Asia & the Pacific

14 Items

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

Climate Realities

| September 21, 2014

"...[C]limate change is essentially unobservable by the public. On a daily basis, we observe the weather, not the climate. This makes it less likely that public opinion will force action the way it did 50 years ago when black smoke rose from industrial smokestacks, and chemicals and raw sewage were dumped untreated into rivers, famously causing one to catch fire."

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Sustainable Cooperation in Global Climate Policy: Specific Formulas and Emission Targets to Build on Copenhagen and Cancun

| September 2011

In pursuit of a workable successor to the Kyoto Protocol, this study offers a framework of formulas that produces precise numerical targets for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, in all regions of the world in all decades of this century....Firms, consumers, and researchers base their current decisions to invest in plant and equipment, consumer durables, or new technological possibilities on the expected future price of carbon: If government commitments are not credible from the start, then they will not raise the expected future carbon price.

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Quarterly Journal: International Security

Belfer Center Newsletter Spring 2011

| Spring 2011

The Spring 2011 issue of the Belfer Center newsletter features recent and upcoming activities, research, and analysis by members of the Center community on critical global issues. This issue highlights the Belfer Center’s continuing efforts to build bridges between the United States and Russia to prevent nuclear catastrophe – an effort that began in the 1950s. This issue also features three new books by Center faculty that sharpen global debate on critical issues: God’s Century, by Monica Duffy Toft, The New Harvest by Calestous Juma, and The Future of Power, by Joseph S. Nye.

A man looks at an exhibit on climate change during the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Dec. 1, 2010. The host nation has called the U.S. pledge to cut GHG emissions "modest," while praising other nonbinding offers made by India and China.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Christian Science Monitor

Why Cancun Trumped Copenhagen: Warmer Relations on Rising Temperatures

| December 20, 2010

The climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico, didn't solve all the world's climate problems. But they were hugely successful. Through the Cancun Agreements, 194 countries reached landmark consensus (even the US and China) to set emissions targets and limit global temperature increases.

Leadership of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change prepare to announce the Cancun Agreements at the COP16 CMP6 Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico.

UN Climate Talks Photo

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

What Happened (and Why): An Assessment of the Cancun Agreements

| Dec. 13, 2010

The international climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, have concluded, and despite the gloom-and-doom predictions that dominated the weeks and months leading up to Cancun, the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) must be judged a success.  It represents a set of modest steps forward.  Nothing more should be expected from this process.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, center, upon his arrival in Bangalore, India, Dec. 4, 2010. Sarkozy arrived on a 4-day visit to sign agreements to set up nuclear power plants in India and jointly develop satellites to study climate change.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Towards a Breakthrough for Deadlocked Climate Change Negotiations

    Author:
  • Akihiro Sawa
| December 2010

With regard to developing a new international framework, developed countries should acknowledge how grave the consequences would be to easily give in to a Kyoto extension. Merely extending the Kyoto Protocol would surely delay mitigation actions on the part of developing countries and discourage the U.S. from making serious efforts to reduce its large energy consumption. In other words, no country should end up being a "climate-killer" in its attempts to avoid being called a "Kyoto-killer."

Mexican President Felipe Calderon delivers his speech on "Preserving Our Common Heritage: Promoting a Fair Agreement on Climate Change" during a lecture at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 2, 2010.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Institutions for International Climate Governance

    Author:
  • Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
| November 2010

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has significant advantages but also real challenges as a venue for international negotiations on climate change policy. In the wake of the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen, December 2009, it is important to reflect on institutional options going forward for negotiating and implementing climate change policy.

Sept. 1, 2010:  A coal-fired power plant emits smoke during the night in Changchun, China. Widely seen as an obstacle in the Copenhagen climate summit, China spent $34.6 billion on clean energy in 2009, nearly double the U.S. investment.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

The International Climate Change Regime: The Road from Copenhagen

    Author:
  • Daniel Bodansky
| October 2010

"...[T]he Copenhagen Accord is "only" a political agreement, so it does not provide sufficient assurance that countries will take action. But how much difference does it make that the Copenhagen Accord is a political rather than a legal agreement? Obviously, political agreements do not require domestic ratification, so they provide a weaker signal of domestic commitment. But the legal versus non-legal form of an instrument makes less of a difference in other respects, such as judicial enforcement, since even when an agreement is legally-binding, there are relatively few opportunities for adjudication either internationally or domestically. And evidence from other regimes suggests that states often take non-binding agreements quite seriously and make significant efforts to implement them."

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Beyond Copenhagen: Reconciling International Fairness, Economic Development, and Climate Protection

| October 2010

This paper proposes a new architecture for international climate policy that might usefully be considered by delegates at COP 17 in Durban. It highlights a top-down approach that is designed to produce a fair distribution of burdens across countries, while achieving objectives of: (a) economic development; (b) decreasing wealth inequality; and (c) emission reductions consistent with holding the expected increase in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius. In addition, this discussion paper discusses several key design elements that will be important, especially from the perspective of developing countries, to the success of COP 17 and subsequent international climate negotiations. These design elements include agreements on burden sharing, choice of policy instruments, financial mechanisms and technology transfer, penalties for noncompliance, and linkages between trade and climate change.

Australian PM John Howard opened the Asia-Pacific climate meeting, Jan.12, 2006, in Sydney, Australia. Ministers from Australia, the U.S., China, India, Korea, and Japan met to discuss the Asia-Pacific climate pact.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Climate Policy

Sectoral Approaches for a Post-2012 Climate Regime: A Taxonomy

| 2009

Sectoral approaches have been gaining currency in the international climate debate as a possible remedy to the shortfalls of the Kyoto Protocol. Proponents argue that a sector-based architecture can more easily invite the participation of developing countries, address competitiveness issues, and enable immediate emissions reductions. However, given the numerous proposals, much confusion remains as to what sectoral approaches actually are. This article provides a simple, yet comprehensive, taxonomy of the various proposals for sectoral approaches.