Distributing the Global Carbon Budget with climate
Received: 5 July 2017 /Accepted: 13 May 2018 /Published online: 28 May 2018
Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract In this paper, a model for the distribution of the Global Carbon Budget between the
countries of the world is presented. The model is based on the criteria of equity while also
taking into account the different historical responsibilities. The Global Carbon Budget corre-
sponds to the quantity of carbon dioxide emissions that can still be released into the atmo-
sphere while maintaining the increase in the average earth surface temperature below 2 °C, and
it is therefore compatible with the long-term objective defined in the Paris Agreement. The
results of applying the model are shown both for the 15 emitters that currently top the ranking
for world emissions as well as for the other countries, which are grouped together in three main
groups: Other African, Other Latin American and Caribbean, and the Rest of the World.
Mitigation curves compatible with the carbon budget allocated to the different countries are
presented. When comparing each emitter’s historical emissions for the period 1971–2010 with
the proposed distribution for the period 2011–2050 obtained using the model, it can be seen
that developed countries must face the future with a greatly reduced carbon budget, whereas
developing countries can make use of a carbon budget that is higher than their cumulative
historical emissions. Finally, there is a discussion about how a model with these characteristics
could be useful when implementing the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement, that came from the COP21, and that entered into force in November
2016, is the new legal international framework in the fight against climate change (United
Nations 2015). Referring to the issue of mitigation, the agreement establishes a long-term goal
Climatic Change (2018) 149:131–145
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2224-0)
contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
* Olga Alcaraz
Group on Governance of Climate Change, Research Group on Sustainability, Technology and
Humanism, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Campus Diagonal Besòs, Edifici A (EEBE), Avda.
Eduard Maristany, 16, Barcelona 08019, Spain