Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The climate policy dilemma: Which way forward?
Preparations are well in train for a comprehensive treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The new U.S. administration is committed to addressing climate change; proposals for a cap and trade regime in the US are moving forward in Congress.
At the same time, experience with the Clean Development Mechanism under Kyoto and the European cap and trade experiment are not encouraging (M. Wara, Stanford Program on Energy and Sustainable Development working paper #56, July 2006); much has been spent for little result. Joint Implementation has gone nowhere, and China and India still appear to hold most of the cards, with negotiations attempting to buy their cooperation.
This paper explores the structural weaknesses of the Kyoto Protocol, finding that the absolute emissions standard, the assignment of obligations, the attempt to simultaneously satisfy climate, development, and poverty agendas, and the lack of third world obligation are fatal weaknesses. it explores a path by which the key export market economies might craft an effective and efficient global GHG tax regime.
Richard Slaughter is an international economic and public policy consultant, Director of the Boise Committee on Foreign Relations, and a co-founder and vice president of the American Committees on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC. He was formerly Chief Economist of the State of Idaho (1980-84), and more recently was Director of the Martin Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution at the University of Idaho, from 1996 – 2000. He has consulted privately since 1984.
Dr. Slaughter also consults with the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) of the
University of Washington, for whom he is doing research on the ability of water
and energy institutions in the Northwest to adapt to climate variability and
change. Dr. Slaughter holds a BA from the University of Idaho, and MA and Ph.D. degrees in
International Politics from the University of Denver. He is a member of the
Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He serves on the boards of the
Martin Institute at the University of Idaho, the Frank Church Institute at Boise
State University, and the American Committees on Foreign Relations.