Environment and Natural Resources (continued)
By W. Ross Morrow, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2008–2009, Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Kelly Sims Gallagher, Senior Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Gustavo Collantes, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy Research Group/Enviroment and Natural Resources Program, 2007–2008
This policy brief is based on Belfer Center paper #2010-02 and an article published in Energy Policy, Vol. 38, No. 3.
Oil security and the threat of climate disruption have focused attention on the transportation sector, which consumes 70% of the oil used in the United States.
This study explores several policy scenarios for reducing oil imports and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
May 20, 2009
By Kelly Sims Gallagher, Senior Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
This policy brief outlines urgent priorities for U.S. energy policy at the dawn of the Obama administration, and recommends specific steps that the U.S. government should take to address the numerous energy-related challenges facing the United States. It is based on the book, Acting in Time on Energy Policy (Brookings 2009), edited by Kelly Sims Gallagher, director of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center.
We concentrate on six topics: climate change policy, carbon capture and storage policy, oil security policy, energy-technology innovation policy, electricity market structure, and infrastructure policy. The United States cannot afford to wait any longer to enact long-term policies on these topics. In fact, acting early is clearly in the longer-term interest of the United States.
Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Joseph Aldy's Viewpoint makes a case for how transparency through policy surveillance can facilitate more effective international climate change policy architecture.
"Identifying Options for a New International Climate Regime Arising from the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action"
By Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Flachsland, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert C. Stowe, Executive Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program; Manager, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
The Harvard Project co-sponsored a research workshop in May 2013 examining options for the UNFCCC's Durban-Platform process. This Issue Brief draws from and extends the discussion at the workshop.
By Donna Lee
Forests can play a significant role in helping to avoid dangerous climate change, and a global agreement under the UNFCCC would be uniquely placed to support efforts in this regard. The rising global demand for agricultural and other land-based products means that pressures on land are increasingly cross-border, and there is an accelerating expansion of the deforestation frontier. Smart domestic policies are critical to solving the deforestation challenge, and recent private sector interest in "sustainable agriculture" is encouraging. However, global agreements that value standing forests and provide incentives that positively impact land use change decisions can be an equally important tool.
The United States has considerable tax administration and cap-and-trade expertise that could highlight potentially successful carbon pricing approaches. Although this experience is not climate-related, the United States deploys an efficient and highly compliant excise tax system, and it could assist developing country efforts to build their own capacity to tax carbon. The United States also has long experience with cap-and-trade systems for criteria air pollutants, much of which is transferable to greenhouse-gas emissions trading.
By Bard Harstad
Climate policy is complicated. For a treaty to be beneficial, one must think through carefully how it will work, once it is implemented. Crucial questions include the following: How should an international treaty be designed? Should one negotiate commitments for a five-year period, or for much longer? Assuming that the treaty specifies aggregate or country-specific emission caps, what should these caps be and how should they change over time? How should the agreement be updated once policymakers, scholars, and the public learn more about the severity of the climate-change problem, or about the effects of the policy? Can the treaty be designed to encourage investments in "green" abatement technology or renewable energy sources? Finally, how can one motivate countries to participate and comply with such an agreement?
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action represents an important milestone in the history of climate negotiations. The challenge is to find a way to include all key countries in a structure that brings about meaningful emission reduction on an appropriate timetable at acceptable cost, while recognizing the different circumstances of countries in a way that is more subtle, more sophisticated, and more effective than the dichotomous distinction of years past. This policy brief expands upon the authors' Science article, "Climate Negotiators Create an Opportunity for Scholars."
In December 2011, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which launched a new round of negotiations aimed at developing "a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force" for the post-2020 period. The Durban Platform negotiations got underway this year and are scheduled to conclude in 2015. This Viewpoint analyzes the elements of the Durban Platform and the possible role that a new instrument might play.
By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
In this policy brief, Harvard Project Director Robert Stavins focuses on how subnational policies will interact with a federal climate policy. It turns out that some of the interactions will be problematic, others will be benign, and still others could be positive. He also examines the role that could be played by subnational policies in the absence of a meaningful federal policy, with the conclusion that—like it or not—we may find that Sacramento, California comes to take the place of Washington as the center of national climate policy. This case study might provide insight for COP 17 delegates in designing the next steps toward a flexible international agreement.