that would accelerate climate change to a greater or lesser degree. Over two decades no results have emerged that point to any natural effects that could have the net effect of decelerating the currently observed rate of global warming that is primarily driven by GHG emissions originating from human activity. There is of course greater uncertainty regarding the extent to which nature and human society could adapt to climate change but all evidence suggests that adaptation is not unlimited and that global warming would have serious negative consequences.

The second pertinent fact is that the current stock of GHG in the atmosphere, particularly CO2, has already set global temperatures rising. The current concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is approximately 379 parts per million (ppm) as of 2005. For 2008, the global average is about 385 ppm (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center 2009). The concentration of GHG including CO2 and other gases (measured in terms of CO2 equivalence) that would lead to a temperature rise of 2°C (with 50% probability) is of the order of 450 ppm (with approximately 400 ppm due to CO2).

It is uncontested that the bulk of the GHGs have been put there in the atmosphere by the industrial production and consumption patterns of the developed countries and that the first move towards reducing global emissions significantly must come from the developed nations (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992). Even if this has not yet been translated into definite and binding quantum of emissions reductions by the governments of the developed nations, the European Union’s climate policy proposals1 for instance have clearly recognised this necessity.

However, the crux of the issue is whether the developing countries also need to cut their emissions, over and above the cuts by the developed countries in order to keep GHG concentrations below the 450 ppm threshold. If indeed the answer to the first question is yes, we also need to know the extent of these cuts, whether there need to be absolute cuts in emissions or a deceleration of the rate of growth of emissions. We also need to know over what timescales these emissions cuts or declines of rates of growth should become operational.

The urgent need to find answers to these questions is obvious. The first is that with current levels and forms of technology and with the urgent requirements of development and growth in developing countries, emissions from developing countries will inevitably rise. Second, there is currently little evidence that new technologies are immediately available for large-scale deployment such that developing countries can access a development pathway that can be significantly different from the ones that advanced countries took to reach their current levels of economic and social wellbeing. Thus emissions-intensive current techno logies continue to remain relevant in the short and even the medium term. Third, even with existing technologies, there are a number of economic and political factors that limit access to the “best’’ currently available technologies that have lower emission characteristics. To create the conditions for successful and widespread deployment or the diffusion of these “best’’ available technologies will itself need sufficient length of time. Since development obviously cannot be slowed down in the interim, emissions will continue to rise on this count also. It is clear therefore that developing countries need to know the extent of “carbon space’’ that is available to them without accelerating the approach to some “tipping point’’ for serious climate change impacts that would have the most negative consequences primarily for the developing nations.

It is relevant to emphasise here that despite the per capita emissions from developing countries being much, much lower than the per capita emissions of developed countries, global warming is driven by the total stock of GHGs in the atmosphere, particularly CO2. Nor is it possible to scrub the bulk of the existing CO2 stock out of the atmosphere in the short or medium term, except in wildly implausible socio-economic scenarios. Thus, developing countries can deal with the early occupation of the “atmospheric commons’’ by the advanced industrial nations only over long time scales.

There are of course various economic models that attempt to quantify these uncertainties by modelling the links between economic growth trajectories, technology development and corresponding emissions growth. It is also true that these economic models have several assumptions. It is not clear whether these assumptions, many of which have several well-known shortcomings and weaknesses,2 should gain entry at the ground floor in policy formulation. In policy terms it appears more prudent to first determine the available “carbon space’’ that developing countries have in physical terms and then proceed to determine the optimal developmental pathways to reach that goal. We will of course need to make some minimal assumptions to determine the available emissions trajectories over time for developing countries but these assumptions can be easily modelled as different scenarios.

2 The Model

We now describe the overall strategy for a GAMS-based3 emissions model that would enable us to determine the “carbon space’’ available to developing countries over a time period of 50 years.

In this model we begin with the current data on emissions and rate of growth of emissions. These are restricted to CO2 for reasons that we will discuss shortly. The rates of decline of emissions for Annex I4 countries are then prescribed for the period between 2008 and 2050. In various scenarios we prescribe the general behaviour of the growth and subsequent decline of the emissions of the developing countries. For a target value of the concentration of CO2 we allow GAMS to determine the emissions and concentrations over a period of 100 years using a linear programming algorithm. The final output determines the concentration of CO2 over the 100-year period with the scenario of cuts that we have prescribed. This allows us to determine the trajectory of concentration of CO2 that we obtain with the emissions trajectory of the Annex I and developing countries that we have prescribed.

In the model itself we focus only on CO2. This is in keeping with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) strategy of determining stabilisation pathways based on CO2 with other GHGs being factored in at a later stage by somewhat different techniques. In order to compare with emission limits based on all GHGs expressed in CO2 equivalent terms, we will later indicate the extra contribution expected from non-CO2 emissions. But we will not model them explicitly in the results described here.

