Friday, December 7, 2007

Designing Post-2012 International Climate Change Policy

A very smart post from the blog of the American Meteorological Society. Read it and learn how to speak wonk.

From ClimatePolicy:

...the book we co-edited and recently published by Cambridge University Press, Architectures for Agreement: Addressing Global Climate Change in the Post-Kyoto World. The book provides six proposals for international climate policy architectures that span much of the policy space from centralized, top-down regimes akin to the Kyoto agreement to decentralized, bottom-up pledge and review approaches. Summaries of these proposals can be found at the Harvard Project website.

...1. The world has changed since 1992; so should our approach to differentiation. The Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol differentiate between two categories of countries: Annex I and Non-Annex I. The former, including most industrialized countries, have quantitative emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol, while the latter, primarily developing countries, do not. Many non-Annex I countries argue that they are too poor to take on commitments in the next agreement. But a review of the most recent data on per capita incomes (on a purchasing power parity basis from the Penn World Table ) shows that Romania, the poorest country with a target under Kyoto, now has lower income than more than 50 non-Annex I countries that don’t have targets. More than 110 countries in the world now have higher per capita incomes than the poorest country that agreed to join Annex I...

2. We need to provide better incentives for participation and compliance. The status quo does not require four of the five largest emitting countries in the world to abate their emissions: the United States (1st in emissions) walked away from the Kyoto Protocol, China (2nd) and India (5th) do not have commitments under the agreement, and Russia (3rd) received such a lax target that it will not have to take any action to comply with its commitment. Moreover, there are clear signs now that a number of countries will have problems complying with their Kyoto commitments. Canada’s 2005 emissions of all greenhouse gases including land use change are a whopping 64% above its Kyoto target! Japan’s emissions are 14% above its Kyoto target, although many expect Japan to purchase credits and allowances through the global carbon market established under the agreement to ensure its compliance. The fast-growing periphery countries of the old EU-15 are well above their commitments, despite the generous reallocation within the EU-15 to give these countries more emission allowances. Spain (with an EU reallocated target of 1990+15%) is 39% above its target; Portugal (1990+27%) is 10% above its target; and Ireland (1990+13%) is also 10% above its target....

And a sentence that could be used as a litmus test to separate the poseurs and agendists from the serious:
3. The goal of climate change policy should be to mitigate risks of global climate change. The Kyoto Protocol focuses primarily on emission mitigation....MORE