How can the informed citizen know if the government is implementing a good-enough climate change policy? Most developed democracies have their own set of indicators for sustainable development, including indicators for climate change. These include yearly national emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs), global concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere and time series for global temperatures. However, without some kind of benchmark neither national emissions of GHGs nor global concentration of GHGs or temperatures, make it possible for the general public to evaluate the current climate policy of a nation state. In this paper we propose a benchmark for national climate policy based on a remaining CO2 budget allocated by egalitarian principles. Moreover, based on Kantian ethics we argue that this benchmark should be used as a sustainable development indicator for climate change. One way of interpreting Kantian ethics is to demand that each nation state should act as if a just global treaty on climate change were in place. We discuss possible important elements in a global treaty, and show how the different elements can be integrated in a forward-looking indicator of national climate policy.
- Year: 2012
- Language: English
- Series/Report: CICERO Working Paper;2012:02