International Burden Sharing in Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Grubler A & Nakicenovic N (1994). International Burden Sharing in Greenhouse Gas Reduction. IIASA Research Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RR-94-009


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This report provides an overview of current and historical greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; examines alternative formulations on how efforts to lower anthropogenic GHG emissions could be shared among regions/countries; evaluates quantitatively the implications of alternative GHG allocation/reduction criteria, particularly from a "North-South" perspective; and describes a combined GHG emission data base and software tool developed for the analysis of GHG allocation regimes: the Parametric Framework.

The Parametric Framework (in Lotus format) contains a data set comprising 13 world regions/countries, socio-economic background data, and three different types of greenhouse gases/sources: fossil fuel and industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, CO2 emissions from biota and land-use changes, and anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions. Historical emission data span the period 1800 to 1988 for CO2, and 1950 to 1988 for CH4. In addition, the numerical routines necessary to calculate the quantitative implications of four alternative GHG allocation criteria (and their variants) are included. The Parametric Framework enables easy and straightforward changes of data, control targets, and other salient parameters of importance in GHG accounting (e.g., global warming potential equivalences between different GHGs).

Four different GHG emission reduction and allocation criteria are analyzed: equal per capita emissions, equal percentage cuts from current emissions to desired target levels ("grandfathering"), cutbacks proportional to past contributions to atmospheric concentration increase on a regional basis (compensation for "natural debt"), and natural GHG sinks adjusted emission reduction. An analysis was made of the quantitative implications of the four GHG emission allocation criteria for 13 world regions, assuming a reduction of global emissions to 4 Gt C (C-equivalent) by the year 2050. Additional sensitivity analyses were performed for each of the criteria.

The most important findings of the analysis include the following: (1) There are two generic classes of allocation criteria: distributive -- the allocation of emission rights, and reductive -- the allocation of emission reduction requirements. The largest differences in emission allocations are obtained between these two classes, especially when distributive allocation criteria are based on a per capita basis. (2) Differences were smaller within each of the two classes. For example, the reductive allocation criteria across the board percentage cuts ("grandfathering") and cutbacks proportional to past contribution achieve quite similar regional future emission allocations: (3) The basic principle of the allocation is also more important than the inclusion of different GHGs (comprehensiveness). (4) The smallest variations in emission distribution resulted from altering the reference year compared to which emission reduction ought to be achieved.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Report)
Research Programs: Environmentally Compatible Energy Strategies (ECS)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:03
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2016 20:24

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