A New Perspective on Climate Policy
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Valentina Bosetti, Carlo Carraro, Emanuele Massetti and Massimo Tavoni
Chapter 1: A Climate-Constrained World
Climate change may harm future generations. According to the latest IPCC report (IPCC, 2007), anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) are among the main causes of climate change, even though uncertainty remains as to their exact relevance in the overall climatic process: thus it is necessary to identify how, when, and where these emissions ought to be controlled in order to avoid dangerous climate changes.1 At the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan, the leading industrialised nations agreed on the objective of at least halving global CO2 emissions by 2050. G8 and Major Economies Forum (MEF)2 leaders reiterated this target in Italy, in July 2010, specifying that richer economies should commit to at least an 80 percent reduction in 2050. These long-term declarations of intents clash with the difficulties the international community has in establishing a global agreement with binding short- and mid-term emission reduction targets. The Conference of the Parties (COP) held in Copenhagen in December 2009 failed to produce a global mandatory regime to cut GHG emissions. A more modest Copenhagen agreement collected non-binding pledges to reduce GHG emissions in 2020, which appear to have a modest effect on future emissions levels (UNEP 2010, Höhne et al., 2012). More relevant was the commitment to devote a substantial amount of resources to finance adaptation and mitigation in developing countries (Carraro and Massetti 2011a). The Copenhagen Pledges and the financial provisions of the Copenhagen accord were incorporated into the UNFCCC legal framework in December 2010, by the COP held in Cancun, Mexico. The COP in Durban in December 2011 made progress in defining important issues related to climate finance, but the parties postponed any decision for the post 2020 climate regime to an ad-hoc group called the Durban Platform, that is in charge of developing a successor to the Kyoto Protocol by 2015. In Doha, in 2012, the parties defined the rules governing the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. Only the European Union and Australia have emission reduction targets from 2013 to 2020 while Canada, Japan and Russia abandoned the treaty.
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