World Economic Forum
As a Small Island Sustainable State (SISS), (hopefully) a sustainable nation, the Cayman Islands should be concerned with atmospheric carbon as this is what drives climate change and, more importantly for SISS Sea Level Rise. In thirty years Sea Level Rise will be the largest issue affecting these islands.
I must therefore question what are we doing to mitigate climate change?
My reason for asking this question is this; when we go to the International Community for mitigation funding the first question we shall be asked is; “What have you done so far in your islands to help yourselves?”
I realize that my readers will be saying that we are so small a nation that nothing we can do will make any difference given the size of the global problem. This is however about facilitating the ability to obtain funding in future. Not having a reasonable answer will not be in our best interests.
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Equitable shares of CDR responsibility
Our research looks at how to assign responsibility for CDR equitably to countries and regions, using model scenarios as a starting point.
We developed two different approaches to sharing out CDR needs – one based on culpability for climate change (following a “polluter pays” principle) and the other based on for addressing it.
Our modelling takes into account different pathways of how human society can either stay below 1.5C or overshoot temporarily and bring temperatures back down. This is representative of the emissions scenarios used for the special report on 1.5C by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Our method allowed us to explore how responsibility varies with the strength of near-term emission reduction targets – and, thus, the level of peak warming and total amount of CDR required – as well as with the socioeconomic assumptions that underlie each scenario.
In our first approach, countries with more responsibility for causing climate change take a greater share of the burden. We allocated CDR in proportion to the degree to which countries’ cumulative per-capita emissions exceed the global average. Following this scheme brings countries closer together in terms of their per person contribution to climate change.
Our second approach allocates CDR to those countries that have the capability to deploy it, using GDP per capita as a measure of their ability to pay for CDR. In other words, those countries that are relatively wealthy shoulder more of the burden. Countries with below-average GDP per capita are spared from any CDR obligation.
The figure below shows how these different approaches (centre and right-hand panels) – as well as a “least-cost” option (left) – translate into CDR quotas for individual countries and regions (lower panels). The box plots display the range of model scenarios – including limiting warming to 1.5C with little or no overshoot (black squares), limiting to 1.5C after a large overshoot (grey circle) and missing 1.5C, but limiting warming to 2C (white circles). https://bit.ly/2Du7qsU