Contraction & Convergence and Simpol

The following piece is written by Aubrey Meyer, Creator of Contraction and Convergence (C&C). Aubrey has also proposed C&C for the Simultaneous Policy Process and it has both gained and maintained significant support amongst Simpol supporters. It has passed several yearly rounds of voting, achieving more than 50% on the vote on each and every occasion.

If you would like to know more about C&C you can visit:

If you would like to know more about C&C as a Simpol policy proposal please visit our homepage:

Since 1992 the goal or ‘objective’ of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC] has been to achieve a safe and stable greenhouse gas [GHG] concentration in the future global atmosphere. So with regard to the human GHG emissions raising those concentrations, the UNFCCC Executive said in 2004, “achieving the objective of the UNFCCC inevitably requires [emissions] contraction and convergence”: –

The key to understanding the Contraction and Convergence [C&C] event needed is: –
[1] that C&C is full-term. In other words it is not short-term nor is it long-term, it is full-term and a full-term-contraction-and-convergence-event is needed for compliance with the UNFCCC goal or objective, and
[2] as we continue to cause this climate problem faster than we have responded to avoid it, this C&C-event will have to be shorter than many people realize and
[3] if the C&C-event is to happen at all, a rational structure for it is inevitably required: –

The structure of string-length in music, as observed by Pythagoras 2,500 years ago, provides the core of how C&C is rationally structured: –

The discovery and recognition of this structure as a ‘universal constant’ was recently called by Stephen Hawking  ‘the first recorded law of theoretical physics’. The understanding of Simultaneous Policy here is key as, like music, the process is numerate and as an integral, it is simultaneously governed by two reference rates where we are both : –

[1] in-tune the global community is moving all together and

[2] in-time on a global path to that completes soon enough for UNFCCC-compliance.

In other words UNFCCC-compliance isn’t going to happen of its own accord in a ‘free-market-accident’. It is going to have to be organised.

Consequently, any attempt to measure the necessary C&C-event in the unit money is useless, as this unit – unless it is ‘told’ – doesn’t know where it’s going. Indeed, economists still think that ‘string-length of the economy’ is like Woody Allen’s version of eternity: – “a very long time, especially towards the end” and have responded to the climate-politics of UNFCCC-compliance in this way. All this approach has managed to achieve in the last twenty years in relation to the UNFCCC, was to try and effect Kyoto’s market-based-framework.

As the process around this has become divorced from the discipline needed for UNFCCC-compliance, it has failed and won’t be renewed beyond COP-17 at the end of this year.

However, what is necessary for UNFCCC-compliance is a C&C-event. Measuring this as carbon-per-person-per-unit-time-subject-to-the-objective-of-the-UNFCCC is as simple as all string-players knowing that the length of a piece of string is exactly twice half its length: –

All music comes from the deep-simplicity of that numerate and beautiful structure.

Rates of C&C are governed by this nested structure where: –

[1] urgency will require faster rates of global contraction and

[2] equity will require faster rates of international convergence: –,C2,C3.swf
C&C is governed by this structure and money, assuming it is still relevant at all, is governed by C&C and perhaps the framework-based market that it can be seen as giving rise to.

Protecting the future economy and eradicating poverty – if these are still achievable – are obviously functions of this C&C agreement, as these two things require a functioning human-habitat on a planet not ravaged by runaway rates of climate change.

Any attempt to still try and muddle through with money-led arrangements leads to further deadlock. Continuing to do too-little too-late leads to the completion of failure where both rich and poor are liquidated in the dangerous climate consequences of this failure.

C&C is classic simultaneous policy and has much support: –
With good reason, the hypocritical, hysterical and structureless alternatives don’t**:


** This lack of support is not least because the loudest advocates of these alternatives now includes the Charitable GONGO CEOs dominating the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, whose salaries are in excess of $100,000/yr. These people shamelessly make personal carbon-footprints of around 100 tonnes Carbon/yr *** . . . . and that, as they must realize, will truly Stamp-On rather than Stamp-Out Poverty [as they claim to want]: –

*** Global GDP 2010 – $60 trillion
Global carbon emissions 2010 – 6 billion tonnes
$100,000 [@ $1,000/tonne] = 100 tonnes carbon


9 thoughts on “Contraction & Convergence and Simpol

  1. Response from Friends of the Earth:

    “Friends of the Earth does not actively campaign against Contraction and Convergence (C&C). In reality, countries involved in international negotiations aren’t considering what model of emissions allocations to adopt (C&C, GDR, etc) but simply arguing on how to minimise their own reduction requirements.

    Friends of the Earth’s campaigns are pushing for reductions that are more in line with what the science tells us is necessary to avoid dangerous climate change. Our advocacy of the Kyoto Protocol is only because it is a legally binding framework. While it isn’t perfect, if it’s abandoned then it will take years to create another framework.”

