ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The authors explore several approaches to an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in late 2015—including through carbon pricing.
June 18, 2015
Journal Article, Nature, volume 522
By Zhu Liu, Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sustainability Science Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Dabo Guan, Scott Moore, Former Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sustainability Science Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2014, Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Jun Su, Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2001–2002 and Qiang Zhang
China is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, accounting for one-quarter of the global total in 2013. Although the country has successfully lowered the rate of emissions from industry in some cities through improved technology and energy-efficiency measures, rapid economic growth means that more emissions are being added than removed. Without mitigation, China's CO2 emissions will rise by more than 50% in the next 15 years.
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.
June 16, 2015
This April, the United States assumed the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. The Belfer Center Environment and Natural Resources Program is releasing a series of policy briefs on the issues relating to the Arctic. This brief, focusing on security issues, is the first in this series.
June 7, 2015
By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow
The Obama administration’s negative response to China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was a strategic mistake. Though some Chinese moves might be destabilising and require US resistance, this initiative should have been welcomed.
The US should be careful about opposing ventures that are popular and likely to proceed. Losing fights does not build confidence. Moreover, the new bank’s purpose — to develop infrastructure in Asia — is a good goal. The world economy needs more growth. Many emerging markets are eager to boost productivity and growth by lowering costs of transportation, improving energy availability, enhancing communications networks, and distributing clean water.
The AIIB offers an opportunity to strengthen the very international economic system that the US created and sustained. The AIIB’s designated leader, Jin Liqun, a former vice-president of the Asian Development Bank, sought advice in Washington. He engaged an American lawyer who was the World Bank’s leading specialist on governance. He also reached out to another American who had served as World Bank country director for China and then worked with the US embassy.
If the AIIB was indeed threatening the American-led multilateral economic order, as its opponents seemed to believe, then its Chinese founders chose a curiously open and co-operative way of doing so.
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.
By Zhu Liu, Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sustainability Science Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
The magnitude and growing annual rate of growth of China's carbon emissions make this country the major driver of global carbon emissions and thus a key focus for efforts in emissions mitigations. This report presents independent data on China's carbon emissions from 1950–2012, and provides a basis to support mitigation efforts and China's low-carbon development plan.
May 26, 2015
Experts from universities, think tanks, the World Bank, and private companies met at the Harvard Kennedy School on May 7 and 8, 2015 to discuss how flexible approaches to exchanging mitigation commitments might be incorporated into the new climate agreement to be concluded in Paris later in 2015. The workshop, "Comparison and Linkage of Mitigation Efforts in a New Paris Regime," was co-sponsored by the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, and World Bank Group's Networked Carbon Markets Initiative.
Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter
The challenge of climate change is profound. The risks it poses are dire,” said Harvard President Drew Faust as she opened discussions during Harvard’s Presidential Panel on Climate Change on April 13 at Sanders Theatre.
Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter
By Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications
Dongsheng Wu has an important role in the development and implementation of China's plans to reduce carbon emissions and, subsequently, climate change. As director of the Department of Climate Change at the Shanxi Provincial Development and Reform Commission, Wu is responsible for developing a greenhouse gas emissions policy for Shanxi, a region with the highest coal production and highest energy intensity in China.