The US, like wealthy countries in general, has a fair share that is too large to be achieved domestically. Developing countries are generally in the opposite position, with climate action potentials greater than their fair shares. The opportunity is obvious – wealthy countries can do their fair shares by supporting developing countries as they seek levels of ambition greater than they could achieve on their own, levels that are actually commensurate with the 1.5°C temperature goal. This would not be charity, but rather the US fully meeting its fair share of a long-overdue, now emergency target.
The 125% figure for the U.S. international responsibility is derived from a 195% total fair share, minus 70% domestic reductions. In turn, the 195% total fair share is based on a range of fair share benchmarks, the assumption behind which were considered to be ethically defensible by USCAN member organizations. This range was between 173% and 229%, with 195% being the median.
The international support coming from the US and other rich countries could take any number of forms. The most obvious possibility is direct financial transfers through the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund or other appropriate multilateral funds. But countries will inevitably use a diversity of channels, including bilateral funding. And in addition to straight-up financial transfers, support can and must also take the form of technology transfer and capacity building. Whatever its nature, this support must be transparent and inclusive in their operations, responsive to the needs of recipient countries without conditionalities or overly burdensome reporting requirements, and fairly allocated among countries. Finally, it is of the utmost important to note that this kind of international support is not and should not be confused with “offsets” (in which the US pays for climate action elsewhere so that it can continue business-as-usual polluting). This support must come in addition to the most ambitious possible US domestic emissions reductions.