Now a widely used term, “carbon budget” entered the lexicon of scientists, economists and governments in the 1990s. It is one of the primary terms used in climate change jargon, including by many allied organizations.
The underlying premise is that climate change is a problem caused by migration of CO2 molecules to the wrong place: the atmosphere. According to this logic, the best way to address climate change is not to tackle fossil-fueled capitalism, but rather to halt this CO2 migration. The concept of a carbon budget suggests that U.N. members must arrive at an agreement on how much more CO2 will be allowed to reach the atmosphere. In other words, they must decide how much of the “global carbon budget” remains and who will be permitted to use it. Therefore, it seems that when that budget runs out, world leaders will intervene to stop any more CO2 molecules from reaching the atmosphere.
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