Daniel Bodansky

Towards an Integrated Multi-Track Climate Framework

Multi-Track Framework Cover

Towards an Integrated Multi-Track Climate Framework

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
December 2007

By:
Daniel Bodansky, University of Georgia School of Law
Elliot Diringer, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Press Release

Introduction

With the approach of 2012, and the expiration of the initial greenhouse gas targets under the KyotoProtocol, governments are grappling with how best to advance the international climate effort in the years beyond. The central challenge is as clear as it is formidable: fashioning an international framework ensuring that all of the world’s major economies contribute equitably and effectively to the global climate effort. 

One way of characterizing the many different proposals put forward by governments, experts, and advocates is in terms of where they fall along a certain continuum: Towards one end are so-called “bottom-up” approaches, which envision the international effort as an aggregation of nationally defined programs put forward by countries on a strictly voluntary basis. At the other end are “top-down” approaches, in which governments negotiate explicit and binding international commitments that in turn shape and drive national policies.1   

This paper suggests a middle course, one that seeks to introduce “bottom-up” flexibility while retaining the cohesion and reciprocity of “top-down.” We call this an integrated multi-track approach.2 In this approach, all major economies enter into commitments aimed at reducing or moderating their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but the type of commitment varies. For example, some countries have binding economy-wide emission targets, as under Kyoto, while others commit to implement national policies such as efficiency standards, renewable energy targets, or measures to reduce deforestation.3 Some, in addition, could participate in sectoral agreements on targets, standards, or other measures addressing emissions from particular sectors.4  

The broad contours of such an approach were outlined in the report of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a group of policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries convened by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.5 In assessing a wide range of post-2012 options, the group concluded that the major economies, given their tremendous diversity, are more apt to engage in the international effort if given latitude to pursue different policy “tracks.” But the dialogue participants also concluded that the collective effort will be stronger if these multiple tracks are brought together in an overarching framework allowing coordination and tradeoffs among countries:  

[A] purely “bottom up” approach might produce only an ad hoc assemblage of disparate initiatives, with little certainty that the overall effort would be sufficiently timely or robust… Expressly linking approaches may allow for a more robust overall effort. In order for governments and for the private sector to undertake and sustain ambitious climate action, they must be confident that their counterparts are contributing their fair share. An integrated agreement could help provide this mutual assurance. By linking and negotiating across tracks, it may be possible to arrive at an arrangement that is at once flexible enough to accommodate different approaches, and reciprocal enough to achieve a higher overall level of effort.6

 

This paper elaborates on the rationale for an integrated multi-track approach; draws lessons from other multilateral regimes, including those addressing international trade and other transboundary environmental challenges; and identifies key issues in designing a multi-track climate framework. It assesses three models: an “individualized commitments” approach, which affords countries the greatest flexibility; a “parallel agreements” approach, which provides more structure and integration; and an “integrated commitments” approach, in which countries agree to negotiate within given tracks towards a comprehensive package agreement.

The paper concludes that of the three, the “integrated commitments” model is the one most likely to produce a collective level of effort sufficient to meeting the challenge of climate change. While still allowing countries the flexibility of different commitment types, this approach encourages stronger reciprocity and effort by establishing some agreement at the outset on commitment types, and to which countries they will apply, and by requiring that all tracks be agreed as one comprehensive package.  

There was consensus among the Pocantico dialogue participants—and there is now consensus among most, if not all, governments—that the appropriate venue for developing the post-2012 climate framework is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). An integrated multi-track post-2012 agreement under the UNFCCC would likely include elements under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and, potentially, under new protocols or other instruments. In the present negotiating context, the key to producing such an agreement is a new mandate for negotiations under the Convention—encompassing or linked to ongoing negotiations under Kyoto—with the aim of a comprehensive package of commitments for all major emitting countries.  

See Notes in full report to view references

 

Dowload the full report (pdf)

Daniel Bodansky
Elliot Diringer
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International Sectoral Agreements in a Post-2012 Climate Framework

International Sectoral Agreements in a Post-2012 Climate Framework

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
May 2007

By:
Daniel Bodansky
University of Georgia, School of Law

In recent years, sectoral approaches have received renewed attention and are among the options proposed for the post-2012 period. In its report, International Climate Efforts Beyond 2012, the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico identified sectoral approaches as one of the potential elements of the future international climate change effort. This paper examines the broader policy and structural questions relating to the development of sectoral approaches at the international level—in particular, sectoral approaches taking the form of inter-governmental agreements.

