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The right to development in a climate constrained world: the Greenhouse Development Rights framework

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P. Baer
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This paper presents an exposition of the Greenhouse Development Rights (GDRs) framework and an indicative quantification of its implications. Through a human development lens, it looks at the key issues, challenges and politics in a GDR framework. The authors argue that an emergency climate programme is needed. Such a programe is only possible if the international climate policy impasse is broken, an impasse that arises from the inherent conflict between the climate crisis and the development crisis. It argues that the best way to break this impasse is, counter-intuitively, by expanding the climate protection agenda to include the protection of developmental equity. To that end, the GDR framework is designed to hold global warming below 2°C while, with equal deliberateness, safeguarding the right of all people to reach a dignified level of sustainable human development.Key points in relation to the development of an emergency programme to deal with climate change include:

an emergency pathway will be a technical challenge; but it is even more of a political challenge
at the core of the climate change challenge is the fact that the world’s wealthy minority has left precious little atmospheric space for the poor majority
if an emergency programme is to have any hope of being embraced, it must not threaten to lock in today’s vast disparities of wealth and income
if costs for an emergency programme are to be shared within a progressive framework based on capacity and responsibility, then these costs must be shared in a manner that is both fair and relatively painless