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<em>Global Sectoral Industry Approaches to Climate Change</em>

Children play near a cement factory in Cairo, Egypt, Mar. 26, 1996. Cairo has the highest levels of lead and other pollutants in the world. The government wants to clean Cairo up but does not want to sacrifice development.
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Global Sectoral Industry Approaches to Climate Change

Report, Oxfam International

May 2009

Author: Jonas Meckling, Former Research Fellow, Geopolitics of Energy Project, 2010–2012; Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, 2009–2010; Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2007–2009

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Harvard Project on Climate Agreements



Proponents of global sectoral industry approaches, such as the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, argue that sectoral approaches could help level the international playing field, provide incentives for developing countries to contribute to the global climate deal, and be more manageable than economy-wide efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

In this paper Jonas Meckling assesses the two types of sectoral approach advocated by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development: voluntary sectoral target setting and sectoral industry technology cooperation — against the criteria of environmental effectiveness and global equity.

The paper finds that, on balance, voluntary sectoral target setting has significant flaws and does not represent a fair and safe approach to engaging industries in developed and developing countries.

On the other hand, if issues relating to intellectual property rights, fair governance, adequate provision for measuring, reporting, and verifying emissions reductions and corresponding financial flows, and reform of the Clean Development mechanism are resolved, then sectoral industry technology cooperation presents a potential option for engaging the private sector in delivering a fair and safe deal.


For more information about this publication please contact the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements Coordinator at 617-496-8054.

Full text of this publication is available at:

For Academic Citation:

Meckling, Jonas. Global Sectoral Industry Approaches to Climate Change. Report for Oxfam International, May 2009.

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