Economics & Global Affairs

15 Items

At the 2012 U.N. Climate Change Conference held in Doha, Qatar, Costa Rica's 800-member Coopedota coffee cooperative launched the world's first carbon-neutral certified coffee (Carbon Clear, 2011).

Photo Credit: Coopedota

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Eco-Competitiveness and Eco-Efficiency: Carbon Neutrality in Latin America

    Author:
  • René Castro
| November 2015

Improvements in eco-efficiency—defined as a combination of reducing waste and reducing the use of raw inputs—offer one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also lowering production costs. In addition, changes in culture—at the level of individual businesses, countries, or both—can enhance the eco-competitive position of these businesses and countries. This paper describes three examples from Costa Rica and shows how the goal of achieving carbon neutrality can provide incentives for improving eco-efficiency and eco-competitiveness.

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?

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Sustainable Cooperation in Global Climate Policy: Specific Formulas and Emission Targets to Build on Copenhagen and Cancun

| September 2011

In pursuit of a workable successor to the Kyoto Protocol, this study offers a framework of formulas that produces precise numerical targets for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, in all regions of the world in all decades of this century....Firms, consumers, and researchers base their current decisions to invest in plant and equipment, consumer durables, or new technological possibilities on the expected future price of carbon: If government commitments are not credible from the start, then they will not raise the expected future carbon price.

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."

Mexican President Felipe Calderon delivers his speech on "Preserving Our Common Heritage: Promoting a Fair Agreement on Climate Change" during a lecture at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 2, 2010.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Institutions for International Climate Governance

    Author:
  • Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
| November 2010

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has significant advantages but also real challenges as a venue for international negotiations on climate change policy. In the wake of the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen, December 2009, it is important to reflect on institutional options going forward for negotiating and implementing climate change policy.

Sept. 1, 2010:  A coal-fired power plant emits smoke during the night in Changchun, China. Widely seen as an obstacle in the Copenhagen climate summit, China spent $34.6 billion on clean energy in 2009, nearly double the U.S. investment.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

The International Climate Change Regime: The Road from Copenhagen

    Author:
  • Daniel Bodansky
| October 2010

"...[T]he Copenhagen Accord is "only" a political agreement, so it does not provide sufficient assurance that countries will take action. But how much difference does it make that the Copenhagen Accord is a political rather than a legal agreement? Obviously, political agreements do not require domestic ratification, so they provide a weaker signal of domestic commitment. But the legal versus non-legal form of an instrument makes less of a difference in other respects, such as judicial enforcement, since even when an agreement is legally-binding, there are relatively few opportunities for adjudication either internationally or domestically. And evidence from other regimes suggests that states often take non-binding agreements quite seriously and make significant efforts to implement them."

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Beyond Copenhagen: Reconciling International Fairness, Economic Development, and Climate Protection

| October 2010

This paper proposes a new architecture for international climate policy that might usefully be considered by delegates at COP 17 in Durban. It highlights a top-down approach that is designed to produce a fair distribution of burdens across countries, while achieving objectives of: (a) economic development; (b) decreasing wealth inequality; and (c) emission reductions consistent with holding the expected increase in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius. In addition, this discussion paper discusses several key design elements that will be important, especially from the perspective of developing countries, to the success of COP 17 and subsequent international climate negotiations. These design elements include agreements on burden sharing, choice of policy instruments, financial mechanisms and technology transfer, penalties for noncompliance, and linkages between trade and climate change.

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the signing of a protocol with the EU backing Russia’s WTO accession in Moscow, May 21, 2004. Putin said Moscow in turn would speed up ratification of the Kyoto protocol.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Financial Times

Trade Could Hold the Key to a Climate Deal

    Author:
  • Bard Harstad
| December 3, 2009

"Implementing such a linkage is possible. The Montreal Protocol, successfully protecting the ozone layer, is already restricting trade with non-participants and non-compliers, although only in the substances controlled by the treaty. To repeat this success and overcome the obstacles for a climate agreement, signatories should become favoured trading partners while non-compliance should trigger a temporary denial of this status. Disputes can be solved by expanding the mandate of the WTO's dispute settlement body or another mediator."