Equity is back on the negotiating table, and this really is no surprise. The negotiations were never going to succeed unless they faced the challenge of “equitable access to sustainable development.” Unless they faced, more precisely, the equity challenge: holding to a 2°C or even 1.5°C-compliant global emission budget while also supporting a common right to adaptation and sustainable development. These are preconditions of any successful climate transition. The difference today is that we all know it.
Today, as the negotiations begin again in earnest, the core challenge is to move the equity agenda forward, in a manner that allows us to simultaneously 1) increase short-term ambition and 2) pioneer a track to collective post- 2020 emissions reductions that are in line with the precautionary principle. This won’t be easy, but it may be possible. Three conditions will need to be met.
· First, the Parties must work together, in good faith, to find a way forward on equity. It will not do for each to assert the uniqueness of its own “national circumstances.” There must be a global way forward.
· Second, pre-2020 ambition must be increased. Developed country targets must be strengthened to be in line with the demands of the science, and significant amounts of financial and technological support must arrive before Paris.
· Third, there must be a path forward for “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” and it must lead to a dynamic, “equity spectrum” approach to CBDRC that is responsive to global economic evolution.