The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements is supporting more than twenty-seven research projects from leading thinkers around the world, including from Europe, China, Japan, India, Australia, and the United States. These projects range in topic from complete architectures to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, to proposed solutions to specific problems climate negotiators face, such as facilitating technology transfer to developing countries, preventing deforestation, and enforcing a global climate agreement.
The research papers will go live on our website as they are received by the Project, and announcements will be sent out via email.
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Inadequate policy surveillance has undermined the effectiveness of multilateral climate agreements. To illustrate an alternative approach to transparency, the author evaluated policy surveillance under the 2009 G-20 fossil fuel subsidies agreement. The Leaders of the Group of 20 nations tasked their energy and finance ministers to identify and phase-out fossil fuel subsidies. The G-20 leaders agreed to submit their subsidy reform strategies to peer review and to independent expert review conducted by international organizations.
This paper posits the conceptually useful allegory of a futuristic "World Climate Assembly" that votes on global carbon emissions via the basic principle of majority rule. Two variants are considered. One is to vote on a universal price (or tax) that is internationally harmonized, but the proceeds from which are domestically retained. The other is to vote on the overall quantity of total worldwide emissions, which are then distributed for free (via a pre-decided fractional subdivision formula) as individual allowance permits that are subsequently marketed in an international cap-and-trade system.
The authors consider the role of integrated assessment models in estimating the social cost of carbon—an estimation that is important in the formulation of U.S. climate policy.
Carbon taxes, which postpone extraction of fossil fuels and reduce cumulative carbon emissions, also have economic advantages over taxes on capital.
This discussion paper examines the potential role U.S. National Parks play in curbing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions through carbon sequestration—the process of moderating global climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in long-term mineral, organic, and oceanic reservoirs.
By Todd D. Gerarden, Richard G. Newell, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert C. Stowe, Co-Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Improving end-use energy efficiency—that is, the energy-efficiency of individuals, households, and firms as they consume energy—is often cited as an important element in efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Arguments for improving energy efficiency usually rely on the idea that energy-efficient technologies will save end users money over time and thereby provide low-cost or no-cost options for reducing GHG emissions. However, some research suggests that energy-efficient technologies appear not to be adopted by consumers and businesses to the degree that would seem justified, even on a purely financial basis.
"Facilitating Linkage of Heterogeneous Regional, National, and Sub-National Climate Policies Through a Future International Agreement"
Linkage among emissions-reduction systems can reduce cost and advance equity, enhancing the chances for success of a new 2015 climate agreement.
The authors explore relationships among emissions-reduction commitments, investment in low-carbon technology, border-carbon adjustments, and international collaboration to address climate change.
This discussion paper explores the potential adverse impacts of unilateral climate policies on domestic energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries.
"The Optimal Energy Mix in Power Generation and the Contribution from Natural Gas in Reducing Carbon Emissions to 2030 and Beyond"
The authors evaluate the consistency of economic incentives and climate objectives in Europe, with regard to energy markets. In this context, they examine policy interactions between the EU-ETS and Europe's renewable target—and the role of natural gas in a transition to a low-carbon economy.