After twenty years, global climate negotiations are at an impasse. To overcome it we propose a compromise for reducing emissions based on four steps: 1) limiting initial action to the Major Economies Forum (MEF) members, 13 economies responsible for 81% of emissions; 2) utilizing new consumption-based carbon accounting, which addresses concerns of China and others; 3) applying equity principles of responsibility and capability to apportion the burden of emissions reductions; and 4) bringing this deal back to the United Nations (U.N.) negotiations for wider adoption.

Based on a carbon budget of 400 gigatonnes (Gt) over the period 2013-2050, the analysis shows that ambitious but feasible emissions reductions will be needed, with sharp differences by world economic groups.