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The Tragedy of Maldistribution: Climate, Sustainability, and Equity

“Decent Living” Emissions: A Conceptual Framework

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Schlossplatz 1, A2361 Laxenburg, Austria
School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, D. M. Smith Building, 685 Cherry Street, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2012, 4(4), 656-681;
Received: 2 February 2012 / Revised: 4 April 2012 / Accepted: 9 April 2012 / Published: 18 April 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Policy on Climate Equity)
There is very little elaboration in literature of the phrase “equitable access to sustainable development” that is referenced in the Cancun Agreement on climate change. We interpret this at a minimum as people’s right to a decent living standard, which gives rise to claims by countries to an exemption from mitigation for the energy and emissions needed to provide a decent life to all. We elaborate a conceptual framework for a comprehensive quantification of such an energy requirement, including the energy required to build out infrastructure to support these living standards. We interpret decent living as the consumption by households of a set of basic goods including adequate nutrition, shelter, health care, education, transport, refrigeration, television and mobile phones. We develop universal indicators for these activities and their infrastructure requirements, and specify a methodology to convert these to energy requirements using energy input-output analysis. Our main recommendations include estimating bottom-up, country-specific energy and emissions requirements, incorporating a minimum for methane emissions, and using international benchmarks at the sector level to encourage the reduction of countries’ energy and emissions intensity. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; equity; energy; sustainable development; human rights; basic needs climate change; equity; energy; sustainable development; human rights; basic needs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rao, N.D.; Baer, P. “Decent Living” Emissions: A Conceptual Framework. Sustainability 2012, 4, 656-681.

AMA Style

Rao ND, Baer P. “Decent Living” Emissions: A Conceptual Framework. Sustainability. 2012; 4(4):656-681.

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Rao, Narasimha D., and Paul Baer. 2012. "“Decent Living” Emissions: A Conceptual Framework" Sustainability 4, no. 4: 656-681.

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