Preparing the design of robust climate policy architecturesPreparing the design of robust climate policy architectures
Faculty of Applied Economics
International environmental agreements: politics, law and economics. -
11(2010):4, p. 275-295
University of Antwerp
The design of climate policy architectures depends on how its multiple designers identify the climate problem, on the principles they adhere to, and on the criteria they apply for assessing the performance of the constructed agreements. This article presents five core features of the climate policy problem, five principles demanding respect when designing policy, and a particular specification of the four general criteria: efficacy, efficiency, equity, and institutional feasibility. The central policy problem of climate change is the phasing out of non-sustainable energy use by orchestrating trillions of decisions by billions of people. Principles like universality, realism, and transparency are important, but when balancing a global agreement, taking into account diversity and sovereignty are outstanding. For addressing the climate change challenges, the equity criterion should be taken more seriously by the negotiating countries than at present. In a diverse world, equity conflicts are likely to be further exacerbated by attempts to impose uniform approaches like global carbon trading or a harmonized global carbon tax rate. The uniform approaches, lauded by economists and policy makers as superior, are also criticized here as not being so effective and efficient as pretended.