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Ecological debt: Results of the core research

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CDO-VODO Conference, Brussels, 18 May 2004. The Concept of Ecological Debt: ... Umicore is the new name of Union Mini re (du Haut Katanga) Overview ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ecological debt: Results of the core research


1
Ecological debtResults of the core research
  • Erik Paredis

Centre for Sustainable Development Ghent
University http//cdonet.UGent.be
CDO-VODO Conference, Brussels, 18 May 2004 The
Concept of Ecological Debt its Meaning and
Applicability in International Policy
2
Umicore and ecological debt
  • 23 April 2004 agreement between Umicore and
    Flemish government for paying environmental
    liabilities
  • Sanitation of soil and groundwater in its four
    Flemish sites
  • 77 million Euros over next 15 years
  • Umicore is the new name of Union Minière (du Haut
    Katanga)

3
Overview
  • State of affairs on ecological debt
  • Searching for a workable definition
  • Trying to calculate ecological debt
  • The world of ecological debt
  • Political implications of recognising ecological
    debt new perspectives

4
A state of affairs
  • Main conclusions
  • meaningful new dimension to sustainability and
    North-South debate
  • No univocal definition
  • No uniform methodology for calculation
  • Limited discussion on political translation
  • At this stage of development utility in
    international negotiations severely restricted
  • Some causes
  • Bottom-up development through NGO campaigning
  • Developing phase
  • Limited scientific support

5
Defining (1) the core meaning
  • Two essential processes should be covered
  • In accumulating wealth countries cause ecological
    damage elsewhere
  • In accumulating wealth countries use ecosystem
    services, limiting the possible use by others

6
Defining (2) working definition
  • Ambition cover contents AND enhance utility of
    the concept
  • The ecological debt of country A consists of
  • The ecological damage caused over time by country
    A in other countries or in an area under
    jurisdiction of another country through its
    production and consumption patterns, and/or
  • the ecological damage caused over time by country
    A to ecosystems beyond national jurisdiction
    through its consumption and production patterns
    and/or
  • the exploitation or use of ecosystems and
    ecosystem goods and services over time by country
    A, at the expense of the equitable rights to
    these ecosystems and ecosystem goods and services
    by other countries or individuals

7
Defining (3) refinements
Working definition Possible refinments
The ecological debt of country A consists of , and/or , and/or What is ecological damage? Pollution, depletion, degradation
The ecological debt of country A consists of , and/or , and/or Damage/use according to geographical scale? Global, continental, fluvial, regional, local Equitable rights to ecosystem services? Defining equity Selecting ecosystem goods and services
The ecological debt of country A consists of , and/or , and/or Who are debtors and creditors? Countries Present and future generations Actors
The ecological debt of country A consists of , and/or , and/or Which quantification? Physical or monetary
The ecological debt of country A consists of , and/or , and/or Which time perspective? Each refinement its own time perspective
8
Calculating ecological debt
Ecological debt Ecological debt
Ecological damage Use at the expense of equitable rights
Monetary valuation
Monetary valuation
Indicators for pollution, depletion, degradation
(DPSIR)
Ecological footprints Environmental Space
Material Flow Analysis
9
The world of ecological debt
Ecological economics
Biophysical accounting systems
ED
Historical injustice and restitution
Environmental justice Human rights

10
Political implications (1) climate
  • Commitment period after Kyoto contraction,converg
    ence AND compensation

Per capita emissions
Industrial countries emission profile
Convergence target
Developing countries emission profile
2100
2050
2000
11
Political implications (2) debt
  • Necessary steps
  • Discussion on status of external debt repayments
    made, legitimacy,
  • Use of ecological debt as reference material and
    as an additional argument for debt cancellation
  • Belgium
  • External debt owed to Belgium 16 billion Euro
    (41 HIPC countries 2,3 billion Euro)
  • Total ecological debt 1999 (Torras) 250 billion
    Euro, of which 10-20 billion Euro is
    inter-country debt
  • Carbon debt 1900-2003 (modular research) 42-57
    billion Euro, of which around 30 billion Euro is
    inter-country debt

12
Political implications (3) trade
  • Underlying mechanism of ecological debt
    ecologically unequal exchange puts into question
    the assumed positive link between free trade and
    sustainable development

Monetary and physical balance of trade EU-15,
1999
13
Interim conclusions
  • Meaningful new dimension to sustainability and
    North-South debate
  • At this stage of development utility in
    international negotiations severely restricted
  • BUT
  • Possible to formulate a suitable definition
  • Possible to work on a consistent methodology for
    calculation
  • Possible and necessary to integrate in
    international policy formulation
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