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A Kantian approach to sustainable development indicators for climate change

Agenda 21 required countries to develop and regularly update a national set of indicators for sustainable development. Several countries now have such sets also including separate indicators for climate change. Some of these indicators typically report global concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere or time series for global temperatures. While such indicators may give the public information about the state of the global climate, they do not provide a benchmark which makes it possible for the public to evaluate the climate policy of their government. With Kantian ethics as our point of departure, we propose a benchmark for national climate policy. The benchmark is that each nation state should act as if a global treaty on climate change were in place. This would require each nation state to carry out all green house gas mitigation projects below a certain cost. Furthermore, it would require each nation to keep their national green house gas emissions including acquisitions of emission permits from other countries within a certain limit. Both measures are relatively easy to track and can thus serve as indicators.

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Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 718.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:718
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Leonardo Bursztyn & David Hemous, 2012. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 131-66, February.
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  8. Alfsen, Knut H. & Greaker, Mads, 2007. "From natural resources and environmental accounting to construction of indicators for sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 600-610, March.
  9. Knut Einar Rosendahl & Jon Strand, 2011. "Carbon Leakage from the Clean Development Mechanism," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 27-50.
  10. Kenneth J. Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Lawrence H. Goulder & Kevin J. Mumford & Kirsten Oleson, 2010. "Sustainability and the Measurement of Wealth," NBER Working Papers 16599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Vivian Walsh, 2003. "Sen after Putnam," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 315-394.
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