We now briefly sketch some aspects of the GAMS model. The model consists of two parts. The first part describes a simple carbon cycle that describes how emissions of CO2 are distributed as stock over time between three reservoirs that we will call Atmosphere, Upper Ocean and Lower Ocean. The stock of CO2 in the first reservoir is the quantity of interest to us. The parameters in this carbon cycle model are closely related to the ones used by W H Nordhaus in the Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy or DICE model (Nordhaus 2007). Using this carbon cycle we can determine the increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere due to the emissions. In the second part we begin with the emissions in the year 2008 and allow it to evolve using the prescribed scenario. The GAMS linear programming solver then optimises an objective function that sums the deviation of the concentration for every year from the target value of CO2 concentration (in ppm) that we have set over the entire 100-year period. The corresponding values of the emissions and concentrations for every year that we obtain for the optimised value of the objective function then provide the evolution of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere for the prescribed scenario.

We may specify scenarios with the world divided into different number of regions. In this study we focus on a 3-region model and a 6-region model. In the 3-region model the regions are Annex I (including the US), “Emerging Economies”5 (including China and India) and the “Rest of the World”. The six regions are the US, Annex I (excluding the US), China, India, the Emerging Economies (excluding China and India) and the Rest of the World. The scenarios include of course separate prescriptions for the initial cuts or growth rates for all the regions in both models. Using the emissions and concentration output we can also calculate the per capita emissions for various regions.

We compare our results to the stabilisation pathway for 450 ppm CO2 with overshoot that is used by the IPCC for simple climate model validation and comparison purposes.

october 10, 2009 vol xliv no 41

As a matter of detail in the actual GAMS runs we handle the Land Use Change and Forestry (LUCF) and non-LUCF sectors separately and implement separate emission contributions and cuts in each of these sectors for various regions. However, for ease of presentation we do not, in what follows, present the non-LUCF and LUCF sectors separately. Therefore the numbers that we will present for emissions cuts and reductions in growth rates of emissions below will always refer to the combined effect of reductions and cuts in both sectors.

Initial country-wise data for emissions from both non-LUCF and LUCF sectors is taken from the Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) (CAIT 2005) tool of the World Resources Institute, which is based on emissions data from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center’s database. It may be noted that, in general, the LUCF data do not have the same level of accuracy as non-LUCF data. But the relatively low weight of LUCF emissions in the overall picture mitigates the effects of this uncertainty. To determine the evolution of per capita emissions based on total emissions we use the population projections up to 2050 provided by the United Nations Population Database (United Nations Population Database 2008).

Given the general acceptance of the need for deep cuts by Annex I countries we focus on scenarios where this is implemented. For concreteness we consider the cuts in the EU proposals6 and the cuts provided for in the Waxman-Markey bill7 that has been recently passed by the US House of Representatives. While the first clearly represents a certain consensus amongst an important section of Annex I countries, the second is indicative of what the United States’ Congress is likely to approve in the short term. Indeed it is not essential that we consider the EU proposal per se and we could easily consider various scenarios wherein the Annex I countries invariably implement serious emissions cuts. However since the EU proposal offers a ready and well-known scenario it is convenient to phrase the discussion in those terms.

In the absence of any international agreement apart from the Kyoto Protocol that quantifies the cuts we also run pessimistic scenarios where the Annex I countries delay drastic reductions in emissions. We then run various scenarios with different patterns of growth or cuts for the various regions other than the US and the Annex I countries.

3 The Results

3-Region Model Results: We begin with some illustrative results from optimising with respect to a 450 ppm CO2 target for a 3-region model. In view of the conclusions of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, this would translate approximately into GHG concentration of 500 ppm CO2 equivalent (Fourth Assessment Report 2007). We have chosen this target for two reasons. The main reason is that this illustrates more sharply some of the issues that we wish to emphasise. The second is that given the current difficult state of climate change negotiations and the low levels of preparedness for drastic mitigation efforts, this target seems a more realistic option to explore. In what follows, the cuts in annual emissions (to be achieved by specified years) of the Annex I countries are prescribed in terms of their percentage with respect to annual emissions in 1990. This of course would imply steeper reductions

Economic & Political Weekly

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october 10, 2009 vol xliv no 41

with respect to current annual emissions. For the Emerging Economies and the Rest of the World, we will prescribe the reduction in the growth rate of their emissions as a percentage reduction from the current growth rate of emissions. We refer to this current growth rate as business-as-usual (BAU), without assuming BAU to imply any further increase in the growth rate of emissions.

We present here three illustrative scenarios.

Scenario I: Annex I coun-Table 1: Emissions Cuts by Annex 1 Countries (as % below 1990 emission levels in

tries implement the lower

specified years, implementation of lower limit of end of the EU proposals while EU proposal)

Annex 1

the Emerging Economies

2020 25

also implement only the

2030 58

lower end of EU proposals,

2050 80

implementing a 15% cut in

Table 2: Reduction in Growth Rate of

rate of growth of emissions

Emissions (as % reduction from BAU, for Emerging by 2020. However their emis-Economies and the Rest of the World, implementation of lower limit of EU proposal)

sions peak only after 2035

EE RotW

(shown in Tables 1 and 2).

