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Countdown to Copenhagen

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Earth as a Whole

Towards a Win-Win Outcome at Copenhagen and beyond

I. Background

1. No G-8, No G-20, No G-77. We don't need another way to divide us. Human development is not a zero-sum game. We need the Earth as a Whole. For each one of us.

2. Climate change serves as potent reminders to the following :

One, human aspiration cannot be confined to a localised area, by national boundaries or that of the planet Earth. Paradoxically, these limitations instead of constraining us, are liberating. They fuel our creativity to seek the higher ground

Two, that whatever be the regional or national identity, we are born into or we choose, our lives are inter-connected.

3. Yet, all the negotiations amongst nation states or sub-groups of nation states is with a deep assumption that some limited resource is up for grabs. And as representative of that nation-state, your position is that you win it or lose it. This has been the recipe for multiple geo-political conflicts, that threaten to escalate out of hand.

4. The realistic chance that we have of getting win-win solutions on the board, is when we have a Earth government.

5. At the heart of the contention on climate change action amongst nation states is the absurd notion of "per capita". In my view, that only works to deepen the divisions.

6. So you could get away puking out any amount of carbon into the atmosphere, as long as you stay in a nation-state, where most others are either judicious about their consumption or simply, do not have the means to pollute.

7. On the other hand, you could be staying in a region where you are structurally trapped to a certain kind of high "per capita" carbon emission or the eco-system within the confines of the nation-states' boundaries has not evolved to present better options. It's only when you commit yourself to hardships and are brave enough to face social exclusion, that you can seriously reduce your carbon emission. unless you are exceptional, within the confines of the nation-state, you will resist calls for carbon emission cuts or simply disbelieve the science.

There is little hope either at Copenhagen (or even in Open Heaven :) ) unless we redefine progress as learning to live smartly within the allocated carbon budget for each individual that is necessary to achieve the target - 350 ppm or below that scientific models indicate .

There should certainly be tradeability of individual carbon budgets, though to a limited extent in the transition period. it may be possible with even greater progress to enjoy high quality, smart carbon-negative lifestyles. thru' these remarkably innovative lifestyles, we could just be eating up the carbon, rather than emitting it.

This will unfold a new era of Climate Justice and Equity.

II. Agenda for Copenhagen

1. Reduce carbon level in the atmosphere to pre-industrial levels of 250 ppm, which is necessary to restore the baseline of sensitive eco-systems such as coral, by 2020.

2. Set a deadline for nation-states to come to an agreement on climate change action to meet the above target by 31st March, 2010.

3. Failing which, nation-states should resolve to form a higher level of sovereign, democratic Earth government by 2012.

4. The elections for the Earth government should be held under the supervision of a duly empowered United Nations.

5. The minimum voting age for these elections should be 10 years to recognise the rights of the younger generation to safeguard their long-term interests.

I shared this thinking in an earlier article published in Down to Earth in April 2007 at  and my Facebook group at



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