The climate system is a heritage held in trust and passed on from generation to generation. Although the ADP is currently deadlocked, the principle of intergenerational equity (‘Inteq’) could help find common ground. Not only could Inteq bridge generations, it could also heal the divide between developed and developing countries.
Inteq is the principle that the Earth should be handed on to future generations in a state that is no worse than it was received. This means that future generations should have the same access to resources and ecological services that we enjoy today. This has clear implications for the global temperature target and for the assessment of 1.5° and 2° degree pathways. Inteq reminds us of the common goal: our shared future.
Not only does that goal unify, but it is also the first-mentioned principle of the Convention in Article 3. But Parties appear to have some amnesia, as this principle has been missing from their dialogue on equity and targets in the ADP. So how can future generations be considered in 2015, both in words and action?
Parties need to recognize that future generations have the same rights to a healthy and sustainable environment as current ones, and the global temperature limit should reflect this.
Negotiations should concretely embrace Inteq as a guiding principle within the ADP. And the 2015 agreement should explicitly recognize Inteq as a fundamental principle, along with the mechanisms to implement it.