Princeton Emissions Proposal Targets Individuals

July 10th, 2009

The new Princeton proposal to help allocate carbon emissions responsibility among nations establishes a uniform “cap” on emissions — represented by the green line shown below.

Counting excess emissions of all individuals projected to surpass the “cap” (red arrows), the proposal provides reduction targets for countries (blue arrows).

“Our proposal moves beyond per capita considerations to identify the world’s high-emitting individuals, who are present in all countries,” the Princeton team notes in the paper’s introduction.

Lead authors are physicist Shoibal Chakravarty and economist Massimo Tavoni, research scholars at the Princeton Environmental Institute.

Chakravarty goes on to explain that most of the world’s emissions come from wealthy citizens and involve airplane flights, car use and the heating and cooling of large homes. “We estimate that in 2008, half of the world’s emissions came from just 700 million people,” he adds.

World leaders will meet in Copenhagen this December to negotiate a treaty on global emission reductions.

What do you think of this proposal which identifies high-emitting individuals in countries?

(Photo courtesy of PNAS)