justice, peace, creation

Draft statement for Conference of Parties 6
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
The Hague, November 2000

(*The full document can be sent on request.
Contact David Hallman)

The atmosphere is a global commons. It envelops the Earth, nurturing and protecting life. The atmosphere belongs to no one. It is to be shared by everyone, today and in the future. Economic and political powers can not be allowed to impair the health of the atmosphere nor claim authority over it.

Human societies are changing the chemical composition of atmosphere through the excessive use of fossil fuels. Humans and other members of the life community are already suffering from climatic changes and scientific projections point to an increase in the breadth and severity of such suffering.

The wealthier countries with high per capita emission levels have precipitated the climate change crisis. They have the moral responsibility to substantially reduce their own emissions.

Wealthy polluting countries should not be allowed to buy their way out of the problem through paying for emission reduction projects in other countries.

Over the years since the adoption of the Climate Change Convention at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, attention has shifted away from a priority on emissions reduction actions in the richer polluting countries and toward strategies for those countries to purchase low-cost reduction credits in other countries.

Emission trading under the Kyoto Protocol would violate the criterion of ecological effectiveness because it would not ensure a reduction in actual emissions.

If extended globally in the future, emissions trading would pose major issues of equity and justice. Establishing the system based on historical emission patterns reinforces a history of inequity between rich and poor in terms of resource exploitation and use of ecological space in the global atmospheric commons.

The Clean Development Mechanism risks exacerbating inequities between rich and poor. The richer countries, in order to meet their reduction targets, would be able to mop up the cheap reduction options from developing countries. This would leave only more expensive reduction strategies for the poorer countries when it is time for them to take on commitments in the future.

The Clean Development Mechanism could further lock the poorer countries into the carbon path. Also, poorer nations in Africa would be severely disadvantaged through the Clean Development Mechanism.

The threat of climate change forces us to seek alternate paths in order to stabilise the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. A non-carbon energy future is both a necessity and a realisable possibility.

An alternate approach, which would be more sustainable and equitable could be a Global Atmospheric Commons Model, which would be based on an equitable allocation of emission rights such as the per capita convergence (i.e. long-term sustainable) level. Countries, which use the global atmospheric commons in excess of the convergence level, would have to pay a user penalty into a Global Atmospheric Commons Fund. The fund would assist impoverished countries and those with economies in transition to move towards a non-carbon economy focusing on renewable energy sources such as solar, biomass, wind and small scale hydroelectric.

All humankind is made in the Image and likeness of God & all of nature bears the marks of God. This demands of us to adopt the guiding principle of equity.

The destruction of the global atmosphere is a sin against God. True forgiveness is available from God but only after true repentance by the sinner. True repentance requires a conversion of the heart and a transformation of behaviour. Only then can true forgiveness be experienced. Countries with high emissions need a conversion of the heart and demonstrably new behaviour before they seek forgiveness.

Recommendations for COP6< 1. Refocus climate change negotiations on to options that meet the criteria of environmental effectiveness, equity, responsibility and economic efficiency with the priority being emission reduction strategies in the high per capita polluting countries.

2. If an emissions trading system is pursued, it must include:

3. If the Clean Development Mechanism is pursued, it must:
  • Be based on principles of equitable allocations
  • Be directed to projects focused on non-carbon renewable energy technology

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