Transparency, Policy Surveillance, and the Comparison of Mitigation Efforts

Resources for the Future Discussion Paper 16-46

40 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2016

See all articles by Joseph E. Aldy

Joseph E. Aldy

Harvard Kennedy School; National Bureau of Economic Research; Resources for the Future; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

William A. Pizer

Duke University

Keigo Akimoto

Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth

Date Written: November 7, 2016

Abstract

This paper synthesizes the work in a research program focused on the transparency and comparability of mitigation efforts in multilateral climate change policy. We take as our starting point the emerging international architecture, which creates demand for practical mechanisms to compare domestic efforts to mitigate global climate change. How do countries decide whether and to what degree pledges by their peers — often expressed in different forms that stymie obvious apples-to-apples comparison — are sufficient to justify their own actions now and more ambitious actions in the future? We describe a number of desirable features of metrics that might be used for ex ante comparisons of proposed pledges and ex post assessments of subsequent actions delivering on those pledges. Such metrics should be comprehensive, measurable, and universal. In practice, however, no single metric has all these features. We suggest using a collection of metrics to characterize and compare mitigation efforts, akin to employing a suite of economic statistics to illustrate the health of the macro-economy. We illustrate the application of a suite of metrics to several countries’ mitigation pledges using four modeling platforms. We also describe how countries increasingly employ complex suites of policies, rather than the cost-effective, economy-wide policies modelers are used to examining. This suggests new challenges and opportunities to use modeling tools to evaluate these realistic policy contexts.

Keywords: Emissions Mitigation, International Environmental Agreements, Modeling Analysis, Policy Surveillance, Comparability of Effort, Nationally Determined Contributions

Suggested Citation

Aldy, Joseph E. and Pizer, William A. and Akimoto, Keigo, Transparency, Policy Surveillance, and the Comparison of Mitigation Efforts (November 7, 2016). Resources for the Future Discussion Paper 16-46. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2876683 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2876683

Joseph E. Aldy (Contact Author)

Harvard Kennedy School

79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-7213 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/faculty-staff-directory/joseph-aldy

National Bureau of Economic Research

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Resources for the Future

79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-7213 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/faculty-staff-directory/joseph-aldy

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

William A. Pizer

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Keigo Akimoto

Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth ( email )

No Address Available

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