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Suggestions for the Road to Copenhagen


  • Karp, Larry
  • Zhao, Jinhua


We provide a unified discussion of the issues that confront negotiators of the next international climate agreement. We offer a novel proposal that entitles countries to discharge their treaty obligations by paying a “fine†. This escape clause provides cost insurance, simplifies the problem of enforcing compliance, and increases incentives to participate in the agreement. We explain why developed country obligations should rely on a cap and trade commitment rather than carbon taxes. A Central Bank maintains stability of carbon prices by defending a price ceiling and floor. An so-called intensity target is not a good alternative to an emissions cap. Modest trade restrictions, consistent with WTO law, will form an important part of the next agreement. Developed and developing countries have differentiated responsibilities. Developing countries do not adopt binding targets at the next round of negotiations, but they accept the principle of binding targets in the subsequent agreement, beginning in the early 2020s. Developed country participation relies on a reformed CDM and sectoral agreements that are financed by the sale of emissions permits.

Suggested Citation

  • Karp, Larry & Zhao, Jinhua, 2009. "Suggestions for the Road to Copenhagen," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt3nj4h7k2, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt3nj4h7k2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pietronero, L. & Tosatti, E. & Tosatti, V. & Vespignani, A., 2001. "Explaining the uneven distribution of numbers in nature: the laws of Benford and Zipf," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 293(1), pages 297-304.
    2. David Giles, 2007. "Benford's law and naturally occurring prices in certain ebaY auctions," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 157-161.
    3. Golan, Amos & Judge, George G. & Miller, Douglas, 1996. "Maximum Entropy Econometrics," Staff General Research Papers Archive 1488, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Grendar, Marian & Judge, George & Schechter, Laura, 2007. "An empirical non-parametric likelihood family of data-based Benford-like distributions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 380(C), pages 429-438.
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    Cited by:

    1. De Cian, Enrica & Tavoni, Massimo, 2012. "Do technology externalities justify restrictions on emission permit trading?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 624-646.
    2. de Melo, Jaime & Mathys, Nicole Andréa, 2010. "Trade and Climate Change: The Challenges Ahead," CEPR Discussion Papers 8032, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.


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