March 4, 2024

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“A carbon tax policy can also help redistribute wealth.”

“A carbon tax policy can also help redistribute wealth.”

(Sana Bashankar, Bloomberg, January 9, 2024) In 2019, William Ripple, an ecologist at Oregon State University, wrote: article It states “clearly and unambiguously that Planet Earth is facing a climate emergency” and lists “vital signs” of a planet in distress. More than 11,000 scientists from all over the world participated in signing the article before its publication.

Now Ripple and her colleagues claim that the scenarios climate experts use to deal with the future are inadequate.

in Article published on Tuesday in Environmental Research Letters They demand the inclusion of a new “reform path” in climate models. A path in which the world not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but also achieves greater environmental health and social justice in the process.

Five different future scenarios

Climate scientists currently rely on five different future scenarios, a set known as shared social and economic pathways (SSPs). These scenarios have been developed By an international team and used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They show how global warming could evolve in the coming years, based on the speed at which countries reduce their emissions and social and economic factors such as population, education and technological development.

in present Best conditionScenario (SSP1), the world will reach net zero around 2050. In the worst-case scenario (SSP5), the world will accelerate fossil fuel exploitation, double emissions by 2050, and increase temperatures by 4.4°C by the end of the century. .

Recovery path

The recovery path adds environmental and equity targets to the downward emissions curve of SSP1. Under this path, global farmland would decline by 2100, compared to expansion under the SSP1 path, while per capita GDP would fall, rather than rise as under the SSP1 path.

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The new path could include “increasing convergence between per capita GDP, meat consumption and energy use worldwide” to promote North-South equality, the authors wrote.

Bloomberg Ripple was asked to share more about the proposal.

What is the reform path?

“What we are proposing is an environmentally and socially just scenario. We are doing so to address converging crises, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and social injustice.”

“We are proposing something holistic – to have solutions to multiple challenges at the same time rather than tackling them piece by piece. So we believe that climate change is not an isolated problem, but rather a symptom of a much larger problem. This larger problem is related to economics, social inequality, And environmental preservation, in addition to the much-talked about greenhouse gas emissions.

“We have not yet done all the calculations on the exact emissions reduction, but overall, our scenario is similar to SSP1, with significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as we go forward.”

How was it developed?

“We collected a range of Earth system variables over the past 500 years, including fossil fuel emissions, population, GDP, land use, greenhouse gas emissions and temperature. For the period up to 2100, we used SSP projections for some variables, But we differ in how we treat future farmland Greenhouse gas nitrous oxide“.

How else does this scenario differ from existing SSPs?

“Compared to SSPs, our scenario is less reliant on technological developments to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In addition, it is more focused on addressing the inequalities of overexploitation of the planet, and we expect biodiversity to improve in our scenario. There is a difference Another important one is what we expect for GDP. The scenario we propose stabilizes GDP over time rather than allowing it to continually rise.

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What kind of global developments or policies are needed to make this scenario a reality?

“Economically, it is possible to have a global carbon tax policy, which would achieve two things. It could reduce fossil fuel emissions and help redistribute wealth, with the rich paying more carbon taxes.

“We are also committed to conserving nature, as we will create more forest areas and take less land from nature and turn it into arable land. What we are proposing to achieve greater equality around the world is higher levels of education for girls and women, leading to lower fertility rates.” With rising standards of living.

According to the document, in this scenario, global GDP would stabilize and the top 10% of income would be more evenly distributed among the population. What would this look like for the global economy?

“because Business as usual If it doesn't work and endless economic growth is a problem, we must shift to a post-growth economy where quality of life and social well-being are prioritized. We will need environmental economics specialists to help plan for an era of different economies.