Policy Briefs | 06 July 2010

Confronting the Crisis of International Climate Policy

Copenhagen failed to produce an agreement on climate change commensurate with the scale of the problem, highlighting the fundamental weaknesses in the existing UN framework. 

Warwick McKibbin , Fergus Green , Greg Picker

  • Warwick McKibbin
  • Fergus Green
  • Greg Picker

Copenhagen failed to produce an agreement on climate change commensurate with the scale of the problem, highlighting the fundamental weaknesses in the existing UN framework. 

Warwick McKibbin , Fergus Green , Greg Picker

  • Warwick McKibbin
  • Fergus Green
  • Greg Picker
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Executive Summary

Progress on a new agreement is agonisingly slow. Weightier commitments by the major emitters are necessary, but calls for ‘greater ambition’ ignore the structural problems embedded in the institutions, processes and policy models of the UN climate regime.

This study proposes an international framework based on carbon prices rather than emissions targets. Under a price-based international framework, countries would undertake to implement specified actions and policies. Those policies should then be converted into an internationally standardised form of economy wide ‘carbon price equivalent’, with each country pledging/negotiating to implement a starting carbon price equivalent policy along with a schedule of real annual price increases.