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How It Could Work

The following details are at this stage suggestions only. We don't pretend to have all the answers or even, at this very early stage, to have identified all the problems. This is a discussion document. The widest possible input will be sought before the details of the Trust are finalised.

This page has four sections
1. Features of the Trust
2. The Trust in operation
3. Resources
4. How the trust would fit in.

1. Features of the Trust

It is suggested that the proposed Global Trust would have the following features;

  • a formal constitution establishing the Trust as an independent legal entity in a particular country. It would be constituted as a public purpose trust. It would thus be subject to, and have the benefit of, the laws of that country applicable to public purpose trusts and the jurisdiction of the courts and other relevant regulatory authorities in that country.
  • the constitution would require the Trust to respect basic principles including the Earth Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the Biodiversity Convention.
  • The stated purpose of the Trust will to progressively reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the Earth's atmosphere from the use of fossil fuels with a view to minimising climate change and to do so by schemes biased in favour of social justice
  • The constitution of the Trust could include power at a later date to enlarge the remit of the trust to include other activities designed to minimise climate change and promote social justice.
  • The Trust will be managed by Trustees selected and appointed by a group of Guardians of unquestionable integrity. This will enable the Trustees to take tough decisions without fear of being voted out of office by popular pressure.
  • The Trust will have a Process Group appointed, by the Guardians, who will design the decision-making procedures of the Trust. These procedures must ensure that
  • The Trust must facilitate processes for all stakeholders (scientists, governments, international organisations, NGOs etc) to reach the maximum possible consensus on all decisions to be made by the Trust before final decisions are made by the trustees
  • decisions are nevertheless taken in good time
  • there is total transparency
  • there is strict accountability.

2. The Trust in operation

In managing global schemes (such as Cap and Share and Cap and Dividend, but not limited to these) we envisage that the Trustees would

  • take scientific advice. The Trustees will make arrangements with the IPCC and ISCU and other relevant bodies to ensure that their decisions relating to the cap are based on the fullest and latest scientific evidence
  • decide how to issue permits and ensure that the full market value of the permits is paid by the bodies who acquire them
  • make arrangements with state governments and other stakeholders for enforcing the permit system
  • ensure that the proceeds of sale of permits are received by, or paid to, or applied for the benefit of, all adults in the world equally
  • ensure that the system of tradeable permits is not abused
  • ensure that the proceeds of sale of permits are received by, or paid to, or applied for the benefit of, all adults in the world equally.
  • We envisage that there would be a wide range of choice in the ways funds could be applied for people's benefit, whether in terms of minimising climate change or adapting to its effects, and that the Trust would have a wide discretion as to how, and at what level, decisions were taken,
  • facilitate the development of various arrangements in individual countries relating to the administration of the schemes managed by the Trust, applying the Schumacher principle of subsidiarity, with power to delegate various functions. Regional or national climate or atmosphere trusts could be formed to administer local components of the Trust's schemes

3. Resources

The Trust will be fully resourced. The Trustees should be entitled to refuse funding from any source if they consider that it would prejudice the independence of the Trust. The Trust would employ staff and may engage consultants. It would have to acquire accommodation and whatever other property may be needed in order to maintain its independence and operate effectively.

4. How the Trust would fit in

The Trust would take its place amongst International Organisations and develop working relationships with the UN and other relevant bodies.

It is important to be clear about the limited scope of this project:

  • The powers and duties of governments at all levels will be unaffected. They will be involved in developing the Trust's schemes at the design stage. They will be invited by the Trust to cooperate in the administration and policing of the schemes within their jurisdictions.
  • Addressing climate change is a massive subject involving many kinds of mitigation to avoid or limit climate change and many forms of adaptation to climate change that occurs. Actions of many kinds will be required at every level from the individual to the global. Thousands of schemes of many different kinds are being developed at many levels. This project is about one particular aspect of mitigation, namely emissions of global warming gases from the use of fossil fuels and certain industrial processes.
  • This initiative is not directly concerned with promoting schemes like Cap and Share and Cap and Dividend at national or regional levels. Here it may well be appropriate to work within existing governmental and political systems.

The Trust would nevertheless be the leading organisation in the world representing the interests of humanity as a whole and future generations in relation to the particular subject matter of the Trust. On this issue it will aim to become the driving force at the head of a new global system comprising scientists, state, regional and local governments, international organisations such as the UNEP, commercial corporations, non-governmental bodies and individuals learning how to take the best possible actions to mitigate climate change.

The Trust might perhaps provide a model for dealing with the management of other kinds of global commons.