An International Architecture for the Post-Kyoto Era

11 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2006

See all articles by Sheila M. Olmstead

Sheila M. Olmstead

LBJ School of Public Affairs; Resources for the Future

Robert N. Stavins

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

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

In February, 2005, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came into force, but without participation by the United States. Its impacts on emissions of greenhouse gases - including carbon dioxide (CO2) , the primary anthropogenic driver of climate change - will be trivial; but scientific and economic analyses point to the need for a credible international approach. Because the Kyoto Protocol's ambitious targets apply only to the short term (2008-2012) and only to industrialized nations, the agreement will impose relatively high costs and generate only modest short-term benefits while failing to provide a real solution. For these reasons, most economists see the agreement as deeply flawed, although some see it as an acceptable first step. Virtually all agree, however, that the Protocol is not sufficient to the overall challenge. We describe the basic features of a post-Kyoto international global climate agreement, which addresses three crucial questions: who, when, and how. The respective elements are: first, a means to ensure that key nations - industrialized and developing - are involved; second, an emphasis on an extended time path of action (employing a cost-effective pattern over time); and third, inclusion of market-based policy instruments.

Keywords: Business and Government Policy, Environment and Natural Resources, Intergovernmental Relations, International Affairs/Globalization, Regulation

Suggested Citation

Olmstead, Sheila M. and Stavins, Robert N., An International Architecture for the Post-Kyoto Era (March 2006). KSG Working Paper No. RWP06-009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=902371 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.902371

Sheila M. Olmstead

LBJ School of Public Affairs ( email )

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Resources for the Future ( email )

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Robert N. Stavins (Contact Author)

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

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Resources for the Future

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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