Environment & Climate Change

12 Items

At the 2012 U.N. Climate Change Conference held in Doha, Qatar, Costa Rica's 800-member Coopedota coffee cooperative launched the world's first carbon-neutral certified coffee (Carbon Clear, 2011).

Photo Credit: Coopedota

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Eco-Competitiveness and Eco-Efficiency: Carbon Neutrality in Latin America

    Author:
  • René Castro
| November 2015

Improvements in eco-efficiency—defined as a combination of reducing waste and reducing the use of raw inputs—offer one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also lowering production costs. In addition, changes in culture—at the level of individual businesses, countries, or both—can enhance the eco-competitive position of these businesses and countries. This paper describes three examples from Costa Rica and shows how the goal of achieving carbon neutrality can provide incentives for improving eco-efficiency and eco-competitiveness.

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

A Climate Diplomacy Proposal: Carbon Pricing Consultations

    Authors:
  • Adele Morris
  • Warwick McKibbin
  • Peter Wilcoxen
| February 2013

The United States has considerable tax administration and cap-and-trade expertise that could highlight potentially successful carbon pricing approaches. Although this experience is not climate-related, the United States deploys an efficient and highly compliant excise tax system, and it could assist developing country efforts to build their own capacity to tax carbon. The United States also has long experience with cap-and-trade systems for criteria air pollutants, much of which is transferable to greenhouse-gas emissions trading.

South Africa's Minister of International Relations & Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabaneat at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, July 3, 2011. International delegations met for 2 days to prepare the upcoming UN climate conference in Durban.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Whither the Kyoto Protocol? Durban and Beyond

    Author:
  • Daniel Bodansky
| August 2011

The Kyoto Protocol establishes a very complex and ambitious regime, in architecture if not stringency. The problem is that relatively few states, representing only about a quarter of the world's emissions, have been willing to assume emission targets under Kyoto....The future of the Protocol thus seems doubtful at best. Even in the most optimistic scenario, a new round of emissions targets couldn't be agreed in time to prevent a legal gap between the first and second commitment periods. A possible middle ground would be to establish a transitional regime that would be political in nature, but that could evolve over time into a legally-binding regime.

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."

Cattle graze in front of wind turbines of the Spanish utility Endesa in the Eolico Park, Spain, Aug. 3, 2006.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Toward a Post-2012 International Climate Agreement

    Author:
  • Fulvio Conti
| March 2010

Negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Copenhagen in December 2009 did not produce a new international treaty with binding emissions commitments, but have defined a roadmap for dealing with global climate change in the post-2012 era. As countries continue to pursue new models for global agreement, it will be important to learn from the weaknesses of past approaches, while building on positive aspects of the experience with the Kyoto Protocol so far.

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Climate Finance

    Author:
  • The Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements
| November 2009

The finance of climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries represents a key challenge in the negotiations on a post-2012 international climate agreement. Finance mechanisms are important because stabilizing the climate will require significant emissions reductions in both the developed and the developing worlds, and therefore large-scale investments in energy infrastructure. The current state of climate finance has been criticized for its insufficient scale, relatively low share of private-sector investment, and insufficient institutional framework. This policy brief presents options for improving and expanding climate finance.

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Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Breaking the Climate Impasse with China: A Global Solution—Summary

| November 2009

International climate negotiations are at an impasse because the world's two largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, the United States and China, are unwilling to accept binding emission-reduction commitments. At the same time, each blames the other for its inaction. This paper proposes a global "deal" for breaking the deadlock in a way that reconciles both countries' economic concerns with the imperative of reducing emissions. The deal has two core elements: (1) All major emitting countries agree to reduce GHG emissions by implementing significant, mutually agreeable, domestic policies and (2) The largest industrialized-country emitters agree to establish a global Carbon Mitigation Fund that would finance the incremental cost of adopting low-carbon technologies in developing countries.