  2. Also, SCCC have asked me to point out that they do not have position on C&C. They are an administrative body bringing together a large number of organisations and therefore do not subscribe to any particular policy measures.

  3. C&C does not take a position on the Kyoto Protocol [KP], other than – by being sub-global and short-term only – it is insufficient to achieve UNFCCC-compliance by defintion or to qualify as being ‘science-based’. Stale-mating UNFCCC negotiations, the KP has never been ratified by the US for those very reasons.

    C&C is global and full-term and so can be agreed at rates that are UNFCCC-compliant and this arrangement can very easily be spun as the continuation of KP by those who want that or superseding KP by those who don’t – it would still be the same arrangement and the ‘legally binding’ character would not be disassmbled by that.

    SCCC say they ‘don’t have a position’ . . . but their core members [Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF and FoE] do. In twenty years at the UNFCCC they have have yet to state what they are for.

    However, since these parties are now working in association with ‘Stamp-out-Poverty’ and OXFAM, there is a clear signal that they openly or tacitly support SoP’s campaign for ‘Greenhouse Development Rights’: –

    In the light of this misleading report,and in the interests of clarity, it would be useful for these parties to reveal before COP-17: –
    [1] what are their proposals for achieving UNFCCC-compliance and
    [2] where they stand on C&C and on GDRs

  4. If CO2 were actually doing what the IPCC says it is, then perhaps this naive fantasy may have some point. However, as temperature is not rising in tandem with rising CO2 levels, then there is obviously a serious disconnect. The original UNFCCC article 2 statement starts with a conclusion and then fits data around it to suit the conclusion. This is not science. If the amount of money wasted on the interminable climate conferences, with tens of thousands of delegates annually flying around the globe, telling everyone else not to fly, were diverted to sensible and productive development, then the natural disasters that occur would not claim so many victims.

  5. Hi Harbinger,

    Let me start by welcoming you to this blog and by saying that we value opposing points of view here as both useful and necessary.

    Having said that… There are a lot of big assertions in that post. Perhaps you could post some links to reference your assertions so that we can discuss this with all the facts at hand? 🙂

  6. The “Greenhouse Development Rights” [GDR] proposal has been put forward and some parties [e.g. OXFAM] have expressed the view that the GDR concept is superior and therefore preferable to C&C.

    I disagree with this and here’s why.

    The GDR strategy document: –
    The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework
    The right to development in a climate constrained world
    Revised second edition
    Berlin, November 2008
    © the authors and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

    . . . states the following: –

    . . . . under GDRs] “the national mitigation obligations of the high-RCI countries of the North vastly exceed the reductions they could conceivably make at home. In fact, by 2030, their mitigation obligations will typically come to exceed even their total domestic emissions! Which is to say that wealthier and higher-emitting countries would be given “negative allocations,” as is necessary in order to open enough atmospheric space for the developing world.” [!]

    The proposal then argues that this feature is the ‘virtue’ that distinguishes GDR from C&C: –

    “Incidentally, this kind of negative allocation can never arise under Contraction and Convergence style trajectories, wherein high-emitting countries are only required to transition from their high grand-fathered allocations down toward the global per-capita average. Greenhouse Development Rights, it should be said, evolved from Contraction and Convergence, the most well-known of the per-capita rights approaches.”

    [Actually, the authors are wrong here: – The C&C model will calculate ‘negative emissions entitlements’ [but for everybody] after whatever date you ask it to].

    However, the operative point is that I see little point in taking this GDR proposal seriously at all.

    *Giving negative emission entitlements* to the USA requires GDR advocates to go to the US Senate and present and win this point.

    Common sense tells me that they have a *negative chance* of getting the US to accept *negative entitlements* for the US by 2029 or ever, “in order to open enough atmospheric space for the developing world.”

    Contrarians will love GDRs because it guarantees deadlock so that mitigation will stalled in favour of adaptation qua ‘development-rights’.

    It is a device that reminds me of when Greenpeace dumped tonnes of coal on the US Senate steps in 1997 in response to what they called the ‘Bird-Brained Byrd-Hagel-Resolution’.

    This GDR proposal and others were compared with C&C in the section ‘looking at the alternatives’ in this GCI post-mortem on COP-15 here: –

    The animation makes it possible to compare the alternatives *quantitatively* with C&C.

  7. Here’s a simple animation.

    It shows the rate of International Convergence to Equal percapita emissions-shares accelerated relative to the rate of Global Emissions Contraction needed to secure compliance with the objective of the UN Climate Treaty.

    The UK Government prescribe 2050 as the the convergence-date
    The Chinese Government prescribe 2010 as the convergence-date

    The solution is obvious, meet halfway. The animation shows this.

    References for all the above are all at: –

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