Greenhouse gas emission reductions in the post-Kyoto period: Emission intensity changes required under the ‘contraction and convergence’ approach



Various approaches have been proposed for allocating commitments to countries regarding the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. One of these methods is the ‘contraction and convergence’ approach, which defines emission permits on the basis of converging per capita emissions under a contracting global emission profile. The approach is unique in its simplicity. Only two major issues need to be negotiated and agreed upon: the target atmospheric concentration of CO2 and the date when the entitlements are to converge at equal per capita allocations. According to the contraction and convergence approach, developing countries can continue their current emission trends, whereas industrialized countries should reduce their emissions quite dramatically. This regime represents a shift away from the current approach towards defining commitments for all parties and their evolution over the long term. This article analyses how allocation schemes determined by the contraction and convergence approach might affect certain OECD and non-OECD countries. Results for eleven countries selected for analysis (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, China, Venezuela, Thailand, Brazil, India and Indonesia) reveal that trends observed in the past few decades in most industrialized countries will lead to the contraction and convergence target.