Toward a Post-Kyoto Climate Change Architecture: A Political Analysis
27 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2008
Any international regime aimed at the mitigation of global climate change must solve three problems: 1) secure sufficient participation; 2) achieve agreement on meaningful rules; and 3) ensure compliance with those rules. That is, it must solve problems of participation, effectiveness, and compliance. In this paper, prepared for the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, we focus on the compliance problem, but with careful consideration of the first two issues. We propose a post-Kyoto Protocol compliance system that is based upon emissions trading coupled to buyer liability. Section I addresses the trade-off between participation and strictness of rules by proposing what we call an 'economy of esteem for climate change.' Section II discusses participation. We suggest that only a cap-and-trade architecture is likely to make it politically possible to secure sufficient participation to get a climate change mitigation regime up and running. Section III analyzes the problem of compliance and argues that, contrary to the current provisions in the Kyoto Protocol, a system of buyer liability is essential. Section IV considers how institutions to assess compliance with emissions reductions could be constructed. Finally, Section V addresses potential weaknesses of our buyer liability system and provides responses to these criticisms. Throughout, we write from the standpoint of the politics of international cooperation; our policy recommendations take into account the more technocratic literatures on compliance, liability, and so forth but flow directly and primarily from our political analysis.
Keywords: Global climate change, Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, Kyoto Protocol, emissions reductions, international cooperation
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