Assessment on global climate treaty

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Assessment on a global climate protocol


Research question

What is a good global climate agreement such that

  • leads to a necessary greenhouse gas emission reductions that stabilise the global temperature change to a societally acceptable level,
  • is fair among different countries, industries, and individuals in terms of
    • burden of costs of implementation,
    • the requirements to reduce emissions,
    • the compensation of impacts of climate change,
  • includes a funding scheme that produces all the funding required to implement the necessary actions,
  • can be implemented effectively even if some countries are unwilling to participate,
  • opting-out from the agreement is not beneficial to countries,
  • does not cause major adverse side effects in ecology, health, economy, or other sector?


  • Spatial: the whole world.
  • Temporal: 2009-2100 (agreement is put in force in 2013).
  • Sectors: all sectors that are sources or sinks of greenhouse gases.


Decision variables

  • General decisions about the agreement
    • The long-term target temperature compared with the pre-industrial temperature (over 2 °C, 2, below 2, 0.8 (current situation), 0 (pre-industrial situation).
    • Funding scheme for implementinc costs
    • Economic incentives to discourage greenhouse gas emissions
      • Implementing carbon trade
      • Implementing carbon tax
      • Implementing non-fossil fuel GHG taxes (e.g. on methane emissions)
    • Economic incentives to encourage carbon sinks
    • Distribution of the rights to emit (by person, by country, by previous history) This becomes less important if the global net emissions must be zero, then nobody has a right to emit. But it is true that it affects the amount of compensation from a polluter to a sink owner.

The wish for clarity is expressed by Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in an interview with Environment & Energy Publishing (E&E). According to Yvo de Boer, the four essentials calling for an international agreement in Copenhagen are[1]:

  1. How much are the industrialized countries willing to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases?
  2. How much are major developing countries such as China and India willing to do to limit the growth of their emissions?
  3. How is the help needed by developing countries to engage in reducing their emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change going to be financed?
  4. How is that money going to be managed?

  • Country-specific decision about participation or not

Other variables

  • Greenhouse gas emissions in the world
  • Global mean temperature in the world
  • Greenhouse gas sinks in the world


See also