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Can an Effective Global Climate Treaty be Based on Sound Science, Rational Economics, and Pragmatic Politics?

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  • Stavins, Robert

    (Harvard U and Resources for the Future)

Abstract

The Kyoto Protocol (1997) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) may come into force without U.S. participation, but its effects on climate change will be virtually non-existent. At the same time, the economic and scientific consensus points to the need for a credible international approach. A reasonable starting point is the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), which was signed by 161 nations and ratified by 50, including the United States, and entered into force in 1994. In this paper, I remain agnostic on the question of the Kyoto Protocol's viability. Some analysts see the agreement as "deeply flawed," while others see it as an acceptable first step. But virtually everyone agrees that the Protocol is not sufficient to the overall challenge, and that further, subsequent steps will be required. This is my starting point for proposing a three-part policy architecture: first, all nations would be involved through the use of economic trigger mechanisms, plus growth targets; second, long-term targets would be required - in the short-term, firm, but moderate targets, and in the long-term, flexible, but much more stringent targets; and third, market-based policy instruments would be part of the package - emissions trading, carbon taxes, or hybrids of the two. This overall approach can be made to be scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp04-020.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp04-020

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  1. Cole, M.A. & Rayner, A.J. & Bates, J.M., 1997. "The environmental Kuznets curve: an empirical analysis," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(04), pages 401-416, November.
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  5. Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Experience with market-based environmental policy instruments," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 355-435 Elsevier.
  6. Jacoby, Henry D. & Ellerman, A. Denny, 2004. "The safety valve and climate policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 481-491, March.
  7. Sergey V. Paltsev, 2001. "The Kyoto Protocol: Regional and Sectoral Contributions to the Carbon Leakage," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 53-80.
  8. Stavins, Robert, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Global Climate Change Policy: A Primer," Working Paper Series rwp00-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  9. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
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  12. Joseph E. Aldy & Scott Barrett & Robert N. Stavins, 2003. "Thirteen Plus One: A Comparison of Global Climate Policy Architectures," Working Papers 2003.64, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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  14. Scott Barrett & Robert Stavins, 2003. "Increasing Participation and Compliance in International Climate Change Agreements," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 349-376, December.
  15. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," Working Paper Series rwp00-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  16. Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "What Can We Learn from the Grand Policy Experiment? Lessons from SO2 Allowance Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 69-88, Summer.
  17. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Chapter 11 Technological change and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 461-516 Elsevier.
  18. Stavins, Robert & Hahn, Robert, 1999. "What Has Kyoto Wrought? The Real Architecture of International Tradable Permit Markets," Discussion Papers dp-99-30, Resources For the Future.
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  20. Michael Grubb, 2003. "The Economics of the Kyoto Protocol," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(3), pages 143-189, July.
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  22. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Schneider, Stephen H., 1999. "Induced technological change and the attractiveness of CO2 abatement policies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 211-253, August.
  23. Richard Schmalensee & Paul L. Joskow & A. Denny Ellerman & Juan Pablo Montero & Elizabeth M. Bailey, 1998. "An Interim Evaluation of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 53-68, Summer.
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  27. Nigel Harris & David Coleman, 2003. "Does Britain Need More Immigrants? A Debate," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(2), pages 57-102, April.
  28. Toman, Michael & Kolstad, Charles, 2000. "The Economics of Climate Policy," Discussion Papers dp-00-40, Resources For the Future.
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