Are major economies on track to achieve their pledges for 2020? An assessment of domestic climate and energy policies

Mark Roelfsema, Michel den Elzen, Niklas Höhne, Andries F. Hof, Nadine Braun, Hanna Fekete, Hannes Böttcher, Ruut Brandsma, Julia Larkin
Many of the major greenhouse gas emitting countries have planned and/or implemented domestic mitigation policies, such as carbon taxes, feed-in tariffs, or standards. This study analyses whether the most effective national climate and energy policies are sufficient to stay on track for meeting the emission reduction proposals (pledges) that countries made for 2020. Read More

China starts trading carbon

Christian Ellermann, Constanze Böning
This article explains the nature of the new pilot greenhouse gas emission trading schemes (ETS) in China, as well as the significance of their introduction. By moving towards the allocation of emission rights through market mechanisms, the government is signalling that it is addressing climate change seriously and that it wishes to be compared to Europe and the most progressive regions of North America that have also adopted emissions trading. However, the authors also argue that a transition to a more important role for markets in the area of energy and the environment is still in its very early stages. Read More

Possible Elements of a 2015 Legal Agreement on Climate Change

Erik Haites, Farhana Yamin, Niklas Höhne
The paper proposes a clear process for regularly updating and strengthening national commitments. The climate regime needs to move out of continuous negotiation and into a framework of continuous implementation. The paper proposes no explicit differentiation of countries. Rather countries would propose nationally determined commitments, guided by the multilaterally agreed phase out goal and the international review. This would maximize participation. The Agreement should also include provisions for recognizing the actions of parties unable to ratify and for deterring egregious cases of free-riding. Read More

Regional GHG reduction targets based on effort sharing: a comparison of studies

Niklas Höhne, Michel den Elzen & Donovan Escalante
Over 40 studies that analyse future GHG emissions allowances or reduction targets for different regions based on a wide range of effort-sharing approaches and long-term concentration stabilization levels are compared. This updates previous work undertaken for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Read More

Countries’ contributions to climate change: effect of accounting for all greenhouse gases, recent trends, basic needs and technological progress

Michel G. J. den Elzen, Jos G. J. Olivier, Niklas Höhne, Greet Janssens-Maenhout
In the context of recent discussions at the UN climate negotiations we compared several ways of calculating historical greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and assessed the effect of these different approaches on countries’ relative contributions to cumulative global emissions. Elements not covered before are: (i) including recent historical emissions (2000–2010), (ii) discounting historical emissions to account for technological progress; (iii) deducting emissions for ‘basic needs’; (iv) including projected emissions up to 2020, based on countries’ unconditional reduction proposals for 2020. Our analysis shows that countries’ contributions vary significantly based on the choices made in the calculation Read More