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Pathways to a new international climate regime: Scientists present options at COP 19 in Warsaw

10/31/2013 - How can the next global climate agreement combine bottom-up initiatives from the national or subnational levels with multilateral top-down coordination? And how can such “hybrid” approaches deliver ambitious mitigation? These questions are addressed in a joint Issue Brief now published by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) – founded by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Stiftung Mercator last year – and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. The findings will be discussed on November 20 at a side-event at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, COP-19, in Warsaw, often referred to as the world climate summit.
Pathways to a new international climate regime: Scientists present options at COP 19 in Warsaw

Negotiators at the world climate summit in Doha 2012. Photo: UNFCCC

Co-hosts include Robert N. Stavins of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Ottmar Edenhofer, chief-economist of PIK and Director of the MCC, and Andreas Löschel of the Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung (Centre for European Economic Research).

“It is very unlikely that a new climate treaty will feature binding international targets and timetables for greenhouse-gas emissions cuts,” says Ottmar Edenhofer. “Key emitters keep on opposing this. Thus, alternative pathways need to be explored – while keeping in mind that delayed action increases costs, and risks. The complexity of the issues and the economic stakes are extremely high, so international negotiations currently taking place under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action should not focus on resolving all issues simultaneously in Paris 2015.”

“Instead, they might carefully consider the appropriate division of labor across multiple levels of policymaking from the local via the national to the global level,” says Edenhofer. The UNFCCC and other international initiatives could be central to coordinate the levels of domestic climate policy ambition across countries, and might implement provisions regarding finance, market mechanisms, and technological innovation that can support, guide, and enhance national offers in a dynamic process over time. At the national level, carbon pricing policies to enhance public revenue may become a key motivation for adopting ambitious climate policy. While such a mix of top-down and bottom-up might not look like a heroic solution to the problem, it has the important advantage of probably being feasible - and thus creating the institutional preconditions, and mutual trust, for facilitating deeper emission reductions in the mid- to long-term. The world cannot afford a sustained failure of international climate policy.”

“The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action provides an opportunity to include all key greenhouse-gas-emitting countries in a new international climate regime that brings about meaningful emissions reductions on an appropriate timetable at acceptable cost,” says Robert N. Stavins of the Harvard Project of Climate Agreements. “We find ourselves at an important juncture in the international negotiations – and in our broader efforts to address climate change. I hope that the joint research of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements will be helpful for taking full advantage of the opportunity presented by the Durban Platform.”

The Issue Brief builds on a workshop by the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and the MCC, who convened thirty leading international researchers – not just from the US and Germany but also for instance from China and India – as well as policymakers including negotiators and officials from the UNFCCC secretariat and the European Union, this May at MCC in Berlin. Over these two days, participants identified and discussed options for a new international climate regime based on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

The Durban Platform was adopted by COP-17 in 2011. The Platform calls for a new agreement to address climate change by COP-21 to be held in Paris in 2015, which would go into effect in 2020. The summit in Warsaw this year is one important milestone in this process.

 

Weblink to the issue brief:
http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/23528/identifying_options_for_a_new_international_climate_ regime_arising_from_the_durban_platform_for_enhanced_action.html? breadcrumb=%2Fexperts%2F2897%2Fottmar_edenhofer

This side event will be held on Wednesday, November 20, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, in Room 3 at the conference center hosting the COP.

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