2020 15 6

The appearance of figure

2030 40 21

greater than 100% in Table 2

2050 183 100

may be surprising, but merely reflects the fact that absolute reductions are taking place rather than a mere reduction in growth rate. An elementary algebraic exercise will show that absolute reductions signify greater than 100% reductions in the growth rate. Such numbers will appear regularly in the following tables.

Table 3: Emissions Cuts by Annex 1

Scenario II: The Annex I

Countries (as % below 1990 emission levels in countries implement the specified years, implementation of upper limit of EU proposal)

higher end of EU proposals

Annex1

while the Emerging Economies

2020 40

also implement the higher

2030 78

end of the EU proposals cut

2050 95

ting their rate of growth of

Table 4: Reduction in Growth Rate of

emissions back by 30% by

Emissions (as % reduction from BAU for the 2020. Their emissions in this Emerging Economies and the Rest of the World, implementation of upper limit of EU proposal)

scenario peak between 2030

EE RotW

and 2035 and absolute emis

2020 30 6 sions reductions set in by 203021

75 2040 (Tables 3 and 4). 2050 217 100

Scenario III: The Annex I Table 5: Reduction in Growth Rate of Emissions (as % reduction from BAU for the

countries implement the

Emerging Economies and the Rest of the World, if higher end of the EU proposals implementation in cuts is slow)

EE RotW

while the Emerging Econo

2020 70

mies do not play ball. They

2030 20 10

cut the rate of growth of

2050 150 100

emissions by only 20% by 2030. In this scenario their emissions peak by 2045 (Table 5).

Table 6: Emission Cuts by Annex 1 Countries

(as % below emission levels in 2005,

Scenario IV: The Annex I as a

implementation of the Waxman-Markey bill)

whole follows the Waxman- Annex 1 than the EU proposal. In this scenario we expect that the Emerging Economies will also not undertake substantial cuts and will only undertake absolute cuts after 2040 (Table 6, p 37).

Markey proposal for emissions 2020 17
cuts. The cuts for the Annex I 2030 53
in this are significantly less 2050 83
37

The GAMS runs give the following results:

Scenario I leads to 485 ppm by 2100 with an overshoot beyond 500 after 2040 as shown by the XL PPm actual curve in Figure 1. Thus it is well off the 450 ppm CO2 stabilisation pathway. The other lines in Figure 1 are the 350 ppm and 450 ppm CO2 stabilisation pathways of the IPCC.

Figure 1: The Actual Concentration for Scenario-I Overshoots Beyond 500 ppm

(CO concentration, in parts per million)

2 600

XLPPm Actual

500

PathOSP450 PathOSP350 400

300 2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098

Following the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (Fourth Assessment Report 2007), discussions on stabilisation of the non-CO2 contribution in such a scenario is likely to be higher than the 50 ppm that is true for the 450 ppm range.

Scenario II is much closer to the 450 ppm stabilisation pathway, approaching 491 ppm at its peak and approaching 465 ppm by 2100.

Figure 2: The Actual Concentration for Scenario-II Closely Approximates 450 ppm Stabilisation Pathway (CO concentration, in ppm)

2

600

XLPPm Actual

500 PathOSP450

400 PathOSP350

300 2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098

Scenario III, where the Annex I countries cut emissions significantly (following the higher end of the EU proposals) but the Emerging Economies do not cooperate, diverges significantly from the 450 ppm pathway remaining above 500 ppm by 2100. This illustrates clearly the critical role of the Emerging Economies as Figure 3: The Actual Concentration for Scenario-III (CO concentration, in ppm)

2 600

XLPPm Actual PathOSP450

500 PathOSP350 400

300 2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098

38 a whole in curtailing the growth rate of their emissions if concentrations are to be maintained at 450 ppm. Of course this role becomes even more important if the target concentration of carbon dioxide were to be lowered further.

Scenario IV also produces greater concentrations of CO2 with figures around 520 ppm in the year 2100.

Figure 4: The Actual Concentration for Scenario-IV (CO concentration, in ppm)

2 600

XLPPm Actual

PathOSP450 500

PathOSP350

400

300 2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098

Of course, significant reductions by the Emerging Economies much earlier would lead to lower concentrations. But there is likely to be little incentive for Emerging Economies to do so in view of the fact that the Waxman-Markey proposals represent a considerable retreat even from the EU proposals.

The conclusions from these scenarios are clear:

(i) Even if the higher end cuts of the EU proposal are implemented by the entire Annex I group of countries, the long-term concentration levels depend significantly on the behaviour of the Emerging Economies. Even the generous target of 450 ppm of CO2 requires absolute reductions in emissions beginning between 2030 and 2040 by the Emerging Economies. The emission trajectories needed from both the Annex 1 and the Emerging Economies to achieve a close approximation of the 450 ppm stabilisation pathway are shown in Figure 5. The fact that the Annex I emissions go negative is a consequence of including the negative emissions from LUCF, though the effect is not very significant.

