Here are some quotes that we’ve gathered to show our common ground with many other organisations:
“The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty. A more responsible overall approach is needed to deal with both problems: the reduction of pollution and the development of poorer countries and regions. The twenty-first century, while maintaining systems of governance inherited from the past, is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tends to prevail over the political. Given this situation, it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empowered to impose sanctions.” – Laudato Si’ Papal Encyclical on climate change.
CapGlobalCarbon would simultaneously tackle global warming and make significant progress in eliminating poverty. It would also help to alter the power balance between nation states and the economic and financial sectors.
“Reducing emissions in line with 2 °C remains a viable goal — just….Move away from the cosy tenets of contemporary economics and a suite of alternative measures comes into focus. Technologies, behaviours and habits that feed energy demand are all amenable to significant and rapid change. Combine this with an understanding that just 10% of the population is responsible for 50% of emissions, and the rate and scope of what is possible becomes evident.” – Kevin Anderson, Nature magazine, December 2015
CapGlobalCarbon would provide a significant boost to the kind of change described by Kevin Anderson as it would clearly signal that energy use will need to change radically over the next few decades, and would deal with that transition in an equitable way.
[The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has] lost track of the wider issue, which is why the divestment campaign is extremely important. The upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris needs to introduce a legal cap on fossil fuel extraction to really challenge vested interests” – Sir John Houghton, Nobel Prize winner, founding chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and chair of their first three Assessment Reports.
A major component of CapGlobalCarbon is the introduction of a legally binding cap on fossil fuel extraction.
“A global auction in pollution permits would mean that governments had to regulate just a few thousand oil refineries, coal washeries, gas pipelines and cement and fertiliser factories, rather than the activities of 7 billion people. It would create a fund from the sale of permits that’s likely to run into trillions: money that could be used for anything from renewable energy to healthcare. By reducing fluctuations in the supply of energy, it would deliver more predictable prices, that many businesses would welcome. Most importantly, unlike the current framework for negotiations, it could work, producing a real possibility of averting climate breakdown’” – George Monbiot, “Applauding themselves to death”, March 10 2015
We agree wholeheartedly with Monbiot’s argument for auctioning pollution permits described above. CapGlobalCarbon would ensure that the revenue be shared in such a way as to minimise the risk of capture by elites.
“Just 90 fossil fuel producers are responsible for 2/3 of global carbon emissions in our atmosphere, receiving obscene subsidies and making massive profits in the process while the world ‘s poorest communities bear the true costs of climate change. A fossil fuel extraction levy is an important part of turning this outrageous situation around.” – “Making a Killing” report by the Climate Justice Programme
CGC has the same aim but is far simpler than the approach suggested by the Climate Justice Programme, requiring the establishment of a single trust rather than many agencies. CGC would also minimise the risk of diversion of funds by governments.
“Greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2020 and then rapidly decline to achieve zero carbon emissions around the middle of the century through gender- responsive, socially just and environmentally sound national actions that take into account gender equity, intergenerational equity, and equity between countries….[we need to ] ensure full allocation and disbursement of adequate, appropriate, and new climate finance through effective means of implementation… to support the mitigation and adaptation efforts of developing countries that are already facing climate impacts, in addition to financial compensation for loss and damages. “ – IBON International (Filipino development thinktank)
CGC would ensure that the necessary emissions reductions take place in a manner that not only protects the vulnerable worldwide but could actually be of direct benefit to them. Cash transfers, such as we advocate for the distribution of the funds generated by sales of fossil fuel extraction permits, have a proven record of avoiding capture by elites. Well-implemented cash transfer programmes can also help to support gender justice. CGC could also act as a support to other climate justice campaigns, providing the financial backing for legal assistance to secure land rights and to achieve loss compensation.
