Climate Policy after Doha: Turning Obstacles into Solutions

5. The Wildcards
Who will see to the decommissioning of emission rights in a wealth-compatible manner (closure of what is known as the negotiation gap) and who will subsequently see to the retriev­­al of the emissions from the atmosphere which will still be too high despite the conducted decommissioning (closure of what is known as the sequestration gap)? What mechanisms can be employed for this task?

Figure 1: A climate contract in line with Copenhagen and Cancún – some caps and reduction paths

Fig. 1 shows the present development of global CO2 emissions from fossil sources (red line), which is a disaster, and a (black) cap-line of the Copenhagen type, propagated as sufficient for the “anchor” part of a working global climate regime in this text. It shows further the approximated position of the limit-reduction line, compatible with global economic growth and development conditions, which has to be fixed every year politically at a technical level. And it shows the 2°C curve (green), which would be sufficient to stay within the WGBU budget restriction. The area between the black and the blue lines represents the contract-gap; the area between the blue and the green line, the sequestration-gap. These gaps have to be closed.

For the tasks described, e.g. to close the gaps, we have two wildcards on the table: (1) The decommissioning of emission rights to the extent in which it is compatible with global wealth and growth perspectives. The volume allowed to this end can be negotiated and agreed upon among the nations of the world on a yearly basis at the working level (and can be oriented along the experience lines of the previous years). (2) The retrieval of CO2 from the atmosphere by means of forest protection, a global reforestation program and the intensification of land management.

Who is to pay for such measures? The implementation of the wildcards would cost a lot of money and the nations cannot bear this. Luckily, many actors from the private sector hurry to fill this gap today for reasons of reputation, for political ambitions, and for ethical reasons. Companies, organizations, private persons and an increasing number of actors want to position themselves in a climatically neutral manner. Large enterprises have already announced their climatically neutral position, just as the German land of Hesse (Hölscher, L., Radermacher, F. J., 2012), which targets climate neutrality by 2030 and which takes on a political vanguard role with regard to this topic. The important economic sector of customer brands of high value is already acting and puts pressure on its sub-suppliers under CSR aspects. Well-paying consumers and high-performance investors voice the respective demands towards brand manufacturers. Hundreds of actors are already involved in the field of climate neutrality today and many millions of dollars are activated annually for this purpose, see examples (Hölscher, L., Radermacher, F. J., 2012), (Deutsche Bahn, 2012) and (Handelsblatt, 2012). Switzerland will legally entrench the climate neutralization of its entire power generation sector. In Germany, the German chimney sweepers, the nation’s lucky charms, who are experts on the environment and climate matters and visit each and every household at least once a year, have also already begun to take action (Bundesverband des Schornsteinfegerhandwerks). And the children’s initiative “Plant for the Planet” has already mobilized hundreds of thousands of people on the issue and coordinated the planting of millions of trees (Finkbeiner, F., 2010). On top, the so-called Berlin Appeal (Emse, H., 2011) asks every citizen to make themselves climatically neutral.

The funding of climate neutrality through the private sector is the key to a functioning global climate regime. The annual 100 billion US dollars which are necessary for the global climate fund, also agreed upon in Copenhagen, which is to fund the cooperation of the North and the South in the field of climate protection, can be raised by selling certificates for decommissioning purposes. Today, nobody knows which money is to furnish the fund. The politicians’ task at hand under the described approach is to establish the “anchor” part of the global climate regime according to the Copenhagen formula and then merely to create a platform for trade certificate (decommissioning; reforestation) which is free of risks for the reputation of the involved actors from the private sector and to “lean” with respect to bureaucratic requirements. This will not only satisfy the fairness requirements between the North and the South but also satisfy the fairness requirements between premium consumers and normal citizens (Chakravarty, S., Chikkatur, A., de Coninck, H. , Pacala, S. , Socolow, R. and Tavoni, M., 2009). The Gulf States, China and India, Mexico and Brazil already count a similar number of premium consumers as the wealthy part of the world.

