Climate Change: Bolivia demands “equitable distribution of atmospheric space”

●      To limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5° C, carbon emissions must be limited to 420 gigatons (Gt) between 2010 y 2050. This quantity is known as the “carbon budget” that countries cannot exceed if they wish to remain below a certain temperature.

August 3, 2010 (Bonn, Germany) – At a press conference today in Bonn, Germany, during the latest round of climate negotiations being carried out under the United Nations Framework Convention, Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solón presented cientific data demonstrating that the emissions reductions by developed countries put forth in the Copenhagen Accord are not consistent with its own stated objective of limiting temperature increases to  2°C.

Bolivia’s chief negotiator for climate change said that in order avoid exceeding an increase of 2°C, a “carbon budget” is needed of 750 gigatons (Gt) of Co2 through the year 2050.

“Under the Copenhagen Agreement, developed countries will emit 133 Gt of Co2 in the next ten years alone, an amount greater than the 120 Gt of Co2 that would correspond to them over the next forty years based on population size. If developed countries represent 16% of the global population, they should not emit more than 16% of the total “carbon budget” of 750 Gt,” Ambassador Solón said.

Solón explained that, “in addition to spending more than their entire 40-year carbon budget in just a decade, developed countries forget that they have already in the past emitted more than 600 Gt of Co2, which constitutes a climate debt toward developing countries.” According to the studies cited, developed countries, having previously comprised 25% of the global population, are responsible for 72% of historic emissions.

For Solón, it is essential that developing countries make emissions reductions commitments that are consistent with the objective of limiting global temperature increases and that allow for an “equitable distribution of the atmospheric space,” while taking into account the remaining “carbon budget,” the proportion of the population they represent, and the climate debt owed to developing countries.