“We must shift away from our current energy systems designed for the profits of big multinational corporations to decentralised energy systems, owned by public sector and local communities, that meet the needs of the people………there’s no sign that the Paris outcome will deliver systems change needed to resolve the interlocking crises of climate and inequality.” – Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
CGC would significantly contribute to the type of systems change described above. The funding generated by permits sales could be channelled into community-owned energy projects and, since the lowest fossil fuel users would benefit the most, the scheme would also help to address inequality.
“The renewable energy industry needs predictability in order to attract investment, build up production capacity, develop new technologies, and expand the number of sustainable jobs.” – Renewables 2015 Global Status Report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network
CGC would provide the stability and predictabilty needed for renewable energy policymakers to plan effectively, while ensuring that the role played by non-renewables in the economy is gradually reduced to zero. CGC could also generate significant funding to finance community-based renewable energy projects.
“A robust system for the measuring, reporting and verification of emissions is crucial to transparency, and ultimately to the success of [climate] mitigation strategies……civil society has a critical role to play in measuring countries’ commitments to reduce emissions, including the quality of monitoring and reporting, as well as the disbursement and implementation of climate funding.” – Transparency International Global Corruption Report on Climate Change
The Global Climate Commons Trust would originate in civil society and would have the role of ensuring that emissions are curtailed and eventually eliminated, and that the funds from carbon permit revenues are distributed fairly. It is important to note however that it would place the focus on ‘upstream’ fossil fuel extraction rather than ‘downstream’ emissions. Thus, it would completely eliminate the need to assess countries’ commitments to emissions cuts, as well as the horrendously complicated task of measuring, reporting and verifying emissions.
“Governments need to manage the dismantling of the fossil fuel industry which is moving rapidly into irrelevance.” – Sven Teske, Greenpeace International
CGC would provide a clear framework for gradually dismantling the fossil fuel industry so as to maximise the stability of the world economy during this transition and aid in the development of the renewable energy industry.
“We cannot eradicate poverty without addressing climate change, which is hitting the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.” – Save the Children International
CGC would simultaneously address climate change and provide direct financial assistance to the world’s most vulnerable people.
“It has been seen that long-lasting change in any social or environmental system starts with a profound shift in the minds and hearts of people. The current environmental crisis is therefore a clear call to transform our awareness and lifestyle.” – Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
We believe that our initiative, CapGlobalCarbon, could be of significant help in bringing about the needed shift in the minds and hearts of people, as it is based on a positive, hopeful premise: action on climate can also help to heal many other ills that the human community faces.
“If these so-called leaders refuse to act adequately to confront climate change and deliver the crucial outcome in Paris at the end of the year, the People will create a new parallel world where the climate crisis can be averted.” – Yeb Saño, the People’s Pilgrimage
CGC is an initiative coming from civil society which would bypass the government negotiations and help contribute to the new parallel world that Saño refers to, enabling a smooth and just transition to 100% renewable energy.
“The fact that the commons can indeed be successfully managed has already been proven at the local level: Elinor Ostrom has shown that communities can develop diverse institutional arrangements for managing the commons without overexploitation. For this finding, Ostrom was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 2009. It is now time to show that the management of global commons is collectively possible.
“Perhaps this is the overarching message of the [papal] encyclical: the fair management of the global commons is one of the most important tasks of the 21st century. This can only be successful if a large number of actors across different levels of governance, ranging from global, to regional and local, link up together. This convinces also me as an atheist: heaven belongs to us all.” – Brigitte Knopf, Clean Technica
CGC provides a mechanism whereby actors across different levels of governance are able to collaborate to preserve the global commons, the vital function of the atmosphere in limiting global warming. It’s fair; and its effective.
“Climate protection is a task for the whole of human- kind and must be perceived and tackled as such. International climate policy and civil-society initiatives are not opposed to each other; rather, they can powerfully complement each other. A world citizen movement can show that climate protection in and with society can work and even generate economic benefits. This is the form of interaction in which global climate protection can and must succeed.” – German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU)
CGC fits exactly with the WBGU’s recommendation: a citizen-led global system that can serve as a backup to international climate policy.