Press Release

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Related Reading:

Background Note on Sectoral Approaches for a Post-2012 International Climate Framework
March 2008

This background paper helps clarify different types of sectoral approaches under discussion and how they might fit into a post-2012 international climate framework.

Daniel Bodansky
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International Climate Efforts Beyond 2012: A Survey of Approaches

International2012 Report Cover

International Climate Efforts Beyond 2012: A Survey of Approaches

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
November 2004

By:
Daniel Bodansky, University of Georgia School of Law, with contributions from Sophie Chou, Christie Jorge-Tresolini, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Press Release

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Christie Jorge-Tresolini
Daniel Bodansky
Sophie Chou
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Beyond Kyoto: Advancing the International Effort Against Climate Change

Beyond Kyoto Report Cover


Beyond Kyoto: Advancing the International Effort Against Climate Change

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
December 2003

The report is a compilation of six "think pieces" on core issues in developing an effective international response to global climate change. Working drafts of the papers were the focus of workshops in China, Germany, and Mexico. More than 100 people from nearly three dozen developed and developing countries have contributed as authors, reviewers, or workshop participants.

Press Release

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Download the Overview (pdf)

Report Topics and Authors:

A Long-Term Target: Framing the Climate Effort (pdf)
Jonathan Pershing and Fernando Tudela

Climate Commitments: Assessing the Options (pdf)
Daniel Bodansky

Equity and Climate: In Principle and Practice (pdf)
John Ashton and Xueman Wang

Addressing Cost: The Political Economy of Climate Change (pdf)
Joseph E. Aldy, Richard Baron, and Laurence Tubiana

Development and Climate: Engaging Developing Countries (pdf)
Tom Heller and P.R. Shukla

Trade and Climate: Potential Conflict and Synergies (pdf)
Steve Charnovitz

Recent Remarks by Elliot Diringer (June 2004)

Download the Entire Report (ZIP file)

Daniel Bodansky
Elliot Diringer
Fernando Tudela
John Ashton
Jonathan Pershing
Joseph E. Aldy
Laurence Tubiana
P.R. Shukla
Richard Baron
Steve Charnovitz
Thomas C. Heller
Xueman Wang
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Linking U.S. and International Climate Change Strategies

This working paper identifies potential scenarios for the linkage of U.S. and international climate strategies; describes how emerging national and international emissions trading regimes will shape the context within which such linkages could take place; and examines issues that must be considered in the design of a U.S. climate strategy to ensure its compatibility with an international regime.

Among the key findings:

The United States could, as a legal matter, decide to recognize Kyoto permits for purposes of compliance with U.S. emission reduction targets without needing the permission of the Kyoto Protocol parties (for example, via an amendment) and even if the two systems were not fully compatible.

Sales of non-Kyoto emissions permits to the Kyoto system would require an amendment to the Protocol, which parties would be unlikely to consider unless they believed that the U.S. and Kyoto trading systems were generally compatible.

In the long term, the more compatible U.S. and international climate policies are, the easier it will be to achieve convergence both politically and legally. Conversely, given the significant inertia in political and economic systems, the further U.S. and international climate policies travel down divergent roads, the more difficult it will be to bring them back together again in the future.

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by: Daniel Bodansky, University of Washington

Daniel Bodansky
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Implications for U.S. Companies of Kyoto's Entry into Force without the United States

This working paper examines some of the potential implications for U.S. business of the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force – in particular, the effects of the U.S. decision to stay out of the Protocol.

The Bonn and Marrakech meetings adopted generally sound rules regarding the Kyoto mechanisms. However, the implications for U.S. business will depend as much or more on the domestic policies and measures of Annex B parties1 as on the Kyoto rules themselves. The Kyoto rules merely establish the general framework within which national implementation will take place. Although bad Kyoto rules might have precluded efficient implementation of the Protocol, the Bonn and Marrakech rules do not ensure efficiency, since this will depend on the extent to which governments choose to utilize the Kyoto mechanisms to achieve their targets.

The implications of Kyoto for U.S. business will also depend significantly on whether the United States decides as a matter of domestic policy to undertake emission reduction requirements, and the stringency of any such requirements. This paper generally assumes a scenario in which the U.S. does not take significant domestic action to control emissions. In the final section, it considers an alternative scenario involving adoption of strong U.S. domestic measures to reduce emissions.

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by: Daniel Bodansky, University of Washington

Daniel Bodansky
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