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Opportunities for and alternatives to global climate regimes post-Kyoto


Michaelowa, Axel (2015). Opportunities for and alternatives to global climate regimes post-Kyoto. In: Gadgil, Ashok; Tomich, Thoams P. Annual review of environment and resources. Palo Alto: Annual Reviews, 395-418.

Abstract

International policies for mitigation of climate change provide a global public good and thus suffer from “free riding,” i.e., inaction of governments. In 25 years of negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the regime has changed its character from a top-down approach based on mandatory emissions commitments to a bottom-up system of voluntary government pledges. At the same time, various initiatives by governments at all levels and private companies have been established, but most are limited to emissions reporting and exchange of knowledge on mitigation technologies. None of the alternatives has shown a higher mitigation effectiveness than the Kyoto Protocol. Generally, the transition toward a bottom-up regime risks a reduction of transparency and increases in the transaction costs of mitigation. Although it could give rise to a club of countries engaging in strong mitigation that could expand over time, it is unlikely to be ambitious enough to achieve the target of limiting warming to 2◦C. On the one hand, carbon prices will be applied in a larger number of jurisdictions, and mitigation technologies diffuse around the world. On the other hand, carbon price levels will remain relatively low, and their mitigation benefits will be more than outweighed by the growth of infrastructure and consumption. Thus, a temperature increase of at least 3◦C by 2100 becomes more and more likely.

Abstract

International policies for mitigation of climate change provide a global public good and thus suffer from “free riding,” i.e., inaction of governments. In 25 years of negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the regime has changed its character from a top-down approach based on mandatory emissions commitments to a bottom-up system of voluntary government pledges. At the same time, various initiatives by governments at all levels and private companies have been established, but most are limited to emissions reporting and exchange of knowledge on mitigation technologies. None of the alternatives has shown a higher mitigation effectiveness than the Kyoto Protocol. Generally, the transition toward a bottom-up regime risks a reduction of transparency and increases in the transaction costs of mitigation. Although it could give rise to a club of countries engaging in strong mitigation that could expand over time, it is unlikely to be ambitious enough to achieve the target of limiting warming to 2◦C. On the one hand, carbon prices will be applied in a larger number of jurisdictions, and mitigation technologies diffuse around the world. On the other hand, carbon price levels will remain relatively low, and their mitigation benefits will be more than outweighed by the growth of infrastructure and consumption. Thus, a temperature increase of at least 3◦C by 2100 becomes more and more likely.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, mitigation, adaptation, finance
Language:English
Date:September 2015
Deposited On:12 Jan 2016 09:24
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:50
Publisher:Annual Reviews
Series Name:Annual Review of Environment and Resources
Number:40
ISSN:1543-5938
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-102014-021112
Official URL:http://www.annualreviews.org/toc/energy/40/1

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