[UPDATE: The Economist provides a very thoughtful and comprehensive review of the Hartwell Paper here.]
I am part of a team of 14 authors who have co-authored a new paper on how to reform climate policy. The paper, titled The Hartwell Paper after the location outside London where we met in February, focuses on what to do in the aftermath of the climate policy "crash" that occurred in Copenhagen last December. From the Executive Summary:
Mike Hulme, also a co-author, has an essay on the paper in the BBC today. He writes:
The crash of 2009 presents an immense opportunity to set climate policy free to fly at last. The principal motivation and purpose of this Paper is to explain and to advance this opportunity. To do so involves understanding and accepting a startling proposition. It is now plain that it is not possible to have a 'climate policy' that has emissions reductions as the all encompassing goal. However, there are many other reasons why the decarbonisation of the global economy is highly desirable. Therefore, the Paper advocates a radical reframing – an inverting – of approach: accepting that decarbonisation will only be achieved successfully as a benefit contingent upon other goals which are politically attractive and relentlessly pragmatic.
The Paper therefore proposes that the organising principle of our effort should be the raising up of human dignity via three overarching objectives: ensuring energy access for all; ensuring that we develop in a manner that does not undermine the essential functioning of the Earth system; ensuring that our societies are adequately equipped to withstand the risks and dangers that come from all the vagaries of climate, whatever their cause may be.
To move forward, we believe a startling proposition must be understood and accepted. It is not possible to have a "climate policy" that has emissions reduction as the all-encompassing and driving goal.You can read The Hartwell paper here. Comments are welcomed.
We advocate inverting and fragmenting the conventional approach: accepting that taming climate change will only be achieved successfully as a benefit contingent upon other goals that are politically attractive and relentlessly pragmatic. Without a fundamental re-framing of the issue, new mandates will not be granted for any fresh courses of action, even good ones.
The paper's first primary goal focuses on access; to ensure that the basic needs, especially the energy demands, of the world's growing population are adequately met.
The second is a sustainability goal; to ensure that we develop in a manner that balances social, economic and ecological goals.
Third is a resilience goal; to ensure that our societies are adequately equipped to withstand the risks and dangers that come from all the vagaries of climate, whatever their cause.