Kazunari Kainou, 16 March 2022

The Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol is the world’s first international carbon finance scheme. Companies can acquire tradeable certified emission reduction credits by investing in energy conservation and new energy projects in developing countries. Despite its early success, the scheme collapsed following a ‘carbon panic’ in 2012. This column reviews the collapse of the mechanism and its spillovers on Paris Agreement negotiations. While the scheme was unexpectedly revived thanks to interest from the US and developing countries, carbon financing remains structurally prone to panic.

Valentina Bosetti, Jeffrey Frankel, 24 November 2014

Many countries have announced emissions targets for 2020. To evaluate which countries are doing their fair share, this column proposes a ‘scorecard’ approach based on three principles of fairness in climate change mitigation: latecomer catch-up, progressivity, and cost. The authors find that most countries’ targets, including those of China and the US, are in line with what such a scorecard would suggest.

David Hummels, Anca Cristea, Laura Puzzello, 17 December 2011

It is well known that international trade leads to greenhouse-gas emissions but policymakers often focus their attention on the production of goods and not their shipment. This column presents findings based on a unique database that allows researchers to calculate emissions for every dollar of world trade. It suggests that international transport emissions warrant serious attention in current climate-change negotiations.

Valentina Bosetti, Jeffrey Frankel, 28 November 2011

The signatories of the UN Convention on Climate Change will meet again this week in Durban, South Africa. But time is running out if they are to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, especially with the US at loggerheads with China and India. This column proposes a novel yet pragmatic solution.

Rahel Aichele, Gabriel Felbermayr, 04 February 2010

Production-based CO2 emission targets can give rise to carbon leakage, as firms relocate to countries without carbon policies. This column shows that Kyoto countries’ embodied CO2 imports have been increasing by about 50% since the Protocol was signed. Climate policies may have lead to additional carbon imports without sizeable domestic reductions. Consumption-based targets should therefore play a more prominent role in climate policies.

Richard Tol, 23 January 2010

Most feel the Copenhagen summit on climate change failed. This column argues for a “plan B” – to go back to Kyoto. The Kyoto Protocol has the tools needed for international policy. Future negotiations should focus on refining existing agreements instead of trying to impress voters at home.

Jeffrey Frankel, 18 July 2009

Is a credible multilateral climate change agreement feasible? This column says that such global cooperation is necessary and attempts to address the political hurdles. The proposed emissions reduction plan develops formulas to cap atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide at 500 ppm while obeying political constraints regarding cost, fairness, and timing.

Valentina Bosetti, Carlo Carraro, Alessandra Sgobbi, Massimo Tavoni, 06 December 2008

Policymakers need to agree to the post-Kyoto climate architecture soon to implement it in 2012. Using a set of quantitative indicators, this column assesses a number of proposed international climate policy architectures and evaluates their economic efficiency, environmental effectiveness, distributional implications, and enforceability. Unfortunately, the most effective policies are the most costly and hardest to enforce.

Robert Stavins, 18 July 2008

Robert Stavins of Harvard University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about what should follow the Kyoto Protocol – the potential architectures for a new international agreement on tackling global climate change; lessons from previous international agreements on a range of issues; and the main stumbling blocks to an agreement. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in New Orleans in January 2008.

Jeffrey Frankel, 25 June 2007

Quantitative emission targets for the 21st century must be set sequentially, a decade at a time, within a long-term framework. A good analogy is the GATT, which produced 50 years of trade liberalisation, the specifics of which the original signers could only have guessed.


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