Skip to Content

Attractiveness Pre-Requisites for a Reinterpreted Kyoto

The “Attractiveness Pre-Requisites for a Reinterpreted Kyoto” Project is aimed at assessing climate policy coordination systems based on their ability to draw in developing countries, with a view toward establishing an international climate regime for the post-2012 period.

Working from the limits of the cap-and-trade system as defined by the Kyoto Protocol and which have already been defined and described in full in the previous GICC project “Climate and Development: Reconciling Environmental Constraints with National Development Policies in Developing Countries” (ADEME Agreement 0409C0024), we will consider here an alternative assumption to a reinterpreted Kyoto, specifically a common coordination structure in terms of quantity, yet one that does not assume that such a structure should necessarily give rise, in the immediate future, to a global carbon market encompassing from the outset all gases, sectors, economic players and governments, and based on legally-binding objectives. The project is designed to explore the potential that this Protocol offers in order to enable better adaptation to the heterogeneities and uncertainties of the real world. Toward this end, some of the main avenues being explored are:

  • more varied types of commitments: binding objectives versus non-binding commitments, absolute versus relative objectives, global versus sector-specific commitments, the benefits or lack of benefits of upper price thresholds. One important point in this respect will be to consider what compensation will be needed to secure the commitment of developing countries, not impinging upon carbon credit exchange surpluses: reform of aid systems, technology transfer, or even a specific net emission control mechanism (sequestering, for instance), though these will nonetheless be needed in order to reach an agreement.
  • the viability of developing systems incorporated into a single architecture, whether in terms of standards, regional sector-specific cooperation (see Asian agreement), regional agreements, voluntary commitments on certain sectors and differentiated carbon market systems, if necessary.
  • the ties between the climate issue and others in prominent view: even though renegotiations on the post-2012 regime will take place within the Climate Convention, no signing Party, in particular amongst the developing countries or the USA will assess the results without taking into account the more general international regulation environment. This was, in essence, the message of the July 2005 G8 Declaration, which explicitly ties climate change prevention in with energy security and anti-poverty efforts. What the literature referred to until now as “issue linkage” is actually more fundamental in nature than the expression might let on: at stake here is the variety of reference scenarios on the basis of which the benefits of adopting the tools and systems specific to the Climate Convention will be assessed by each Party.

Building from the economic and political obstacles identified, which threaten the Kyoto Protocol’s (KP) attractiveness factor, this work is aimed at delineating the amendments and supplements it would need to form a credible alternative to “fragmented regime” approaches. Considering the wide range of issues covered by this project, the work hereunder has been designed around research operations (RO):

RO 1: Establishing regulation scenarios and summarising processes and procedures for PK 2012

RO 2: Interconnecting national policies and international regimes

RO 3: Competitiveness issues in the event of asymmetric carbon constraints

RO 4: Incentives for Developing Countries

RO 5: Sequestering as a prevention variable

RO 6: Political cultures and acceptability of Kyoto 2012 regimes

RO 7: Managing heterogeneity and environmental performance: fragmented regimes versus reinterpreted Kyoto

  • Climate Policy and International Climate Negotiations