USCAN believes that the US fair share of the global mitigation effort in 2030 is equivalent to a reduction of 195% below its 2005 emissions levels, reflecting a fair share range of 173-229%

US Climate Fair Share Position Statement

US Climate Action Network


The newfound vibrance, diversity, and political power of the US climate movement has been a breath of fresh air, and a source of hope even as the world continues hurtling, unabated, towards a climate catastrophe. Yet, as with so many US movements, some additional attention is needed to properly place US climate policy in the global context.

As we all know, climate change is a truly global problem, and requires a global solution. In fact, the scale of the crisis is such that solving it will require international cooperation and solidarity on a scale that has rarely, if ever, been seen before. Thankfully, there has been an international climate justice movement for decades now, and it has long campaigned for an approach to the crisis that is grounded in justice and global solidarity.

This effort to quantify “The US Climate Fair Share” is a collective effort by the US Climate Action Network (USCAN), which includes a range of organizations from state and locally focused grassroots groups to international NGOs, to center the dual challenges of global climate change and global inequality, and to ensure that US climate action is appropriately considered in this context. As the richest country the world has ever known (and also one of the world’s most starkly divided ones), and one that even now has vast influence on other countries, it is of utmost importance to people around the globe that a comprehensive US climate plan take into account the world outside our own borders.

The top-line conclusions of our effort are illustrated in the graphic above. Virtually everyone in the US climate movement knows that the US has a particularly large responsibility for causing, and thus for solving, climate change. Yet few have any way of quantifying this feeling, much less turning it into campaignable demands or concrete policy recommendations. This effort is our first step towards empowering the movement with a coherent analysis that justifies our demands for massively ambitious domestic action and massively ambitious international support.

For the technical details, please read the briefing paper linked below. Leave out the notes, and the briefing only comes to 14 pages. But – fair warning – it’s not light reading. It can’t be, because it has to outline both the political and the quantitative / methodological challenges we faced as we set out to agree to a specific definition of the US fair share, a specific number, and it has to explain why we came to our particular conclusion.  Along the way, it runs down the reasons why a group of USCAN member organizations set out on this journey, summarizes some political “Grounding Points” that have to be kept in mind when considering our results, and then cuts over to the numbers and the graphs.

These numbers have as much to do with inequality, within nations and between them, as they do with the climate challenge itself.

Vision for Equitable and Ambitious Climate Action

US Climate Action Network members have developed a set of common policy positions, which together constitute its Vision for Equitable Climate Action. The VECA, as it is known, is an evolving document that, importantly, includes a clear statement on the United States' Global Issues and Responsibilities. This statement calls out some priority actions, which must be immediately addressed, and states that "the American people must begin a profound new conversation about global climate justice and about the U.S.’s fair share in the shared global effort of stabilizing the climate system." The Fair Share position explained on this website is, we hope, a step towards that new conversation.

The Vision for Equitable and Ambitious Climate Action contains details solutions for these specific policy areas:

Take Action

Whether you’re a global environmental organization or a neighborhood action team, your group can sign-on to the US Climate Fair Share statement. It’s going to take all of us to get the change we need to defeat the climate crisis.

More Info

For more information on the climate equity framework behind this position, see the website of the Climate Equity Reference Project. For years of history on the international civil society effort that has evolved around this framework, see the Civil Society Equity Review website.

This project has been supported by a USCAN Membership Alignment Grant and the Climate Equity Reference Project’s contributions to this project have been supported by The Minor Foundation for Major Challenges.