Guest post by John Riley:

I am simply a parent, concerned about my children’s future. I began this journey in 2003, giving presentations to local groups. After one talk, the local Rotary Club agreed to organise an Eco Forum in the town to educate our residents on the subject. A spin out from this first Eco Forum in 2004 was the establishment of Scottish Action on Climate Change. This group soon linked up with the largest coalition of NGOs ever assembled in the UK: “Stop Climate Chaos”. SAOCC aims to provide practical tips and solutions to help mitigate the problem. We also lobby politicians, media people and celebrities to get involved in the campaign and assist us to spread the message to a wider audience.

After reading Mayer Hillman’s book, “How we can save the planet,” it became very clear to me that we will never solve this problem quickly enough or fairly enough, unless we have international carbon rationing. The framework which Hillman promotes is “Contraction & Convergence (C&C)”, as proposed to the United Nations by Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute in 1992. As a result of this, our primary aim has since been to promote and educate people on how C&C works, so that they can show support for it and encourage our politicians to adopt it as the UK’s policy stance in future international negotiations on climate change. Reassuringly, the C&C principles are being accepted by a growing number of international leaders and organisations across the world, including the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, here in the UK.

Here are the basic principles of C&C:

To stay safe and avoid Catastrophic Climate Change, everyone on the planet will need to move towards an equal entitlement to emit carbon dioxide. It’s the only fair, long term solution. Persuasion to reduce green house gas emissions is not working quickly enough and increased taxation just means that those who have plenty of money will continue to pollute the atmosphere at the expense of the poor. That cannot be right.

With a knowledge of a safe level of carbon dioxide, we can work out how much can be emitted by all the people on our planet in total, and we already know that this amount will have to reduce significantly year on year to keep us all safe. The C&C computer model can adjust the rate of total emission reductions as the planet’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide reduces, due to things like the disappearing rainforests etc.

The next step is to decide what share each country will get of this total safe amount. The C&C system proposes that each country is given a ration the same as their current carbon dioxide emissions but agrees to adjust this level every year until, by an agreed date, they reach a level where everyone on the planet has an equal ration or entitlement to emit carbon dioxide. This could be controlled by means of carbon credit cards or maybe carbon coupons in the less sophisticated countries.

Along the way, the rich countries will have to significantly reduce their entitlements each year whilst some of the poorer countries will benefit from temporarily increased entitlements until they reach the equal per person level. If the poor countries do not use their allocated amount, they can sell them to the richer countries and earn an income, which will help them to buy clean, renewable energy technologies to assist their development. The overall effect will be to help relieve poverty at the same time as reducing world emissions in a controlled fashion. It will encourage all countries to become significantly more energy efficient, knowing that they will benefit financially if they do.

Check out John’s video for further explanation.