Emissions distribution in post–Kyoto international negotiations: a policy perspective
An abundant scientific literature about climate change economics points out that the future participation of developing countries in international environmental policies will depend on their amount of pay offs inside and outside specific agreements. These studies are aimed at analyzing coalitions stability typically through a game theoretical approach. Though these contributions represent a corner stone in the research field investigating future plausible international coalitions and the reasons behind the difficulties incurred over time to implement emissions stabilizing actions, they cannot disentangle satisfactorily the role that equality play in inducing poor regions to tackle global warming. If we focus on the Stern Review findings stressing that climate change will generate heavy damages and policy actions will be costly in a finite time horizon, we understand why there is a great incentive to free ride in order to exploit benefits from emissions reduction efforts of others. The reluctance of poor countries in joining international agreements is mainly supported by historical responsibility of rich regions in generating atmospheric carbon concentration, whereas rich countries claim that emissions stabilizing policies will be effective only when developing countries will join them. Scholars recently outline that a perceived fairness in the distribution of emissions would facilitate a wide spread participation in international agreements. In this paper we overview the literature about distributional aspects of emissions by focusing on those contributions investigating past trends of emissions distribution through empirical data and future trajectories through simulations obtained by integrated assessment models. We will explain methodologies used to elaborate data and the link between real data and those coming from simulations. Results from this strand of research will be interpreted in order to discuss future negotiations for post Kyoto agreements that will be the focus of the next Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. A particular attention will be devoted to the role that technological change will play in affecting the distribution of emissions over time and to how spillovers and experience diffusion could influence equality issues and future outcomes of policy negotiations.
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