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Policy Focus: Finding a way forward: Three critical issues for a post-Kyoto global agreement on climate change

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  • Stephen Howes

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the (three) critical issues that will need to be addressed in a post-2012 (post-Kyoto) global agreement on climate change, sets out the options and difficulties in relation to them, and outlines a way forward on each. Design/methodology/approach – The paper assesses proposals for national and international mitigation already put forward both by negotiating countries and by academics. Findings – Global mitigation efforts have so far achieved little and negotiations are currently deadlocked. This lack of progress has led to an proliferation of alternative policy proposals for an international agreement, but only those proposals which build on international agreements to date have at the current time any reasonable prospect of guiding global mitigation effort post-2012. There are three main issues that will need to be addressed within that framework: emission reduction targets for developed countries; the nature and extent of actions to limit emissions growth in developing countries; and the funding of emission reduction efforts in developing countries. Using a number of explicit assumptions, the paper identifies likely ranges for emission reduction targets for developed countries and emission growth limits for developing countries. The best (worst) case involves developed countries as a group reducing 2020 emissions by 20 per cent (10 per cent) over 1990 levels, and developing countries limiting annual average emissions growth between 2012 and 2020 to 1.5 per cent (3.5 per cent) a year. This is estimated to give global emissions in 2020 in the range of 47-53?Gt CO2-e. The bottom end of this range is consistent with the long-term goal of stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the range of 550 CO2-e ppm, provided there is rapid adjustment post-2020. Crucial to reaching a deal at the ambitious end of this range will be reform of the clean development mechanism, and a commitment by developed countries to large public funding in support of developing country mitigation. Originality/value – The paper accepts the current negotiating framework, and provides a systematic and quantified treatment of the critical issues which arise within it. JEL Classification: Q54, F53

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Indian Growth and Development Review.

Volume (Year): 2 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 75-98

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Handle: RePEc:eme:igdrpp:v:2:y:2009:i:1:p:75-98

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Keywords: Agreements; Climatology; Global warming; Protocols;

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