Figure 5: Emissions Trajectories to Achieve a Close Approximation of the 450 ppm Stabilisation Pathway (Total emissions, GtC, in ppm)

7

6

5

4

3 RotW EE2

1 Annex 1 0

2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098

2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098 -1

(ii) For total global emissions to decrease early on, early reduction in the growth rate of emissions from the Emerging Economies appears necessary. Later reduction in the growth rate as in Scenario I lead to total global emissions peaking at a much later period and as a consequence the final concentrations rise.

(iii) The per capita emissions from the Emerging Economies as a whole will surpass the per capita emissions of the Annex I countries somewhere between 2019 and 2030 in the range of scenarios that we have considered here based on the EU proposal. Shown in

october 10, 2009 vol xliv no 41 EPW Economic & Political Weekly

Figures 6 and 7 are the annual per capita emissions for the 3 regions if the upper limit of the EU cuts and the cuts proposed by the Waxman Markey bill are implemented.

Figure 6: Annual Per Capita Emissions for the Higher Cuts Proposed by EU (Tonnes of CO/person)

2

14 Annex 1

RotW 12 10 8 6 4 2 EE

0 2008 2012 2016 2020 2024 2028 2032 2036 2040 2044 2048 2050

Figure 7: Annual Per Capita Emissions for the Cuts Proposed by the Waxman-Markey Bill (Tonnes of CO/person)

2 14

12 10 8 6 4 2 Annex 1 EE

RotW 0 2008 2012 2016 2020 2024 2028 2032 2036 2040 2044 2048 2050

It is clear that this is a fairly robust result. Thus the Manmohan Singh convergence principle (referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurance that India’s per capita emissions would never cross that of the developed countries) will lose force quickly for the Emerging Economies as a whole. However the definition of regions that we have used here masks various serious inter-regional disparities that need to be clarified. We shall do this when we examine the 6-region model.

(iv) It is clear that even in optimistic scenarios of reductions in emissions growth (with early reductions in absolute emissions by the Emerging Economies) 50% or more of the total stock of GHGs due to CO2 in the atmosphere even in the year 2100 continues to be on account of Annex I emissions as shown in Figure 8.

This is particularly significant in view of the question of historical responsibility that is a critical aspect of climate change negotiations including financing. The need for action by the major developing

Figure 8: Percentage Contribution to Stock by Annex 1 and the Rest of the World (Scenario-II) (% contribution to total CO stock in the atmosphere)

2 1

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0 2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098

% contribution of non-Annex 1 countries
% contribution of Annex 1 countries

countries does not in any way take away from the responsibility of the developed nations. However, it is also clear that this fact does not provide room for the Emerging Economies to persist with a BAU policy as this would drive CO2 concentration well beyond even the generous threshold that we have set in our model runs. Indeed this point sharpens the question as we discuss again later on.

6-Region Results: In this set of scenarios we explicitly focus on the United States, China and India together with the other Annex I countries, the other Emerging Economies and the Rest of the World. We continue to optimise with a 450 ppm CO2 target.

We begin again with a set of scenarios set up with reference to the EU proposals.

However, we are able to specify independently the emission cuts of more regions. This enables us to determine independently the significance of both the highest per capita emitter, the United States and the highest emitter of total emissions, currently China. We will also be able to independently examine the flexibility that India possesses at the level of physical constraints. Of course in practice this flexibility is somewhat circumscribed as India’s position cannot diverge drastically from that of the other developing countries.

What is immediately evident in the 6-region model is the significant weight of China in the overall global emissions scenario. We will use this fact in the construction of the various scenarios here for the 6-region model.

In this part of the paper for Emerging Economies, China and India we have assumed that emissions steadily decline in the LUCF sector at a constant rate (taken to be the current rate of decline) till 2050. There are varying rates of emission growth in the model only in the non-LUCF sector. This assumption is valid completely for India and China but may be somewhat optimistic in the context of other Emerging Economies. However for Annex I and US we have varying rates of emissions cuts in both non-LUCF and LUCF sectors.

We examine the following scenarios in the 6-region model:

Scenario I: The Annex I Table 7: Emission Cuts by Annex 1 Countries and USA (as % below emissions in 1990,

countries and the US cut emis

implementation of lower limit of EU proposal)

sions on the lines of the lower US

Annex 1

end of the EU proposal. China 2020 25 25
cuts more sharply, roughly 2030 55 63
40% from BAU (viz, the origi 2050 80 80
nal rate of growth in 2008),
while India and the Emerging Economies cut around 15% Table 8: Reduction in Growth Rate of Emissions (as % reductions from BAU, for India, China, Emerging Economies and the Rest of the World –
from BAU8 (the original rate of growth) by 2020. China, only in non-LUCF sector, implementation of lower limit of EU proposal) EE China India RotW
India and the other Emerging 2020 15 40 15 6
Economies reduce absolute 2030 40 84 40 28
emissions after 2040 (shown 2050 212 150 190 118
in Tables 7 and 8).
Table 9: Emissions Cuts by Annex 1
Scenario II: The Annex I Countries and USA (as % below emissions in 1990, implementation of upper limit of EU proposal)
countries and the US apply cuts Annex 1 US
in emissions on the lines of 2020 40 40
the higher end cuts of the EU 2030 77 81
proposal as shown in Table 9. 2050 95 95

