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Talking Points for UNFCCC Negotiators and other Climate Junkies
Zero Emissions You want 2° max, you need zero emissions before the end of the century, you want 1.5°, you need zero emissions before 2050. In any case, differentiated responsibility commands that Annex-I countries get down to zero way before 2050. This is well within our life times, it is our generation’s task. And it is not all that difficult: replace all fossil fuels with renewables. From historical perspective, everybody was living zero emissions lifestyles until a couple of generations ago. Only the last 1-2 generations have really messed up and even forgotten about zero emission lifestyles. We will need to get back on track. Plans already exist on an individual, community, city, regional, national and global level. Equity Principles Governments also need to spill out the principles for sharing that budget they would like to apply. The most straightforward approach is a per capita rule where every human being would get the same allowance. Whoever criticizes per capita should come up with a better alternative. Grandfathering (whoever polluted most in the past gets most) is certainly not a viable alternative. The IPCC has made a list of equity principles ( which should serve as a starting point for this necessary discussion.

Per capita Emissions 2020 We daughters and sons of Mother Earth all share the responsibility for a stable climate. So if you are emitting greenhouse gases, you have to face the facts. The target numbers currently publicized are next to meaningless, since they have no common reference and when they do, it is a skewed one. To find a way through this mess, we should use per capita emissions to evaluate performance. Here are the per capita numbers for the Copenhagen Accord Pledges, which governments are now trying to formalize: It is shocking that many countries want to be emitting more than 10 tons per capita ten years from now, when this is valuable time that we should be using for a swift decarbonisation of the economy. Compare this to the global budget and the “available” 1-3 tons per capita before going to zero in 2050!

Global Target 2050 COP16 agreed (who noticed??) that Durban shall set a global 2050 target. Given the dire impacts so far with 0.8° warming, recent climate science and the will of over 100 countries, 2° cannot be the aim, it must be 1.5° warming at the most. This implies zero emissions globally by 2050, at the latest.

Global Carbon Budget From a global 2050 goal, a “budget” comes as a straight consequence. The amount of carbon emissions in the next four decades will be the main factor (besides what’s already up there and some feedback loops in the global climate system not yet fully understood) that determines the amount of climate change we will get to suffer. Every government should spill out their number: what should be the global budget up to 2050? This can then be related to climate science and to national impacts and mitigation plans and targets. As a rule of thumb: you can’t emit more then 1-3 tons per person per year from now to 2050 and then have to stop completely, if we want to meet any of the current global targets (1.5° or 2°).

Supply-side ground!”)







The total reserves of fossil fuels are too much to handle for the climate. Only a tiny part can be extracted if we want to meet 2° or 1.5° targets. (see Unfortunately governments don't coordinate their climate and extraction policies.

That is urgently needed, so extraction can be slowed down and eventually abandoned ("phased out"). Zero Emission Plans (aka Zero Carbon Action Plans) This is the next necessary step for most cities, countries, regions: figuring out the details of how to get down to zero fossil emissions (and how to manage land in a way that minimizes GHG emissions and increases biological capture). The good thing: you don't need to wait on the government to do it, other actors can take the lead! There are examples of pioneers who have already put in much thought and work. You find a list here:

Generations 3 generations ago most people were leading zero emissions or at least low-carbon lives. The currently leading one is the "fossil" generation. They don't know anything else! Our generation needs to get back to zero emissions. That is our task and there is not more time than our professional lives for accomplishing the full transformation.

Climate Positive Living It is possible even today to live well and have a beneficial impact on the climate, taking GHGs out of the atmosphere instead of putting more up. What you need to do is 1. Account 2. Eliminate 3. Over-compensate For all three there are options available. This way you become a pioneer that opens a path to a zero emissions lifestyle, a path that the whole society will have to follow soon.

REDD+ and Markets Completely decarbonizing the global economy and leaving fossil fuels in the ground is a prerequisite for stabilizing the climate. Any mechanism that delays this structural change is dangerous. If REDD+ were to be set up as a "market mechanism" or even only partly funded through markets, this would mean that fossil emissions are made viable through offsetting in the forests. The transformation gets delayed. And what in theory is the same amount of carbon, in practice is plagued by a host of technical difficulties that do not allow to be sure that the carbon actually stays in the trees forever, but one thing is sure: the fossil carbon won't go back down into the hole after burning it.

Money If we could spend as much money on climate change as on military, that would be a good first step. We don't agree that the World Bank is handling the climate money, they are the ones financing fossil infrastructure, even today!

REDD+ and Safeguards The safeguards are like a list of things that can go wrong. But mentioning them on paper doesn't guarantee that they won't go wrong, much less when only "information sharing" is required on their implementation. Pilots are needed to try them out on the ground.

“Developed/Developing” Countries This is the “fossilized” thinking that keeps us stuck. What good is a "development" that destroys Mother Earth? The development as we know it, based on fossils is the problem! All countries need to change, but OverConsuming Countries (OCCs) even more so than Lower Consuming Countries (LCCs).

Climate Literacy Climate Literacy entails understanding Climate Change and understanding how the climate crisis can be solved. Details here:

Contact: YOUNGO Zero Emissions Working Group, Kjell Kühne,