November 20, 2009
International climate negotiations are becoming increasingly focused on suites of emissions-cutting policies and measures, rather than solely on traditional targets and timetables, particularly for developing countries. This approach raises at least two important challenges for negotiators and policymakers. First, how can negotiators judge whether states' proposed policies and measures are commensurate with ambitious global goals for controlling emissions? Second, how can policymakers evaluate whether climate policies and measures (in both developed and developing countries) are succeeding and maximize the odds that countries will actually deliver needed emissions cuts? Answering both questions is essential to reconciling a bottom-up approach to climate change mitigation with top-down need for strong global emissions cuts.
A successful global effort to mitigate global climate change will require substantial cooperation between developed and developing countries. Even as the bulk of the developed world is at some stage of enacting significant domestic regulations to meet global stabilization goals, growth in developing country emissions will easily thwart those goals unless a cooperative solution is found. We argue that there is a wide range of options that should be pursued, including domestic policy reforms in developing countries, expanded financing mechanisms to address incremental costs, and diplomatic efforts in a variety of forums, all aimed at increasing developing country mitgation efforts over time.