China implements even Table 10: Reduction in Growth Rate of Figure 10: Per Capita Emissions for Various Regions/Countries (Scenario-I) Emissions(as % reduction from BAU, for India, (Per capita emissions, in tonnes of CO/person)

2

steeper reductions in the rate

China, Emerging Economies and the Rest of the

20 of growth, India and the re-World,implementation of upper limit of

18

EU proposal) China

maining Emerging Econo- 16

EE India USA

ChinaRotW

mies cut to about 30% ofBAU 14

2020 3055306 12

in 2020 and begin absolute

10 reduction in emissions after 8

2030 75 75

100 28

2050 249175220118 6 EE

2030 as shown in Table 10.

Table 11: Emission Cuts by Annex 1 4 RotW

Annex 1 Countries(as % below emissions in 1990, 2 Scenario III: In this scenario implementation of upper limit of EU proposal) 0

Annex

the Annex I countries follow 1

2008

2012201620202024202820322036204020442048

2050

2020 40 India

the higher end of the EU pro

2030 77

posal while the US follows Scenario II: The trajectory of CO2 concentration stabilises around

2050 95

the pattern of cuts of the 460 ppm by 2100 with a mild overshoot (shown in Figure 11).

Table 12: Emission Cuts by USA (as % below

Waxman-Markey bill. China, Figure 11: Actual Concentration for Scenario-II of the 6-Region Model

emissions in 2005,implementation of Waxman-

India and the Emerging (CO2 concentration, ppm)

Markey bill) 600

US

Economies follow the pattern

2020 17

of cuts in ScenarioII (shown

PathOSP450 2030 51 XLPPm Actual

in Tables 11 and 12). 500 2050 83

Scenario IV: In this the An-Table 13: Reduction in Growth Rate of

PathOSP350

Emissions(as % reduction from BAU, for India, 400

nex I and the US follow the

China, Emerging Economies and the Rest of the higher end of the EU proposal World in non-LUCF sector)

EE India

ChinaRotW

cuts and all of China, India 300

2008 20142020 2026 2032 20382044205020562062 2068 2074 2080208620922098

2020 30 30 30 6

and the other Emerging

2030 75757528

Economies follow the same The trajectory for emissions for the 6-region model is shown in

2050 249 175 220 118

trajectory of emissions cuts Figure 12. till 2030. This is in contrast toScenarioII where China reducesthe Figure 12: Emissions Trajectory for Various Regions/Countries (Scenario-II)

(Emission trajectories, global cumulative CO emissions in billion metric tonnes)

2

growthrate of emissions faster than other developing countries 12 (shown in Table 13).

USA India

10

TheGAMS runs give the following results:

8 Scenario I: The concentration of CO2 goes over 500 ppm China and comes down only till 490 ppm even at 2100 (shown in 6 Figure 9).

4 EE

Figure 9: Actual Concentration for Scenario-I of the 6-Region Model

(CO concentration, ppm) 2

2600

RotW Annex 1 0

XLPPm Actual

20082008 201420202020 2026203220382026 2032 2044

20562056
206220682062 2068 207420802080 2092 2098

208620922098 PathOSP450

2014 2038 2044

20502050
2074 2086

-2

500

The cross over in per capita emissions for China and the other Emerging Economies with respect to US and the Annex I occurs a

PathOSP350

400 little earlier compared to Scenario I. For India, its per capita emissions cross the Annex I and the US figures by 2036 itself as shown in Figure 13.

300

Figure 13: Per Capita Emissions for Various Regions/Countries (Scenario-II)

2008 20142020 20262032 2038 2044 20502056 2062 206820742080 2086 20922098

(Per capita emissions, in tonnes of CO/person)

2 20

China’s per capita emissions cross both the US and the non

18 AnnexI between 2015 and 2020. The Emerging Economies (ex-16 USA

China

14

cluding China and India) per capita emissions also cross the

12

AnnexI andUS figures between 2015 and 2020 (this is due to high

10 increase in the emissions due toLUCF). However India’s per capita 8

emissions do not converge to the US and Annex I figures until

6

EE 4 RotW

Annex 1 2

reductions in the Emerging Economies ensures that their total 0 2050 (shown in Figure 10). In this scenario the extent ofLUCF

2008 2012 2016202020242028 2044

203220362040 20482050

India

emissions decline slowly, but steadily.

40 october 10, 2009 vol xliv no 41 EPW Economic & Political Weekly

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This has obvious implications for India’s stand that it’s per capita emissions will not cross the Annex I countries’ levels at any point in time.

