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Countries’ climate mitigation commitments under the “South–North Dialogue” Proposal – a quantitative analysis using the FAIR 2.1 world model

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M.G.J. den Elzen
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This report documents a quantitative analysis of the emission and cost implications of the South–North Dialogue Proposal for the differentiation of countries’ future mitigation commitments. This proposal outlines possible equitable approaches to mitigation for UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) countries. The Proposal includes deep cuts in emissions of both industrialised (Annex I) countries and developed countries which pay for costs of developing countries (Annex II). It also proposes differentiated mitigation commitments for developing countries which are divided into four new country groups developed on the basis of an index composed of indicators for responsibility, capability and potential to mitigate. These are: the newly industrialised countries (NICs)the rapidly developing countries (RIDCs), which would have to take on quantitative mitigation commitmentsthe other developing countries (Other DCs)the least developing countries (LDCs), which only have qualitative mitigation commitments Analysis of the countries’ emission allowances is carried out using the FAIR 2.1 model using five scenarios, a “political willingness” scenario and four other “stabilisation” scenarios. These show what emission reductions are required to reach various greenhouse gas concentrations in the long-term, and simply assume that countries will be politically willing to make the necessary effort. The “political willingness” scenario, on the other hand, starts from what countries might be willing to do - or at least one set of assumptions about what “political willingness” might look like.Findings: The “political willingness” scenario requires reductions of about 20% below 1990 levels for the Annex I countries in 2020, i.e. the EU- 25 (-30%) and the USA (-15%). Under this scenario, stabilisation of CO2-equivalent concentrations at 500 ppm is kept within reach up to 2020, but substantial reductions have to occur thereafter. It seems unlikely that this scenario will limit global average temperature change to 2 oCelsius. More ambitious reduction targets for the Annex I countries will be necessary under the 400 and 450 ppm CO2-equivalent “stabilisation” scenarios, which provide more certainty about limiting global average temperature change to 2 oCelsius, i.e. 30% to 35% below 1990 levels in 2020, and about 80 to 90% in 2050. The NIC emission allowances could grow up to 2010, but then would need to be reduced substantially. RIDCs are assumed to reduce emissions slightly below baseline emissions, but to reach the low emission levels in 2050, a large group of countries in the RIDC group, but also Other DCs and LDCs in 2020, would have to move to the NIC country group as early as around 2030-2040.