News - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

HPCA Director Robert Stavins Shares Thoughts on Carbon Pricing Regimes in COP-27 Side Event

  • Doug Gavel
| Nov. 21, 2022

China and the United States are back on a productive track to adopt more cooperative approaches on global climate change. Those were the sentiments expressed by HPCA Director Robert Stavins on Wednesday (November 16) during a side event focusing on the China National Climate Change Assessment Report at COP-27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. 

Stavins was among a group of panelists who discussed the efficacy of China’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and on the new bilateral cooperative stance announced on Monday by President Biden and Chinese President Xi. Cooperation on climate change, Stavins remarked, might be the most significant development that has taken place this week, and could pave the way for significant progress on the issue moving forward. 

Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade are two of the mechanisms through which nations and regions can reduce their CO2 emissions aligned with their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) outlined under the Paris Agreement. Stavins focused his remarks on the distinctions between the two mechanisms, saying — based upon his research — that ultimately “the choice between the two is less important than the actual design of the one that we choose to use.” 

Stavins encouraged his fellow panelists and other academics and climate scientists to continue their work on policy design with the goal of creating pragmatic solutions to a very difficult set of challenges. 

“For the longer term, ongoing research…on carbon pricing mechanisms is warrened, particularly if it’s being carried out in the context of real-world politics, designing systems which don’t just look good in the laboratory, but can actually be implemented on the ground,” he said.   

The event was moderated by CHEN Xiaoou, Vice Director General, Department of Social Development Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, P.R. China.


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For Academic Citation: Gavel, Doug. “HPCA Director Robert Stavins Shares Thoughts on Carbon Pricing Regimes in COP-27 Side Event.” News, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, November 21, 2022.

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Robert N. Stavins