Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements: Winner of Research Paper Competition
September 12, 2008
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
We are pleased to announce that Larry Karp (University of California, Berkeley) and Jinhua Zhao (Michigan State University) have been chosen as the winners of the open research paper competition of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements. Their paper, "A Proposal for the Design of the Successor to the Kyoto Protocol", was selected based on its innovative and realistic approach to post-2012 global climate policy. In the paper, Karp and Zhao describe how an international agreement could include several design features that would encourage participation and compliance. The treaty could include an escape clause that would give signatories the option to increase their emissions, provided they pay a penalty in the form of a monetary fine or accept WTO-sanctioned restriction on their exports, which, the authors claim, could be consistent with the current WTO regime. As more nations join the agreement, the severity of the penalty could increase, thereby increasing members' incentives to abate, and promoting participation and compliance.
The trade sanctions permitted by the agreement would reduce carbon leakage, which occurs when economic activity moves from a country with stringent emissions limits to a country with lesser or no emissions limits. To minimize this problem, industrialized countries would be allowed to set border taxes on the carbon content of goods imported from developing countries with no emissions restrictions. The authors claim that such border taxes would eliminate carbon leakage, without undermining the current trade regime.
Karp and Zhao’s complete paper is posted on the Project website here.
Thirty-six papers were submitted to the competition, with a total of 51 authors. Sole or lead authors were based in 18 different countries—16 of which were in Asia. Eight sole or lead authors were based in the United States. Sole or lead authors of 11 papers were university faculty; seven were from business or consulting firms; five from NGOs; four from government agencies; four were graduate students; and three from international governmental organizations.
Authors included: a lead editor of an IPCC assessment report; a lead author of a chapter in another IPCC assessment report; and an author of an IPCC synthesis report. Another author is a leading foreign ministry official with responsibility for the climate change policy portfolio. At least two authors are or have been members of their countries’ official delegations to UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties.
The Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements is grateful to all of the authors for the time, thought, expertise, and creativity they invested in the preparation of the 36 papers submitted to the competition.
For more information about this publication please contact the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements Coordinator at 617-496-8054.
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