Energy

20 Items

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

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

    Author:
  • 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?

Visitors look at a Intelligent Energy hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle at the 10th Auto Expo in New Delhi, India, Jan. 6, 2010.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Energy Innovation Policy in Major Emerging Countries

New Harvard Kennedy School research finds that energy research, development, and demonstration (ERD&D) funding by governments and 100 percent government-owned enterprises in six major emerging economies appears larger than government spending on ERD&D in most industrialized countries combined. That makes the six so-called BRIMCS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa—major players in the development of new energy technologies. It also suggests there could be opportunities for cooperation on energy technology development among countries.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, center, upon his arrival in Bangalore, India, Dec. 4, 2010. Sarkozy arrived on a 4-day visit to sign agreements to set up nuclear power plants in India and jointly develop satellites to study climate change.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Towards a Breakthrough for Deadlocked Climate Change Negotiations

    Author:
  • Akihiro Sawa
| December 2010

With regard to developing a new international framework, developed countries should acknowledge how grave the consequences would be to easily give in to a Kyoto extension. Merely extending the Kyoto Protocol would surely delay mitigation actions on the part of developing countries and discourage the U.S. from making serious efforts to reduce its large energy consumption. In other words, no country should end up being a "climate-killer" in its attempts to avoid being called a "Kyoto-killer."

Cattle graze in front of wind turbines of the Spanish utility Endesa in the Eolico Park, Spain, Aug. 3, 2006.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Toward a Post-2012 International Climate Agreement

    Author:
  • Fulvio Conti
| March 2010

Negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Copenhagen in December 2009 did not produce a new international treaty with binding emissions commitments, but have defined a roadmap for dealing with global climate change in the post-2012 era. As countries continue to pursue new models for global agreement, it will be important to learn from the weaknesses of past approaches, while building on positive aspects of the experience with the Kyoto Protocol so far.

A Chinese resident looks at a solar panel in a residential area in Nanjing, Dec. 1, 2009. Solar energy supplies heating and hot water to as many as 150 million Chinese.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Climate Finance: Key Concepts and Ways Forward

    Authors:
  • Richard B. Stewart
  • Benedict Kingsbury
  • Bryce Rudyk
| December 2, 2009

Climate finance is fundamental to curbing anthropogenic climate change. Compared, however, to the negotiations over emissions reduction timetables, commitments, and architectures, climate finance issues have received only limited and belated attention. Assuring delivery and appropriate use of the financial resources needed to achieve emissions reductions and secure adaptation to climate change, particularly in developing countries, is as vital as agreement on emission caps. Yet, a comprehensive framework on financing for mitigation and adaptation is not in sight. Developed and developing countries cannot agree on even the fundamentals of what should be included (e.g. should private finance through carbon markets be included?), let alone the level and terms of financing commitments, regulatory and other mechanisms, or governance structures.

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Climate Finance

    Author:
  • The Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements
| November 2009

The finance of climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries represents a key challenge in the negotiations on a post-2012 international climate agreement. Finance mechanisms are important because stabilizing the climate will require significant emissions reductions in both the developed and the developing worlds, and therefore large-scale investments in energy infrastructure. The current state of climate finance has been criticized for its insufficient scale, relatively low share of private-sector investment, and insufficient institutional framework. This policy brief presents options for improving and expanding climate finance.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo speaks at the High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change, June 17, 2009, at the Asian Development Bank in the Philippines. The bank pledged to double its clean energy investments in the region to $2 billion yearly.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Three Pillars of Post-2012 International Climate Policy

| October 23, 2009

Our proposal for a post-2012 international global climate policy agreement contains three essential elements: meaningful involvement by key industrialized and developing nations; an emphasis on an extended time path of targets; and inclusion of market-based policy instruments. This architecture is consistent with fundamental aspects of the science, economics, and politics of global climate change.

Service technicians fill a truck with liquid CO2 at Schwarze Pumpe in Spremberg, Germany, 9 Sep 2008. Vattenfall Europe inaugurated a pilot unit for a coal-fired power plant with CO2 capture and storage, the world's first of its kind.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Technology in the UN Climate Change Negotiations: Moving Beyond Abstraction

    Author:
  • Morgan Bazilian
| September 2, 2009

This brief considers the technology negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) within the wider context of low-carbon energy technology. In doing so, it focuses on how technology issues can be effectively embedded within a potential agreement at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) in Copenhagen. The paper asserts that the negotiations must be conducted with cognizance of national decision-making processes and competing priorities. It puts forth a series of framing topics in order to more explicitly explore the large technology "ecosystem". It concludes that the most appropriate area for international cooperation on technology under the UNFCCC lies in the direct provision of human and institutional capacity building with a focus on the least developed countries.

Policy Brief - Consortium for Energy Policy Research

Acting in Time on Energy Policy

| May 20, 2009

This policy brief outlines urgent priorities for U.S. energy policy at the dawn of the Obama administration, and recommends specific steps that the U.S. government should take to address the numerous energy-related challenges facing the United States. It is based on the book, Acting in Time on Energy Policy (Brookings 2009), edited by Kelly Sims Gallagher, director of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center.

We concentrate on six topics: climate change policy, carbon capture and storage policy, oil security policy, energy-technology innovation policy, electricity market structure, and infrastructure policy. The United States cannot afford to wait any longer to enact long-term policies on these topics. In fact, acting early is clearly in the longer-term interest of the United States.