Statement on the US Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement

From the FEASTA Board of Trustees

President-Elect Joe Biden has stated that he will rejoin the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement on January 20, 2021.

The FEASTA Board of Trustees supports this move, but also recognizes that the Paris Agreement is insufficient to address the climate crisis. FEASTA has developed an alternative to the Paris Agreement called CapGlobalCarbon.

CapGlobalCarbon sets a science-based global cap on carbon emissions, regulates the “upstream” fossil fuel extractors and importers under the cap, and distributes the revenues paid by those upstream companies back to people and households as a carbon dividend.

Individual countries can adopt CapGlobalCarbon, or it could be initiated by two or more countries simultaneously (such as a set of Global North and Global South countries in partnership). FEASTA also encourages the development of a citizens’ movement to form a Global Climate Trust to administer CapGlobalCarbon (following the example of the formation of the International Committee of the Red Cross).

Five years ago, a delegation of FEASTA members went to Paris to present CapGlobalCarbon at the COP-21 climate conference. Since that time, the countries that signed on to the Paris Agreement have not, as was hoped, “ratcheted up their ambition.” On the contrary, besides the US backing out of the Accord, the UK has seen the rise of the Brexit movement, and other countries such as Brazil have seen a rise in pro-fossil fuel, anti-climate politicians. In many cases, economic uncertainty and inequality have played a part in this phenomenon. The carbon dividend as envisioned in CapGlobalCarbon could be the beginning of a universal basic income, and could address some of those concerns. FEASTA is concerned that a Green New Deal without a carbon cap and dividend will be less effective in reducing emissions and will not generate the enthusiasm of a majority of the population, just as a Paris Agreement without ratcheted-up ambition will not avert the climate crisis.

FEASTA calls on NGOs to go beyond generic calls to “reduce emissions,” “take action,” or “act now” in their climate communications, and mention carbon caps and carbon dividends whenever they are pushing a green stimulus or Green New Deal. FEASTA encourages policymakers to take this opportunity, as the US re-engages with the Paris Climate Agreement, to include a science-based, equity-based, and people-based method of achieving the 1.5 degree goal: CapGlobalCarbon. The species of the planet and future generations are counting on us.

Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members.