Scenario III appears very similar to Scenario II primarily because with other countries being held to the higher end of possible cuts the weight of one single country is not very significant. However as the US is the highest per capita emitter, the crossover of the per capita emissions trajectory of China, India and Emerging Economies will be delayed further from the years shown for Scenario II as shown in Figure 14.

(Tonnes of CO/person)

2

Figure 14: Per Capita Emissions for Various Regions/Countries (Scenario-III)

RotW Annex 1 China USA EE India 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2

0

2008 2012 2016 2020 2024 2028 2032 2036 2040 2044 2048 2050

The results of Scenario IV are instructive. In contrast to Scenario II the concentration is over the 450 mark at 480 ppm (approx) in 2100 with an overshoot in the years prior to it as shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15: Concentration for Scenario-IV of the 6-Region Model (CO concentration, ppm)

2600

XLPPm Actual

500 400 PathOSP350 PathOSP450

300 2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098

It is clear that China has a special role to play in limiting global warming by reducing the growth rate of emissions. However we must emphasise that a significant section of China’s manufacturing is also directly related to exports, with one estimate placing it as high as 33% of China’s total emissions in 2005, driven most likely by developed world consumption patterns (Weber et al 2008). Given China’s status as the “manufacturing hub of the world’’ (in contrast to the domination of India’s growth by the service sector), its emissions clearly cannot be considered the responsibility of China alone.

It must also be emphasised that after China, India is the next largest source of emissions among the Emerging Economies. Thus any action by the Emerging Economies on emissions is very likely to follow the lead set by India. As the 3-region model demonstrates combined action by the Emerging Economies has a critical role to play in keeping total GHG emissions below tolerable limits.

We will comment on this further in the concluding section below. However for all other countries, while no single country alone with a different pattern of cuts would make a difference to the final result, nevertheless their collective responsibility is clear from the results of the 3-region model.

44

4 Further Policy Implications

What are the implications of the results that we have discussed here for the making of climate policy, particularly for India?

Equity Issues

It is clear that the Emerging Economies as a whole have a significant role to play in limiting global emissions even to the generous targets that we discussed in this paper, namely 450 ppm of CO2. In GHG carbon equivalent terms this amounts to a GHG concentration of approximately 500 ppm. At this concentration the probability of exceeding a 2°C rise in temperature lies between 48% and 96% and that of exceeding 3°C lies between 11 and 61% (Meinshausen 2006). In many of the more moderate scenarios we have seen concentrations of CO2 rise as high as 500 ppm. Translating this to 550 ppm of GHG in CO2 equivalent terms, the expected temperature rise is 2°C with 63-99% probability, and 3°C rise with a probability of 21-69% (ibid).

In the simplified carbon-cycle model that we have used in our analysis, future climate change feedback effects have not been incorporated appropriately (Nordhaus’s analysis referred to earlier suggests that some past climate feedback effects have however been incorporated). In view of this, the concentration levels that we report here represent a lower bound on the likely trajectory of concentrations in the future.

At the same time, these results underline even more sharply the responsibility of the developed industrial nations in bringing global society to this pass. Indeed the situation is far more serious than that implied by the recitation of relative per capita emissions alone. All the scenarios studied indicate that in terms of total stock of CO2 in the atmosphere, at least 50% would have originated in the Annex I countries even by the year 2100. If stock contribution is measured in per capita terms then the continued occupation of carbon space by the developed world becomes even more dramatic.

The early occupation of the “carbon space’’ by the developed world has also sharply restricted the room for manoeuvre by the developing countries as a whole. Among the developing countries, China needs to implement reductions from BAU emissions at an earlier date than other developing economies. India’s offer of maintaining per capita emissions always below developed country levels will itself require significant efforts for deviation from BAU no later than two decades from now. Developing countries will thus be forced to move along conceptually ill-understood, untested and expensive (at least in the initial stages) lowcarbon pathways of development in the short and medium-term. For many of them this will constitute a deliberate turning away from the utilisation of their most readily accessible natural resources, like coal in the case of India.

While these arguments do not take away from the pressing need for action by the developing countries as a whole and the Emerging Economies in particular, they also have sharp implications for the substance and conduct of international climate change negotiations. While we will not discuss these implications here in any comprehensive manner we will highlight some of them in the context of the proposal for a new climate policy for India that has been outlined in the concept note for this meeting.

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New Technologies and IPR

It is clear that new technology has a critical role to play in the future, notwithstanding the many uncertainties that surround issues of technology development and innovation pathways, diffusion of innovations and deployment of new technologies and so on. However rent-seeking behaviour by the developed countries and their industrial enterprises by the imposition of a stringent intellectual property rights regime covering technologies relevant to low-carbon pathways will amount to the imposition of a double burden on developing countries. Apart from being forced to low-carbon development pathways that are in any case expensive (in the short term at least) they will also have to pay for the needed technology and in due course for the deployment of these technologies in the third world by first world enterprises. The history of technology transfer to the third world would offer little room for confidence that the cost of this new technology would be substantially lowered by large-scale deployment in the presence of a stringent Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime. Much room for manoeuvre has already been curtailed on this count by World Trade Organisation and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) negotiations. Access to all new technologies relevant emissions reduction needs therefore to be placed outside the purview of IPR restrictions in the public domain.

