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Posted Wed Mar 11 2009: from Science:
Proposal: Make Every Earthling Pay Their Personal Carbon Debt (Sort of)
Today, an international team of scientists proposed a new way of deciding who needs to cut what: Set up a scheme in which every person on Earth has the same climate pollution limit— "a global personal emissions cap." The system would work by first setting a global limit for each year—ideally to be determined by the science, said Heleen de Coninck of the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands. If, for example, negotiators set the global emissions limit for 2030 at 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted, each nation would determine what its citizens' individual responsibilities to cut emissions were to achieve that cut and then add them up. The approach, said de Coninick, could really shake up negotiations. Individual Americans in 2005, for example, were responsible for roughly 19 tons of CO2 each per year on average. China's average was about 4 tons. Under the scientists' proposal, the world limit in 2030 would be 11 tons per person. So negotiators would calculate the per capita emissions cuts that each country would be responsible for. It would be up to individual goverments to decide how to divvy up the cuts, but the end result would be that the average U.S. emitter would have to cut more than the average Chinese.
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