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Post-2012 climate policy dilemmas: a review of proposals

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O. Kuik
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Aiming to serve as a basis for debate on how to configure post-2012 climate policy, this article assesses a wide range of alternative proposals for a post-2012 international climate policy regime. The authors characterise and assess the policy proposals along the lines of five key policy dilemmas: how to how to stimulate technical innovation; ways to mainstream climate policies in other policy areas; drawbacks of market-based solutions; the fragmented climate change regime; and how to integrate mitigation with adaptation. The authors discuss that a new period of intense debate about the future of international climate policy has begun. Once the Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005, policy makers started to look towards the end of the first commitment period in 2012 to assess whether national emissions reductions targets will be met. They have also started to look at what will happen post-2012, as building an effective and inclusive post-2012 climate regime, which spreads the burdens evenly  and provides incentives for technological innovation and behavioural change is an enormous challenge. Some of the main conclusions noted in characterising policy options according to the fundamentaldilemmas highlighted include:

a key post-2012 requirement is creating an appropriate architecture for a balanced approach and combining the aims of short-term static efficiency and long-term dynamic efficiency
creating effective issue-linkages between the climate policy arena and other policy arenas has been and will continue to be a key post-2012 requirement
it is difficult to develop new options that rely exclusively on either market forces or regulatory measures - markets and regulations must be viewed as mutually dependent and reinforcing, rather than alternative courses of action
although the existing multilateral system is under pressure, it is expected that there will be stiff competition between the two approaches, and often collaboration. The key is to find ways to accommodate both approaches
many ideas exist for tackling greenhouse gas mitigation, but there are few ideas about tackling the problems of adaptation, or for integrating mitigation and adaptation. At a broad strategic level there is a potential trade-off between mitigation and adaptation, but this is seldom taken up in climate policy proposals.