The Bali Action Plan calls for “ensuring the comparability of efforts” among developed Parties. The ability to compare pledges is seen as a vital element of ensuring a fair, equitable, and transparent global agreement. There are many metrics of comparability that one could examine, including level of effort taken domestically versus via international offsets, abatement costs, historical responsibility, among others, and metrics could be combined and weighted differently. Here we examine two metrics of comparability: percent change in absolute emission reductions and per capita emission reductions.
Annex I Party: The industrialized countries listed in this annex to the Convention which were committed to return their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000 as per Article 4.2 (a) and (b). They have also accepted emissions targets for the period 2008-12 as per Article 3 and Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol.
Pledge: For the purposes of this analysis, a proposed commitment for emission reductions, to be realized by 2020. Although the term has been used in the context of voluntary measures, we use it to refer to a target proposal regardless of the legal form used.
Data and Methods
To compare and aggregate the pledges, data were collected on Annex I pledges, historical greenhouse gas emissions, and socioeconomic indicators. To the extent that pledges for emission reduction commitments are to be met through international offsets, we assume these reductions are real and additional.
The Annex I Parties analyzed here represent the majority of Annex I emissions, but it should be noted that the analysis focuses upon larger Annex I emitters and, therefore, does not capture all pledges.
Absolute emissions reductions are calculated by first determining each country’s projected emissions in 2020 based on its stated pledge(s) and baseline year. We then divide the difference between the 2020 projected emissions and the country’s emissions in the base year by the 2020 projected emissions.
Per capita emissions reductions are calculated in a similar way, using population data in the base year, and projected population estimates in 2020.
For more information, please read our working paper.
I see we (the U.S.) are leading the way backwards again…