6. “Out of the Box”
What is the new aspect of the second chance introduced for a functioning global climate regime, a chance, however, open for only 10-15 years to come and which may not be seized anyway? The governments of the world understand that they can no longer solve the climate problem on their own and not through the previously followed contractual logic. They also understand that a limitation of emission volumes alone no longer represents a sustainable option. They understand that a stringent cap at the government level cannot be reached and that there is actually no need for such a stringent cap at the government level at all. A dynamic cap in compliance with the Copenhagen formula would suffice. This is one half of the solution. The second half is opening a “stage” for private actors such as organizations, companies and private persons who intend to position themselves in a climatically neutral manner in a way which is risk-free in terms of reputation and “lean” with respect to bureaucratic requirements. This affects the two available wildcards for achieving climate neutrality, that is to say the decommissioning of emission rights and the biological sequestration of emissions. Both wildcards are expensive and effective at the same time. The latter will withdraw CO2 from the atmosphere on a large scale.

CO2 will become a productive resource for new wealth, especially in some poorer parts of the world. At the same time, this allows for partnerships for climate protection between the North and the South without which the global climate problem cannot be solved anyway.

An airtight contract can be negotiated by 2015. A first draft of such a contract including a great variety of aspects to be considered can be found in (Radermacher, F. J., 2010). This contract could come into effect in 2020, if not earlier. If we implement large-scale refor­estation day by day from today, even without a working global climate regime, then even the abundance of additional emissions prevailing in the meantime as a result of the global community’s inability to reach its target of negotiating a climate contract by 2012 could be neutralized.

There is still a chance to reach the 2°C target. However, even this window will close in some time since the areas for reforestation in the southern hemisphere with their 500 million hectares may be vast but not inexhaustible (World Resources Institute, 2010). For this reason, we need to get out of the box quickly, we need to quickly abandon the dominating old negotiation logic and practice a new way of thinking. We have maneuvered ourselves into such a precarious situation that only a massive dedication of systematic intelligence will open a window for a solution for the climate problem. Imagination and agility will become decisive resources in this matter.

1. Bundesverband des Schornsteinfegerhandwerks, Zentralinnungsverband (Remark: German Federal Association of Chimney Sweepers, Central Guild Association). CO2OL – Aufforstung für aktiven Klimaschutz. (Remark: CO2OL – Reforestation for Active Climate Protection)
2. Chakravarty, S., Chikkatur, A., de Coninck, H. , Pacala, S. , Socolow, R. and Tavoni, M. (2009). Sharing global CO2 emission reductions among one billion high emitters. PNAS Published online before print July 6, 2009, doi:10.1073/pnas. 0905232106; PNAS July 21, 2009 vol. 106 no. 29 11884-118882009
3. Deutsche Bahn (2012, November), (Remark: German Railway Organization). As of 1st April 2013 Bahncard and time ticked holders are offered the possibility to travel on ICE, IC and EC trains of the German railway organization powered by 100% green power at no additional cost. November 2012 news of the German railway organization.
4. Emse, H. (2011). “Berliner Appell,” Klimaneutral handeln (Remark: Appeal by the city of Berlin towards its citizens for climatically neutral behavior)
5. Finkbeiner, F. (2010). Baum für Baum. Jetzt retten wir Kinder die Welt. oekom Verlag
6. Handelsblatt (2012). “Paketdienst DPD wird grün,” Handelsblatt No. 33, 27
7. Herlyn, E. L. A., Radermacher, F. J. (2012). “Klimaneutralität und 2-Grad-Ziel – Warum globale und regionale Bemühungen miteinander verbunden werden müssen” In Hölscher, L., F. J. Radermacher (Eds.): Klimaneutralität – Hessen geht voran (pp 36-41). Springer Vieweg
8. Hölscher, L., Radermacher, F. J. (2012). Climate Neutrality – Hesse Leads the Way. Springer Vieweg Verlag
9. Radermacher, F. J. (2010). Towards a Working Climate Regime after Copenhagen
10. Radermacher, F. J. (2011). “Wege zum 2-Grad-Ziel – Wälder als Joker” Politische Ökologie 127, Bürgerbeteiligung 3.0,. 128-131
11. Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung für Globale Umweltveränderungen (WBGU; Eds.). (2008). Kassensturz für den Klimavertrag – Der Budgetansatz. Sondergutachten
12. Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung für Globale Umweltveränderungen (WBGU; Eds.). (2011). Welt im Wandel: Gesellschaftsvertrag für eine Große Transformation. Hauptgutachten
13. World Resources Institute (2010). “Global Map of Forest Landscape Restoration Opportunities” Washington DC,

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