January 10, 2010

Contrasting Future Paths for an Evolving Global Climate Regime

by Scott Barrett and Michael Toman

- This paper explores two different conceptions of how an emerging climate regime might evolve to strengthen incentives for more vigorous cooperation in mitigating global climate change. One is the paradigm that has figured most prominently in negotiations to this point: the establishment of targets and timetables for countries to limit their aggregate greenhouse gas emissions. The other approach consists of a variety of loosely coordinated smaller scale agreements, each one of which addresses a different aspect of the challenge, and is enforced in its own way. The primary conclusion is that an agreement of the first type may be more cost-effective, but that a system of agreements of the second type would likely sustain more abatement overall.

Barrett, S. and M. Toman (2010). "Contrasting Future Paths for an Evolving Global Climate Regime." World Bank Policy Research working paper no. WPS 5164, Jan 2010.