Environment & Climate Change

28 Items

Emissions from coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H.

AP

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

The United States and the Paris Agreement: A Pivotal Moment

| April 2017

The authors break down the reasons for the United States to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement, arguing that the benefits far outweigh any potential costs. The Agreement gives the United States a seat at the table, and the ability to influence international policy on climate change, showing that the United States is open and willing to cooperate.

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.

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Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Carbon Sequestration in the U.S. National Parks: A Value Beyond Visitation—Summary

| September 2015

Plants draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, sequestering the carbon in biomass and thus helping to mitigate climate change. This mitigation has an economic value commensurate with reduced damages from climate change. However, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) has not calculated the carbon-sequestration benefits provided by the 84 million acres of land it manages, even though 85% of this land is vegetated.

The NPS has a dual mission—to foster both tourism ("visitation" to those researching this topic) and land stewardship. Measuring the value of carbon sequestration would complement ongoing attempts to measure the economic value of tourism by providing an initial estimate of the economic importance of one component of the NPS's stewardship obligations.

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Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

The Optimal Energy Mix in Power Generation and the Contribution from Natural Gas in Reducing Carbon Emissions to 2030 and Beyond—Summary

    Authors:
  • Carlo Carraro
  • Massimo Tavoni
  • Thomas Longden
  • Giacomo Marangoni
| June 2015

This paper analyses a set of new scenarios for energy markets in Europe to evaluate the consistency of economic incentives and climate objectives. It focuses in particular on the role of natural gas across a range of climate policy scenarios (including the Copenhagen Pledges and the EU Roadmap) to identify whether current trend and policies are leading to an economically efficient and, at the same time, climate friendly, energy mix.

The world's first full-scale floating wind turbine, assembled in the Åmøy Fjord near Stavanger, Norway. Norway made the most ambitious pledge for voluntary carbon cuts through 2020.

Lars Christopher

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

A Pre-Lima Scorecard for Evaluating which Countries are Doing Their Fair Share in Pledged Carbon Cuts

| November 2014

The authors explore a novel approach to evaluating the ambition and fairness of countries' voluntary pledges to reduce emissions. This approach could facilitate negotiations at the upcoming UN climate conference in Lima—and the broader process leading to a new 2015 international climate agreement.

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

The Role of Forests in a Future Climate Agreement

    Author:
  • Donna Lee
| April 2013

Forests can play a significant role in helping to avoid dangerous climate change, and a global agreement under the UNFCCC would be uniquely placed to support efforts in this regard. The rising global demand for agricultural and other land-based products means that pressures on land are increasingly cross-border, and there is an accelerating expansion of the deforestation frontier. Smart domestic policies are critical to solving the deforestation challenge, and recent private sector interest in "sustainable agriculture" is encouraging. However, global agreements that value standing forests and provide incentives that positively impact land use change decisions can be an equally important tool.

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.

The United Kingdom's Chris Huhne, then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, speaks at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's 17th Conference of the Parties in Durban, South Africa, Dec 8, 2011.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

The Durban Platform Negotiations: Goals and Options

    Author:
  • Daniel Bodansky
| July 2012

In December 2011, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which launched a new round of negotiations aimed at developing "a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force" for the post-2020 period. The Durban Platform negotiations got underway this year and are scheduled to conclude in 2015. This Viewpoint analyzes the elements of the Durban Platform and the possible role that a new instrument might play.

California Air Resources Board voting to adopt sweeping clean air regulations in Sacramento, Dec. 16, 2010. The new rules set up the nation's most extensive carbon trading market that will provide a financial incentive to cut emissions.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - UNEP Risoe Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development

The National Context of U.S. State Policies for a Global Commons Problem

| November 2011

In this policy brief, Harvard Project Director Robert Stavins focuses on how subnational policies will interact with a federal climate policy. It turns out that some of the interactions will be problematic, others will be benign, and still others could be positive. He also examines the role that could be played by subnational policies in the absence of a meaningful federal policy, with the conclusion that—like it or not—we may find that Sacramento, California comes to take the place of Washington as the center of national climate policy. This case study might provide insight for COP 17 delegates in designing the next steps toward a flexible international agreement.