Global Justice and Intersectionality

National CO2e budget

What's the problem?

The global budget for meeting the 1.5 degree target is (with a probability of 67% [1]) 420 Giga tons CO2e (IPCC). Countries of the Global North are the main responsible parties for the climate crisis. A just assumption of responsibility is currently not apparent. The consequences are often carried out on the shoulders of other countries and people. The German Federal Government has so far remained silent "on the most important figure in climate politics", the CO2e-budget [2],  the Paris Agreement also contains no CO2e-budgets and so far there seems to be no country that has set itself a CO2e budget.

What's the measure?

Countries give themselves a just CO2e-budget. There are different bases for calculating what a "just" budget can be. Its exact calculation still needs to be discussed. The question arises whether a CO2  per capita calculation is just - or whether the Global North should get less than the Global South because more was emitted in the past (former industrialisation process)? 

How can the implementation look like?

The CO2e-budget could be implemented as a law, which would have to be passed by the Bundestag. Germany setting itself a goal that is compatible with climate justice, would have a signal effect.

In the case of a "per capita calculation": Assuming that all people have the right to an equal CO2e-budget from the beginning of 2019, Germany would have a remaining budget of 3.1 gigatonnes of CO2e, in order to still achieve the 1.5° target. 

Appropriate international sanctions would have to be decided upon to make it legally binding.

How will this counteract climate change?

The measure has no direct effect on reducing CO2e-emissions. The primary aim is to state a signal to the global community about the frameworks, within Germany intends to act and take responsibility. It is also about making transparent, whether measures that have been adopted are sufficient to meet the CO2e-budget and thus the 1.5° target.

What other effects does the measure have?

The measure creates transparency and greater verifiability of climate politics.

How quickly can the measure be implemented?

Apart from the regular parliamentary procedure, there are no obstacles to setting the national CO2e budget immediately. To achieve this, the current CO2e budget, compatible with the 1.5° target, should be calculated as soon as possible.

How long does it take for the measure to take an effect?

The signal effect is instantaneous. The verifiability of real climate politics based on a precise target figure also has an immediate effect.

References to other measures

Further measures are needed to secure and implement this measure. For example, it requieres Laws, to prevent German companies from using up their CO2   budget by relocating to countries in the global south.

Problems of social, global and intergenerational justice

For reasons of global justice and due to the responsibility of the mainly responsible countries, the calculation of the national CO2budgets should also take into account the greenhouse gases, that were emitted up until today. However, if Germany had to take responsibility for the greenhouse gases emitted since 1990, its CO2e budget would have been exhausted long ago. For this reason, Germany must take on more global responsibility through further measures.

Further literature and sources

  1. M. Sargl u.a.: Das verbleibende CO2-Budget und der Nachbesserungsprozess von Paris (abgerufen am 11.2.2020)
  2. (abgerufen am 11.2.2020)