|Among the common themes highlighted
in the reports overview chapter:
* While the climate challenge is ultimately one of mobilizing
technology, it is in the first instance one of mustering political
will, and some approaches to international action can better
assist in that than others.
* Scientific and economic uncertainty is not a justification
for inaction, but rather an
additional rationale for acting now.
* While climate change is a common challenge, countries will
engage in collective action only if they perceive it to be in
their interest. A multilateral approach must therefore recognize
domestic concerns such as development and competitiveness.
* Bridging diverse national interests requires new mitigation
strategies and a flexible architecture that can accommodate
different types of commitments for different countries.
* Engaging actors beyond the climate circle is essential, both
to build domestic support
for action and to extend the climate effort into non-climate
forums such as trade and development.
An effective international
response to global climate change requires a more flexible approach
so that countries can take on different types of commitments best
suited to their domestic circumstances, says a report released in
early December 2003 by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
The report, Beyond Kyoto: Advancing the International Effort Against
Global Climate Change, is a compilation of six think pieces
examining core issues in negotiating an effective long-term climate
agreement. Topics include equity, cost, development, trade, commitments
and a long-term climate target.
We are at a critical stage in the international climate effort.
Kyotos entry into force would be a major achievement, but
only a start. On the other hand, if Kyoto doesnt get off the
ground, the international community must begin thinking right away
about the alternatives, said Pew Center president Eileen Claussen.
Either way, with or without Kyoto, we face the same challenge:
engaging all the worlds major emittersincluding the
United States and the major developing countriesin a long-term
effort that fairly and effectively mobilizes the resources and technology
needed to protect the global climate. This new Pew Center report
speaks to that challenge.
The 170-page report was prepared by a dozen authors, most former
climate negotiators, from developed and developing countries. Working
drafts of the papers were broadly circulated earlier last year for
review and comment and were the focus of international workshops
convened by the Pew Center in China, Germany and Mexico. In all,
more than 100 officials, experts and stakeholders from nearly three
dozen countries contributed as authors, reviewers or workshop participants.
Papers explore critical issues in the climate negotiations and a
range of options for addressing them, but do not advocate specific
approaches. Our aim at this stage is to facilitate constructive
thinking and dialogue. So the report does not offer definitive conclusions
or recommendations. But common themes emerge from the papers and
the workshops and we believe these are well worth considering as
we move toward the next stage of climate diplomacy, said Claussen.
One of the strongest themes to emerge in the papers and in
our discussions is the need for greater flexibility so countries
can take on the types of commitments best suited to their domestic
circumstances, she added. The challenge is providing
that flexibility while at the same time ensuring that national efforts
are equitable and that the overall effort is sufficient.
The six think pieces explore the following issues:
* A Long-Term Target: Framing the Climate Effort by
Jonathan Pershing and Fernando Tudela examines the benefits and
difficulties of establishing a more concrete long-term goal to guide
and motivate climate action in the near- and medium-term. It argues
that a host of uncertainties make the negotiation of a greenhouse
gas concentration target extraordinarily difficult and that alternativessuch
as an activity-based target or a non-binding hedging
strategymay be more practical.
* Climate Commitments: Assessing the Options by Daniel
Bodansky identifies the key variables in designing mitigation commitments,
offers criteria for evaluating different approaches, and discusses
the merits of several leading alternatives. It argues that the wide
variance in national circumstances makes a unitary approach impractical
and unlikely, and that future efforts might need to allow for multiple
* Equity and Climate: In Principle and Practice by John
Ashton and Xueman Wang explores the fundamental equity concerns
that suffuse the climate debate and the challenges in arriving at
a fair outcome. It argues that no single equity perspective or formula
can be a basis for agreement, and that the goal instead must be
a political package that achieves a rough qualitative balancing
of competing equity claims. The authors suggest a set of outcomes
that together could meet that test.
* Addressing Cost: The Political Economy of Climate Change
by Joseph E. Aldy, Richard Baron and Laurence Tubiana examines the
challenges of managing cost in future mitigation efforts. It identifies
three critical cost dimensions that present themselves in negotiationsaggregate
cost, relative cost and cost certaintyand assesses how effectively
alternative mitigation approaches address each.
* Development and Climate: Engaging Developing Countries
by Thomas C. Heller and P.R. Shukla explores how future climate
efforts can help integrate climate concerns with the core development
priorities of developing countries. It argues for a fundamental
reorientation of climate policy to focus less on emission outputs
and more on the underlying activities or inputs that
* Trade and Climate: Potential Conflicts and Synergies
by Steve Charnovitz explores potential interactions between the
international trade regime and climate policies at both the national
and international levels. It identifies potential conflicts between
the goals of climate protection and trade liberalization, possible
measures to avert such conflicts, and ways the trade and climate
regimes can be mutually supportive.
The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable
Trusts, and is an independent, non-profit and non-partisan organization
dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers and
innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change.
The full text of the Beyond Kyoto report is available
on its Web site: www.pewclimate.org.