Connecting countries to climate technology solutions
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Russian Spanish Yoruba

Climate policy beyond 2012: a survey of long-term targets and future frameworks

Publication date:
T. Asbjørn
Type of publication:
Cross-sectoral enabler:
Relevant for:

This report is based on a literature review of key issues associated with long-term goals for climate policy, and to the framework for implementing climate policy. The study provides a basis for working with global climate policy after 2012, whether the Kyoto Protocol enters into force or not.The main challenges identified areto achieve broader participation in future climate agreements than has been the case with the Kyoto Protocol, especially with respect to the USA and developing countriesto achieve deep emissions reductions to prevent human-induced climate change from getting out of control. The discussion of climate goals is divided into: the advantages and challenges presented by longterm climate goalgoals connected to the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmospheregoals connected to the impacts of climate changethe issue of setting short term emissions targets as a step in meeting longer term goals.The discussion of implementing climate policy is divided into:architecture of future climate policydifferent types of national commitments under a global agreementdifferentiation of national emissions reductions targets.The major conclusions of this survey are summarised in six points:A flexible approach is needed to ensure broad participation and significant emission reductions. The flexibility could be along four dimensions: choice of commitment type(s)methods of differentiating across countriestiming with regard to when certain groups (foremost poor countries) take on commitments inclusion of substances that indirectly affect climate.Progress in negotiations will be best served by more focus on moving in the right long-term direction in order to keep future options open than on meeting specific short-term global emission caps.Mitigation costs and participation attractiveness should be given sufficient attention when evaluating different emission paths meeting the same temperature increase ceiling.Concentration and temperature targets are a better choice than impacts-based targets. However, better information on the distribution in time and space of impacts given a climate change scenario is a valuable input to decisions on emission, concentrations and temperature based targets.A coalition of most willing nations could be an interesting supplement to a global UN based process (building on UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol), and in particular if the Kyoto Protocol should fail. Some type of international coordination of climate policy is required because of both cost effectiveness concerns (to employ flexibility mechanisms) and attractiveness for broad participation. Increased cost-effectiveness could make more ambitious policies attainable. Nations’ willingness and efforts to manage the climate system given its nature as a global common property resource will be conditional on the efforts by other nations.[Adapted from author]