Challenges to International Climate Policy - Lessons Learned and Alternatives

By Isabella Ruble and Leila Dagher.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The atmosphere represents a global commons and containing global warming can be considered an international public good. There is now increasing consensus that in order to avoid high risks of climate change the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere should not exceed the 500ppm CO2e by 2050. To reach the desired target a strong international effort with binding emission caps for major polluting countries is required. The success of any post-Kyoto agreement at mitigating global warming stands or falls with the participation of developing countries, of which China and India are among the top five emitters in the world. Underlying the difficulty of reaching a comprehensive agreement are two basic issues pertaining to the public good nature of the atmosphere. First, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is costly while benefits are shared universally; this gives nations an incentive to free ride. Second, there are large differences in past, current and projected future emissions. Independent of its particular shape, a post-Kyoto agreement will likely have an emissions trading system as its centerpiece. In this paper we present, based on the experiences with the Kyoto Protocol and the EU-ETS the challenges to be overcome when designing a global carbon market. The economic theories of public choice and of regulation will be used to shed light on the importance of design features when developing the blueprint for such global carbon market. Looking at the divergent positions taken by developed and developing countries we argue in favor of decentralized measures.

Keywords: Post 2012 – Climate Policy, EU-ETS, Global Carbon Market, National Allocation Plans, Public Choice, Renewable Energy

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.87-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 747.463KB).

Dr. Isabella Ruble

Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon

Isabella Ruble received her Ph.D. from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, USA. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Economics, in the Department of Economics at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. Her major fields of interest are at the nexus of Public Finance, Environmental Economics and Energy Economics. Her research and publications include papers relating to environmentally related taxation in the European Union, the Clean Development Mechanism in Egypt, the challenges for CO₂ mitigation in the Lebanese electric power sector as well as the challenges for a post-Kyoto agreement.

Dr. Leila Dagher

Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon

Leila Dagher received her PhD in Mineral Economics from the Colorado School of Mines. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Economics department of the American University of Beirut. Her research interests are mainly in energy and environmental economics with a special focus on energy markets and their contribution to climate change. Dr. Dagher has published several technical reports during her work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and has a recent publication in Energy Policy entitled “Challenges for CO₂ mitigation in the Lebanese electric power sector”. She is currently working on a UNFCCC funded project aimed at assessing financing needs required to address mitigation and adaptation measures in selected key sectors in Lebanon.


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