Economics & Global Affairs

6 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?

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."

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres places a building block in a miniature Mayan pyramid at the site of climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, Nov. 28, 2010. The "Pyramid of Hope" symbolizes the many building blocks needed for a new climate agreement.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - The National Journal

Will We Know Success When We See It?

| December 6, 2010

"It might be relatively easy, but actually quite unfortunate, for countries to achieve what some people might define as 'success' in Cancun:  a signed international agreement, followed by glowing press releases.  I say it would unfortunate, because such an agreement could only be the Kyoto Protocol on steroids: more stringent targets for the original list of industrialized countries (Annex I) and no meaningful commitments by the key rapidly-growing emerging economies, such as China, India, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, and South Africa."

Ships anchor near the entrance of the Long Beach Harbor on Aug. 25, 2004. Marine terminal operators at the largest U.S. port revealed a plan to expand their cargo operations into the evening and weekend hours to ease traffic congestion & GHG emissions.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

The São Paulo Proposal for an Improved International Climate Agreement

    Author:
  • Erik Haites
| January 2010

An effective international climate agreement poses formidable challenges. Existing agreements, naturally, have some good features. Further improvements are being discussed in the current negotiations. But the cost and uncertainty associated with regular renegotiation of commitments is not being addressed. The São Paulo Proposal suggests mechanisms that would avoid the need for regular renegotiation of commitments and suggests other ways to make international climate agreements more effective.

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."

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.