What works better - centralised control or bottom-up innovation? This paper explains that unlike global frameworks like the Kyoto protocol, globally "fragmented" climate change mitigation efforts are the only feasible way forward. The paper cites the most important of these efforts to date has been in the area of tradable emissions credits, for which multiple different systems exist.Pragmatic and effective, the strength of a bottom-up approach is its ability to tap stronger national and regional institutions for governance. Global institutions are too weak to monitor and enforce multilateral agreements like Kyoto, and such schemes are also vulnerable to exit when commitments become inconvenient.Progress towards a "disjointed" approach to climate change is needed on three fronts:a suitable framework is required to stitch fragmented efforts into a fuller global approachthe United States must develop a serious response to climate change, as domestic policy lacks incentives to induce firms to reduce carbon consumptiona new strategy is needed to engage developing countries on their own terms rather than through carbon caps and prices. This could be done by assisting industrialising countries like India and China in switching from polluting, coal-fired energy systems to cleaner, gas-based ones.In order to create a coherent overarching institutional framework, the authors advocate a small group of around 20 leaders, picked from both developed and developing nations. This group would coordinate and assemble a package of climate policies, encompassing scientific research, commitments to control emissions, and measures to ensure societal adaptation to climate change. This group would be small enough to make progress on complex issues, yet sufficiently broad to exert leverage on the global situation. The authors concede that a bottom-up process may appear painfully slow and sprawling, but that such an approach is the only way to build credible institutions that are essential for market-based climate change solutions.
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