November 6, 2008

The Impossible Dilemma

Richard Heinburg explores the possibility of a great compact with the developing world as the "theoretically fairest solution," but simultaneously rejects its practicality:

"The theoretically fairest solution, from an emissions point of view, would be to assign each living human an equal per capita right to emit carbon, and to create a market for those rights, so that continued disproportionate fossil fuel consumption by already-industrialized nations would entail substantial payments to less-industrialized nations. Fairness would also imply a steeper rate of reduction in fossil fuel consumption by the heavy users—a cut in emissions of considerably more than 60 percent. However, to ask industrialized nations to share their wealth with less-industrialized nations while the former are engaged in a partially self-imposed energy famine seems highly problematic. What politician could demand the extra sacrifice? What public would vote for such a policy?"

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