Carbon Offsets

The second issue is the role of carbon offsets in assisting developing countries to move along low-carbon pathways in future, whether in the form provided by the Kyoto Protocol or in some revamped or refurbished version. Carbon offsets as a means of global emissions reduction are problematic on three different, though related, counts.

In the first instance, it is again another instance of increasing the burden of global emissions reductions that falls on developing countries. The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan (United Kingdom Low Carbon Plan 2009) reveals the contours of this problem clearly. While new technology has been considered seriously as part of the mitigation proposals in most sectors of industry, fully 100% of the mitigation in the energy industry (which is the largest source of emissions) is expected to come from carbon credits purchased under the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) carbon trading scheme. However, it is clear that this is something of a specious strategy. As the most advanced of European nations in the matter of climate change mitigation, the lead provided by the UK is likely to be followed by

Figure 16: Per Capita Emissions in Case of 50% Offsets by Developed Countries

(Per capita emissions, tonnes of CO/person)

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Figure 17: Per Cent Contribution to Total Stock in Case of 50% Offsets by Developed Countries (% contribution to total CO stock in the atmosphere)

% contribution of non-Annex 1 countries
% contribution of Annex 1 countries

2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 2038 2044 2050 2056 2062 2068 2074 2080 2086 2092 2098

other nations. In this event, it is clear that the carbon credits for energy mitigation (which is no mitigation at all in terms of actual emissions reduction) has to come from outside the EU-ETS scheme or indeed the rest of the Annex I countries but from some form of carbon offsets purchased from developing countries. This would amount to the developing countries not only having to reduce their own growth of emissions and later reducing them absolutely, but also having to bear the burden of emissions reduction of some of the most polluting sectors of Annex I industry.9 The implications on the per capita emissions and the total stock in such a situation are shown in Figures 16 and 17.

It can be seen that in such a case the per capita emissions never converge and the developed industrial nations occupy more than 60% of the carbon space even by 2100.

The second problem with offsets is that it is odds with the need for the global development of new low-emissions technologies. Carbon offsets are unlikely to act as an incentive to the development of new technologies in the advanced industrial nations since they precisely blunt the demand from Annex I countries for innovations in energy technologies. There is little reason to hope that third world demand will act as a spur for first world innovation. There is much evidence against this as in the case of the production of essential drugs and pharmaceuticals for the third world. In cases where innovation has been driven partly by potential demand in the third world, as in the case of genetically modified food technologies, the results have had several other problematic features. In the case of energy technologies, nuclear energy is a pertinent example where technology that has been deemed unsafe in the first world is marketed as the solution to third world energy issues.

It is evident that the denial of carbon offsets for mitigation in Annex I countries can equally act as a powerful mechanism to spur innovation, but this is an option that of course has been ignored. The G-8 countries, that account for the world’s highest per capita emitters, continue to insist on the self-defeating logic of having both carbon offsets and promoting energy innovation almost entirely through the private sector and market mechanisms.10

Third, in essence carbon offsets act as a bribe to the elite of the third world, to undertake the burden of emissions reduction for the advanced industrial nations. In the event the third world elite can fulfil this role only by passing the costs on to the poor while locking them into patterns of production and consumption that, while being low-carbon, are also likely to leave them stranded at

45 low levels of material well-being. Many third world countries are already characterised by very large disparities in energy use and emissions responsibility between the elite and the bulk of the population. Carbon offsets are likely to perpetuate and exacerbate these trends.

From a comparison of the statement of the G-8 leaders at the L’Aquila summit titled “Responsible Leadership for a Sustainable Future” with the joint statement titled “Declaration of the Leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate’’ it is clear that both offsets and IPR policy are central to the advanced industrial nations’ attempt to mitigate climate change costs while attempting to pass the burden on to the developing world.

Finally, the argument from the computation of historic responsibility for GHG stock in the atmosphere made in this paper should clearly underlie any international negotiations on the question of international financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation. As this paper has repeatedly emphasised above, even after considerable cuts by the Annex I countries, the current situation is such that they will continue to occupy a strongly disproportionate amount of carbon space. This consideration needs to be at the centre of all discussions on financing arrangements in the future.

5 Concluding Remarks

The final argument of this paper is that India’s climate change policy, at least till recently, has been characterised by two equally unsustainable tendencies. On the one hand, while

Notes

1 On 17 December 2008, the EU committed itself to reduce its GHG emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. It also committed to cut its emissions by 30% of 1990 levels by 2020 if other developed countries made comparable emission reductions under an ambitious international climate agreement in Copenhagen in 2009. See European Union Climate and Energy Package (2008).