“For some resources, like fish catches and CO2 emissions, maximum levels can or should be determined at the global level, and then every world citizen would receive certificates for these resources……the major social and environmental problems of our time are solved simultaneously by the introduction of an earth dividend system. Poverty and hunger are eradicated, overexploitation of resources is stopped and pollution is restricted to acceptable levels. The earth dividend concept has the potential of bringing together a broad coalition of organisations that pursue these goals.” – René Heeskens, Global Basic Income foundation
CGC is a type of ‘earth dividend’, as within CGC the atmosphere is regarded as a common responsibility and, to reflect that, anyone using fossil fuels pays rent to all of humanity on their (temporary) use of the atmosphere as a dump for their pollution. As René Heeskens points out, the effects of these rent payments could be dramatic and enormously helpful in tackling poverty and other persistent social problems.
“The future of humanity does not lie solely in the hands of great leaders, the great powers and the elites. It is fundamentally in the hands of people and in their ability to organize. It is in their hands, which can guide with humility and conviction this process of change.” – Laudato Si’ Papal Encyclical on climate change.
CapGlobalCarbon is based on the power and responsbility of ordinary citizens everywhere.
“We need a system that links climate change and human rights; that recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples and the self-determination of frontline communities. Our planet, Mother Earth, and her natural resources cannot sustain the increasing greed, consumption, extraction, pollution and waste associated with the 1%. We require a new system that addresses the needs of the majority and not of the few. To move in this direction, we need a redistribution of resources and a new definition of wellbeing and prosperity for all life on the planet in recognition of the limits and the rights of our Mother Earth and Nature.” – Climate Justice Alliance.
CGC could be an important component of this system, ensuring that fossil fuel extraction is brought to a smooth end, promoting Indigenous rights and enabling a widespread redistribution of resources.
“The common goods of humanity (health care, education, water, climate, biodiversity,…) must be given an international status that insures their protection, and […] their preservation must be based on devoted financing through global taxes.” – ATTAC international
CGC is built around the premise that the climate needs to be treated as a commons. Our proposal would not only protect the climate commons but would release significant financing to help preserve other common goods worldwide. (Technically CGC is not a tax but rather a fee-and-permit-based system, enforcing a reliable cap on fossil fuel extraction).
“Our climate is now a common good because everyone’s wellbeing depends on it.”
“Climate change threatens us as it threatens civilisation itself. We must choose to win. We must choose each other.” – Susan George, from the book Whose Crisis, Whose Future?
CGC is based on the idea that we are one global community and are capable of working together constructively to resolve conflicts.
“People around the world are trapped in a ‘toxic triangle’ made up of short-term financial investors, timid governments and fossil fuel companies” – Oxfam International
CGC would release us from this triangle by relieving the death grip between the extraction-based fossil fuels industry and governments worldwide.
“Avoiding severe global catastrophe is a moral and legal imperative. To the extent that human activity endangers the biosphere, particularly through the effects of human activity on the global climate, all States and enterprises have an immediate moral and legal duty to prevent the deleterious effects of climate change. While all people, individually and through all the varieties of associations that they form, share the moral duty to avert climate change, the critical legal responsibility rests with States and enterprises.” – Oslo Principles
CGC provides a clear and straightforward way for states and enterprises to take on the legal responsibility for addressing climate change.
“If you ask me to choose the most important work in climate change issues, then I’ll choose carbon price. That’s because it is the driver to put us into the right track.” – Dr Hoesung Lee, an economist in the running for the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
While we do not believe that a carbon price could act as the main driver in achieving the necessary cuts in emissions, we do share Dr Lee’s assumption that a top-down economic mechanism is needed. This mechanism should involve putting a price on carbon via a permit auctioning system (rather than a carbon tax). However, CGC would not primarily depend on increases in carbon prices to reduce emissions; instead it would do so directly by capping fossil fuel production.
“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. That, in essence, is the higher service to which we are all being called.” – Buckminster Fullerby