24 Items

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

The Only Feasible Way of Cutting Emissions

| June 1, 2014

"Because emission control costs vary drastically among the millions of diverse emissions sources, conventional regulations are unfeasible. Only a pricing regime provides incentives for the overall target to be achieved in the least expensive manner. In the long term it is economical because of incentives to adopt lower-cost, cleaner technologies."

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Treaty Design and Duration: Effects on R&D, Participation, and Compliance

  • Bard Harstad
| January 2013

Climate policy is complicated. For a treaty to be beneficial, one must think through carefully how it will work, once it is implemented. Crucial questions include the following: How should an international treaty be designed? Should one negotiate commitments for a five-year period, or for much longer? Assuming that the treaty specifies aggregate or country-specific emission caps, what should these caps be and how should they change over time? How should the agreement be updated once policymakers, scholars, and the public learn more about the severity of the climate-change problem, or about the effects of the policy? Can the treaty be designed to encourage investments in "green" abatement technology or renewable energy sources? Finally, how can one motivate countries to participate and comply with such an agreement?

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

A Good Opening: The Key to Make the Most of Unilateral Climate Action

  • Valentina Bosetti
  • Enrica De Cian
| March 2012

In a new Harvard Project Discussion Paper, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei's Valentina Bosetti and Enrica De Cian model the behavior of countries not participating in a cooperative climate regime. The regime imposes counterbalancing influences upon these countries, but under some conditions they may act to both reduce emissions and increase clean-energy R&D

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Quarterly Journal: International Security

Belfer Center Newsletter Spring 2011

| Spring 2011

The Spring 2011 issue of the Belfer Center newsletter features recent and upcoming activities, research, and analysis by members of the Center community on critical global issues. This issue highlights the Belfer Center’s continuing efforts to build bridges between the United States and Russia to prevent nuclear catastrophe – an effort that began in the 1950s. This issue also features three new books by Center faculty that sharpen global debate on critical issues: God’s Century, by Monica Duffy Toft, The New Harvest by Calestous Juma, and The Future of Power, by Joseph S. Nye.

Mar. 9, 2010: A tanker truck drives by a Chevron refinery in California. The state is set to begin the most extensive U.S. carbon trading market in Jan. 2012, which will provide a financial incentive to cut GHG emissions.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Technology Review

Curbing Carbon

| March/April 2011

"Throughout the U.S. economy, millions of decentralized decisions are made every day that contribute to the problem of climate change. A national carbon-pricing system—in the form of either carbon taxes or cap-and-trade—is the only policy that can significantly tilt them all in a climate-friendly direction. Given the ubiquity and diversity of energy use in a modern economy, conventional regulatory approaches simply cannot do the job."

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Climate Policy and Innovation in the Absence of Commitment

  • Ashokankur Datta
  • E. Somanathan
| January 2011

In order to induce investment in research and development, incentive-based instruments such as emissions taxes and carbon cap and trade have to be expected to be in place after the new technology comes to market. This can be several years after the decision to invest in R & D is made. Policies announced or put in place today can be changed. To put it simply, there is a commitment problem. This commitment problem does not apply to policies put in place today that lower the cost of R & D, such as subsidies or complementary investments by public-sector entities. We compare the effects of an emissions tax, an emissions quota with tradeable permits, and R & D subsidies on a firm’s incentive to conduct R & D in the absence of commitment by the government.

A man looks at an exhibit on climate change during the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Dec. 1, 2010. The host nation has called the U.S. pledge to cut GHG emissions "modest," while praising other nonbinding offers made by India and China.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Christian Science Monitor

Why Cancun Trumped Copenhagen: Warmer Relations on Rising Temperatures

| December 20, 2010

The climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico, didn't solve all the world's climate problems. But they were hugely successful. Through the Cancun Agreements, 194 countries reached landmark consensus (even the US and China) to set emissions targets and limit global temperature increases.