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Equity Paper
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Greg Muttitt and Sivan Kartha

June 2020

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VIEW THE PUBLISHED STUDY


As COVID-19 and other factors force an unmanaged decline of oil and gas, a new peer-reviewed study by Greg Muttitt and Sivan Kartha outlines how policymakers can plan for a better future, with an equitable phase-out of fossil fuels. The paper was published in the journal Climate Policy on May 31, 2020. The PDF available on this page is the accepted manuscript.

The study examines the world’s largest fossil-fuel-producing countries and considers how an energy transition would impact their workers, communities, economies and governments. It finds a stark difference between developing countries and wealthy ones – namely, that fossil-extracting developing countries are far more dependent on oil and gas revenues and on coal mining jobs. For example: oil and gas revenues provide 60% or more of public revenues in Timor Leste, Equatorial Guinea, and Iraq, while they account for close to 0% of these revenues in the UK and US. 

Based on this review, the study’s authors examined common equity approaches and propose five principles to ensure a just transition:

  1. Phase down global extraction consistent with 1.5°C. Countries can do this through both economic and regulatory approaches, including extraction taxes and licensing moratoria.
  2. Enable a just transition for workers and communities. Key elements of this principle include sound investments in low-emission sectors, social protection for fossil-fuel workers, and local economic diversification.
  3. Curb extraction consistent with environmental justice. Ending fossil fuel extraction should be prioritized where communities disproportionately experience the harms of extraction (such as pollution) and not the benefits.
  4. Reduce extraction fastest where social costs of transition are least. Wealthier, diversified economies – such as the US, Canada, UK and Norway – should phase down production quickly, as they can better mitigate and absorb the adverse impacts on workers and communities.
  5. Share transition costs fairly. The largest burden should be borne by those with the “broadest shoulders,” or ability to pay. In practice, this means wealthy countries – who have already benefited the most from past extraction – should bear the most cost.

Click to download the accepted manuscript.

3 Comments

  • The need for dispensing with use of Fossl fuels is a commitment signed by several countries under the PARIS AGREEMENT, during U N Climate Meet COP 21, in 2015. It is a world known fact, that India promoted Bio diesel production and its use, from the seed oil of the plant JATROPHA. during the period 2000 – 2004, and oil run trains in a few sections of Indian Railways were running with this Bio diesel for a few years. this was discontinued by the succeeding Governments. Today, we have established the organization Global Agricultural and Horticultural consultancy Services (GAHCS), with a special division for reviving this given up activity. We are setting up a Model Farm ( plantation of Jatropha) for spreading social awareness on in this field of renewable bio energy for its use in the Transport sector ( both surface transport and Aviation. If an International Conference can be organised in India, it will help promotion of this alternative to Fossil oils, in all the countries with favurable conditions for establishing JATROPHA PLANTATIONS. I look forard to your response, in this context. I have been in correspondence with organizations like Ethical Corporation, 350. org and even U N Environmental Division,
    You may refer to the article MOTOR FUEL FROM CASTOR PLNAT ON THE CARDS — Chemical Weekly, August 10, 1993.

  • The failure of my biofuel venture was due to not focusing on the core objective of producing biofuel. I was stupid to expand into different side ventures that drained our working capital without generating revenue. Please contact Mark Schuler or Gary Polinsky for further insight to how my stupidity caused many trusting people to lose their substantial investments…

  • Coordinate with transition to green industry, creating jobs in renewable energy and improving output and reducing emmisions through sustainable farming, and growing the resource recovery sector. Botanical based polymers can provide renewable energy and plastics/rubber applications

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