Can we still comply with the maximum limit of 2 °C? Approaches to a New Climate Contract

3. Balances, Emission Graphs, Potentials – Contractual Components
The following approach discusses the structure of a potential climate contract in 2015, to be valid as of 2020, and about potential measures for the period until 2020. A graphic image of the expected and/or desired emission graphs and emission graphs achievable through various instruments will be used as a basis (see figure 1). This is a development of a previously used image.18 It includes 4 graphs: (1) the “no-contract” graph, (2) the (expected) contract graph, (3) the (pragmatic) limit reduction graph and (4) the 2 °C graph. Until 2040, the curve of the no-contract graph is mostly compatible with the statements as recently published in International Energy Outlook 2013. The 2 °C graph is oriented towards what is known as the WBGU budget equation.19 The structure of the graph is generic. The described approximated graphs are obligatory on principle if the upper limit value of 2 °C is to be complied with in one way or another. In this case, the core questions are: Will we solve the climate issue? What will the exact curve of the mentioned graphs actually look like? We have merely shown principal graphs here.

Figure 1: Various Development Graphs for Climate Gas Emissions until 2050



4. The Copenhagen Formula as a Basis
Just like the initial contract suggestion, the currently suggested contract is geared by the Copenhagen Formula: The industrialized nations will reduce their emissions by an absolute factor, the non-industrialized nations by a factor relative to their economic growth rate. In this course, the nations determine individually and independently their respective reduction target values (pledges). A Green Climate Fund of at least annually 100 billion US dollars, funded by the industrialized nations, to support climate-related action in the remaining countries, is another essential part of the package. There is hope that certain agreements already affect the period between 2016 and 2020.

5. Resulting Dynamic Cap
The implementation of the Copenhagen Formula renders a dynamic global cap (the contract graph (2)), which may even grow temporarily and which is parameterized based on the economic growth rates of the non-industrialized nations.

6. Non-homogeneous Set of Instruments from the Government
As per the Potsdam workshop, we cannot expect a homogeneous global cap-and-trade system in 2020. Instead, a non-homogeneous set of instruments from the nations for the implementation of their contractual obligations will be considered and will include the following points:

  • Regional cap-and-trade systems
  • Carbon taxation
  • Forest protection and reforestation
  • Promotion of renewable energies
  • Enforcement of energy restructuring
  • Stipulations as to energy mix
  • Investment promotion in the field of restructuring
  • Interventions in the field of energy
  • Balancing of fossil energy carriers
  • Promotion of a climate-oriented green race in the field of technology

7. 500 Billion Tons of Anticipated Decrease in Volume
Based on the above arguments, politicians are expected to achieve a decrease from the non-contract case of an estimated 1,600 billion tons of total climate gas emissions from fossil resources by approximately 500 billion tons of emissions to 1,100 tons of emissions via the described global climate contract by 2050 as opposed to the scenario where the states of the world cannot agree on a global climate contract at all. (Transition from the no-contract graph (1) to the negotiation graph (2) in figure 1).

8. Continuation of Proven Instruments
The adaptation and continuation of the proven instruments of emission trading, joint implementation and CDM of the Kyoto contract under the new framework conditions as an integral part of the global climate contract are proposed and assumed.

9. Central Integration of the Private Sector
The added-up volume of CO2 emissions from 1,100 billion tons of fossil fuel emissions by 2050, which is to be anticipated upon government interaction, still exceeds the value of approximately 600 billion tons of emissions that would still be compatible with compliance with the upper limit value of 2 °C as per the WBGU budget equation by approximately 500 billion tons.20 For this, the private sector (organizations, companies and private persons) is strongly called upon to cooperate with politics in order to close this gap through voluntary action, as assumed in the author’s initial suggestion. Politics must set a framework for such action. On the one hand, by means of the described dynamic cap for total emissions at the approximate 1,100 billion tons of emissions and, on the other hand, by allowing for and/or promoting action in the private sector in order to close the remaining gap. This affects, for example, the fiscal treatment of such contributions by companies as business expenses. The voluntary contributions from the private sector are of crucial importance if we are yet to comply with the upper limit value of 2 °C. In terms of volume, such contributions will have to amount to the same volume as the direct contribution from politics, i.e. approximately 500 billion tons of emissions by 2050.

Especially the two subsequent approaches as described below offer the private sector opportunities for decisive contributions to climate protection, namely withdrawing emission rights and “generating negative emissions”.

“Voluntary funding for negative emissions generation is a feasible option. Negative emissions remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This can be achieved especially through biological carbon sequestration.”

‡ See World carbon dioxide emissions by region, Reference case, 2009-2040, and
18. F. J. Radermacher, “Klimapolitik nach Doha”.
19. Solving the Climate Dilemma: The Budget Approach (Berlin: German Advisory Council for Global Environmental Changes, 2009).

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