2 For a critique from the perspective of mainstream economics, see for instance, Stephen De Canio (2003). For more radical critiques, see also the work of Larry Lohmann or George Monbiot.

3 General Algebraic Modelling System or GAMS is a modelling system for mathematical programming and optimisation.

4 The Annex I countries are those listed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, namely, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States of America.

5 The countries of the Emerging Economies region are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Korea (South), Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

6 In its 30 March 2009 submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the EU proposed that developed countries collectively reduce their GHG emissions by 25-40% by 2020 and by 80-95% by 2050 relative to 1990 levels. The EU further added that developed countries’ emission reduction efforts were solely not enough to achieve the 2°C objective, and that developing countries had to participate through

46 insisting, quite correctly, on the historic and contemporary responsibility of the advanced industrial nations in mitigating the effects of climate change, Indian policy has been tardy in recognising the role, at least officially, in addressing their role, as part of the Emerging Economies, in keeping global concentrations of GHGs within limits that would limit the impacts on global society and particularly on the most vulnerable of the world, many of whom are Indians.

On the other hand, in a series of encounters with the leaders of the advanced industrial nations, the India political leadership has gradually acceded to the demands of the G-8 on the means to deal with climate change. From the acceptance of global emissions trading and offsets, in particular, in the final accession to the Kyoto Protocol to the acceptance of strong IPR regimes in the climate change context at Heilingdamm, Indian policy has accepted the core propositions that have the effect of doubling the burden on developing countries in dealing with climate change.

The divergences between the G-8 and the Major Economies Forum statements at L’Aquila indicate that the G-8 will demand more from the developing countries in the run-up to Copenhagen. While India moves forward in recognising the need for the large developing nations in particular to contribute strongly to climate change mitigation, it must also ensure that Annex I countries do not pass on their burden to the global south and seriously restrict its development options in the process.

nationally appropriate actions. In this context, the EU citied recent studies which indicated developing countries limit growth in emissions to 15-30% below business-as-usual by 2020. See European Union proposal (2009).

7 The Waxman-Markey Bill proposes to reduce US GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Further, the Bill proposes to reduce emissions by 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. See Waxman-Markey Bill (2009).

8 We will take the figure of 3.32% to represent India’s growth rate of emissions as business-as-usual even though it originates as the growth rate in 2008 from the CDIAC data. However this is closely related to the compounded annual growth rate for the period 2000-2035 provided by Garg et al (2003). We make the similar assumption, that the 2008 growth rate is extrapolated across all years as BAU, for China and the other Emerging Economies too.

9 For an elegant quantitative statement of this argument see Monbiot (2009). 10 See for instance the text of the G-8 statement from the recent L’Aquila summit (G-8 Statement 2009).

References

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) (2009): http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg. html , July.

CAIT (2005): http://cait.wri.org

De Canio, Stephen (2003): “Economic Models of Climate Change: A Critique’’, Palgrave Macmillan.

European Union Climate and Energy Package (2008): http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/climate_action.htm, December.

European Union proposal (2009): http://unfccc.int/ documentation/documents/advanced_search/ items/3594.php?rec=j&priref=600005199#beg

Fourth Assessment Report (2007): “Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report’’, http://www.ipcc.ch/

october 10, 2009

pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf, November

Garg, Amit, P R Shukla, Debyani Ghosh, Manmohan Kapshe and Rajesh Nair (2003): “Future GHG and Local Emissions for India: Policy Links and Disjoints’’ in Journal Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Vol 8, No 1.

G-8 Statement (2009): http://www.g8italia2009.it/ G8/Home/G8-G8_Layout_locale-1199882116809_ Atti.htm, 8 July.

Meinshausen, Malte (2006): “What Does a 2°C Target Mean for Greenhouse Gas Concentrations? A Brief Analysis Based on Multi-Gas Emission Pathways and Several Climate Sensitivity Uncertainty Estimates’’ in In Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, H J Schellnhuber, W Cramer, N Nakicenovic, T Wigley and G Yohe (ed.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Monbiot, George (2009): http://www.monbiot.com/ archives/2009/07/14/pulling-yourself-off-theground-by-your-whiskers, 14 July.

Nordhaus, William H (2007): http://nordhaus.econ. yale.edu/Accom_Notes_100507.pdf

United Kingdom Low Carbon Plan (2009): http:// www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/publications/ lc_trans_plan/lc_trans_plan.aspx

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992): http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/background/items/1349. php, May.

United Nations Population Database (2008): “World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision Population Database”, http://esa.un.org/unpp/index. asp

Waxman, Henry and Markey, Edward (Waxman-Markey Bill) (2009): http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2454&tab=summary

Weber, Christopher L, Glen P Peters, Dabo Guan and Klaus Hubacek (2008): “The Contribution of China’s Exports to Climate Change’’ in Energy Policy, Policy, Vol 36, No 9, pp 3572-77, 9 September.

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