This week the world lost a passionate advocate for climate equity, Paul Baer. I had the good fortune to know Paul for many years, first as a fellow climate economist, and then through our work in the UNFCCC process and during his tenure at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Over the last few days, as I’ve read tributes on social media and on list-serves, it’s been clear that many, many people around the world are mourning his loss and remembering his unique contributions to the climate movement.
An economist with a true moral compass
Paul was an economist who recognized the very real human dimensions of climate change and why ensuring that equity is at the heart of climate solutions is the only way to reach durable, effective, fair outcomes.
He was one of the co-founders of EcoEquity and helped develop a pioneering framework for evaluating international climate equity, the Greenhouse Development Rights framework. He published extensively on a variety of subjects related to addressing climate change, especially on climate justice.
Paul was not just an armchair scholar, he was an activist. We so desperately need more people like that, people who can make us imagine and work toward a better world instead of being resigned to the status quo.
As his friend Tom Athanasiou wrote, he should have been here to see the Paris Agreement enter into force. And I am sure he would have pushed for it to be better, fairer, stronger.
Another close friend and collaborator, Sivan Kartha, remembers him this way:
He was completely unbounded in his thinking. Who else had mixed philosophy, climate science, economics, and energy policy?… He was quick to laugh, a giggle really. But just as quick to fume at the social injustices of the world, injustices that he sought through his work to combat.
Paul, you will be deeply missed. Your work will continue to live on in the global climate movement. Our hearts go out to your loved ones and close friends who feel your loss most keenly.
Posted in: Global Warming
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