A natural outcome of the emerging "pledge and review" approach to international climate change policy is the interest in comparing mitigation efforts among countries. Many will want to know if similar or “peer” countries are undertaking (or planning to undertake) a “comparable” effort in mitigating their greenhouse gas emissions. The speakers at this side event on "Transparency, Policy Surveillance and Levels of Effort" presented a framework for comparing mitigation efforts across nations, drawing from a set of principles for designing and implementing informative metrics. The event was co-organized by FEEM, the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) and Resources for the Future (RFF).
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We are pleased to publish a video of this side event, which was introduced by Raymond Kopp, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Center for Energy and Climate Economics of Resources for the Future.
"We have several research institutions that are participating in this: my own institution, Resources For the Future, the Research Institute for Innovative Technology for the Earth from Japan, Duke Unviersity, Harvard University and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei from Italy, and so again we have a broad range of expertise. I will give a brief overview of some research results, and it is important to recognize that these are very recent research results, as of last night, and we’re still working on them. We do not have a formal paper to provide you at this time, but it will be forthcoming, hopefully, in mid January, but we wanted to give you a taste of the sort of results that we’re generating at this important event here in Paris. So I believe it’s probably safe to say that starting in Copenhagen in 2009, and perhaps earlier with the Bali Road Map, the methods and procedures by which the world is going to collaborate and coordinate on climate change has been altered, and we’re now moving to an old term in the statecraft view which is called “pledge and review”. Rather than taking a fixed carbon budget and allocating across countries we are now allowing parties to the framework convention to come forward and pledge effort on their parts, with the intention that in doing so we will gain more comprehensive inclusion of parties, and hopefully over time the ambition of all those parties will increase. A pledge review, I think, is going to be emanated, identified as the procedure of choice coming out of Paris, and the question is always going to be how effective will "pledge and review" be, going forward over the next several decades in ensuring that we will meet our climate goals. And so it is incumbent upon research institutions, like the ones presented today, which are for the most part economists-based, to try and support that process to the best extent possible. And so the research that we’re going to unveil today is really designed to support "pledge and review" going forward in a couple of different ways. For a pledge review process to be effective, obviously the pledges have to be transparent, that is all parties to the pledge negotiation have to understand what their counterparts, their "peer" nations are pledging in transparent terms. Importantly, also, you have to be able to evaluate the pledge of your "peer" country against your own pledge. If everyone was pledging the exact same thing that would be a trivial task, but the pledges, as we’ll see, as we know, are very complex assemblies of very different policies and it is not an easy straightforward comparison to understand whether the nation sitting across the table from you is pledging a series of activities that in terms of level of effort is equivalent to your own. And so you need to make that assessment in a formal negotiation..."
On the way to Paris: FEEM at the COP21 Climate Conference