Environment & Climate Change

7 Items

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Treaty Design and Duration: Effects on R&D, Participation, and Compliance

    Author:
  • Bard Harstad
| January 2013

Climate policy is complicated. For a treaty to be beneficial, one must think through carefully how it will work, once it is implemented. Crucial questions include the following: How should an international treaty be designed? Should one negotiate commitments for a five-year period, or for much longer? Assuming that the treaty specifies aggregate or country-specific emission caps, what should these caps be and how should they change over time? How should the agreement be updated once policymakers, scholars, and the public learn more about the severity of the climate-change problem, or about the effects of the policy? Can the treaty be designed to encourage investments in "green" abatement technology or renewable energy sources? Finally, how can one motivate countries to participate and comply with such an agreement?

12th Summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, COMESA, at the United Nations Complex in Nairobi, Kenya, May 22, 2007. Leaders of Africa's largest trade bloc discuss a timetable for creating a 20-state customs union.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, Belfer Center

Africa Can Feed Itself in a Generation

| January 2011

African agriculture is at a crossroads. Persistent food shortages are now being compounded by new threats arising from climate change. But Africa also has three major opportunities that can help transform its agriculture to be a force for economic growth. First, advances in science, technology, and engineering worldwide offer Africa new tools needed to promote sustainable agriculture. Second, efforts to create regional markets will provide new incentives for agricultural production and trade. Third, a new generation of African leaders is helping the continent focus on long-term economic transformation.

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.

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.

Ships anchor near the entrance of the Long Beach Harbor on Aug. 25, 2004. Marine terminal operators at the largest U.S. port revealed a plan to expand their cargo operations into the evening and weekend hours to ease traffic congestion & GHG emissions.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

The São Paulo Proposal for an Improved International Climate Agreement

    Author:
  • Erik Haites
| January 2010

An effective international climate agreement poses formidable challenges. Existing agreements, naturally, have some good features. Further improvements are being discussed in the current negotiations. But the cost and uncertainty associated with regular renegotiation of commitments is not being addressed. The São Paulo Proposal suggests mechanisms that would avoid the need for regular renegotiation of commitments and suggests other ways to make international climate agreements more effective.

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Policy Brief - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

A Sectoral Approach as an Option for a Post-Kyoto Framework—Summary

    Author:
  • Akihiro Sawa
| December 2008

The Kyoto Protocol uses a top-down mechanism to negotiate economy-wide emissions caps. This paper proposes an alternative "sectoral" approach, which would determine industry-level emissions reduction targets based on technological analyses.