Skip to main content

Beyond Copenhagen: a realistic climate policy in a fragmented world


In this paper we argue that the financial provisions of the Copenhagen Accord, if used primarily to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions, could compensate the lack of more energetic action on the domestic mitigation side. In order to maximize the mitigation potential, the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund (CGCF) should be transformed into the International Bank for Emissions Allowance Acquisition (IBEAA) envisaged by Bradford (2008). We estimate that 50 percent of the CGCF in 2020 (50 US billions) could finance from 2.1 to 3.3 Gt CO2-eq emission reductions, depending on the domestic mitigation effort of Annex I and Non-Annex I countries. We construct a matrix that shows the level of GHGs emissions in 2020 under all possible combinations of abatement pledges and international mitigation financing, thus highlighting a rich set of options to reach the same level of GHGs emissions in 2020.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Bosello F, Carraro C, De Cian E (2009) Climate policy and the optimal balance between mitigation, adaptation and unavoided damage. Climate Change Economics 1(2):71–92

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bosetti V, Carraro C, Galeotti M, Massetti E, Tavoni M (2006) WITCH: a World Induced Technical Change Hybrid Model. The energy journal, special issue on hybrid modelling of energy-environment policies: reconciling bottom-up and top-down, pp 13–38

  3. Bosetti V, Massetti E, Tavoni M (2007) The WITCH model: structure, baseline and solutions. FEEM Note di Lavoro No. 010.2007

  4. Bosetti V, De Cian E, Sgobbi A, Tavoni M (2009) The 2008 WITCH model: new model features and baseline. FEEM Note di Lavoro No. 085.2009

  5. Bosquet B, Pagiola S, Aquino A (2010) Preparing for REDD: the forest carbon partnership facility. In: Bosetti V, Lubowski R (eds) Deforestation and climate change—reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bradford DF (2008) Improving on Kyoto: greenhouse gas control as the purchase of a global public good. In: Guesnerie R, Tulkens H (eds) The design of climate policy. MIT, Cambridge, pp 13–36

    Google Scholar 

  7. Carraro C, Massetti E (2009) The improbable 2°C target. Published 3 Sept 2009

  8. Carraro C, Massetti E (2011) Energy and climate change in China. FEEM Note di Lavoro No. 016.2011

  9. Carraro C, Tavoni M (2010) Looking ahead from Copenhagen: how challenging is the Chinese carbon intensity target? Published 5 Jan 2010

  10. Clarke L, Edmonds J, Krey V, Richels R, Rose S, Tavoni M (2009) International climate policy architectures: overview of the EMF22 international scenarios. Energy Econ 31(2):64–81

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Dellink R, Briner G, Clapp C (2010) Costs, revenues, and effectiveness of the copenhagen accord emission pledges for 2020. OECD Environment Working Papers, No. 22, OECD Publishing

  12. den Elzen MGJ, Hof AF, Mendoza Beltran MA, Roelfsema M, van Ruijven BJ, van Vliet J, van Vuuren DP, Hohne N, Moltmann S (2010) Evaluation of the copenhagen accord: changes and risks for the 2°C climate goal. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). PBL publication number 500114018 Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

  13. Doniger D (2009) The copenhagen accord: a big step forward, NRDC Climate Center. Accessed 21 Dec 2009

  14. Eliasch J (2008) Climate change: financing global forests. Office of Climate Change, London

    Google Scholar 

  15. Grubb M (2010) Copenhagen: back to the future? Clim Pol 10:127–130

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gusti M, Havlik P, Obersteiner M (2008) Technical description of the IIASA model cluster. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

  17. Höhne N, Schaeffer M, Chen C, Hare B, Eisbrenner K, Hagemann M, Ellermann C (2010) Copenhagen climate deal – how to close the gap? Climate Analytics Briefing Paper. Accessed 15 Dec 2009

  18. Houser T (2010) Copenhagen, the accord, and the way forward. Peterson Institute for International Economics, Policy Brief No. PB10-5. Accessed Mar 2010

  19. IEA (2009) CO2 Emissions from fuel combustion—emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC, FS6 Vol 2009 release 01. International Energy Agency, Paris

  20. IPCC, Chapter 3 Table 3.10 (2007) Climate change 2007: mitigation. Contribution of working group III to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Bert Metz, Ogunlade Davidson, Peter Bosch, Rutu Dave, Leo Meyer, Cambridge University Press

  21. Lowe JA, Gohar LK, Huntingford C, Good P, Bernie D, Pardaens A, Warren R, Raper SCB (2010) Are the emission pledges in the Copenhagen accord compatible with a global aspiration to avoid more than 2°C of global warming? A Technical Note from the AVOID Programme. Accessed Mar 2010

  22. Massetti E (2011) A tale of two countries: emissions scenarios for China and India. FEEM Note di Lavoro No. 24.2011

  23. NRC (2011) Climate stabilization targets: emissions, concentrations, and impacts over decades to millennia. Committee on stabilization targets for atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC

  24. Stavins R (2009) What hath Copenhagen wrought? A preliminary assessment of the Copenhagen Accord. Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Accessed 20 Dec 2009

  25. Stern N, Taylor C (2010) What do the Appendices to the Copenhagen Accord tell us about global greenhouse gas emissions and the prospects for avoiding a rise in global average temperature of more than 2°C? Policy paper, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Accessed Mar 2010

  26. Tavoni M, Tol RSJ (2010) Counting only the hits? The risk of underestimating the costs of stringent climate policy. Clim Change 100:769–778

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Tavoni M, Chakravarty S, Socolow R (2010) Safe vs. fair: a formidable trade-off in tackling climate change. Princeton Environmental Institute, mimeo, Princeton University

    Google Scholar 

  28. Tol RSJ (2010) Long live the Kyoto Protocol. Accessed 23 Jan 2010

  29. Tol RSJ, Rehdanz K (2008) A no cap but trade proposal for emission targets. Clim Pol 8(3):293–304

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. UNEP (2010) The emissions gap report - are the Copenhagen Accord pledges sufficient to limit global warming to 2°C or 1.5°C? A preliminary assessment. United Nations Environment Programme, November 2010

  31. van Vuuren DP, Hof A, den Elzen MGJ (2009) Meeting the 2°C target. From climate objective to emission reduction measures. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). PBL publication number 500114012 Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Emanuele Massetti.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Carraro, C., Massetti, E. Beyond Copenhagen: a realistic climate policy in a fragmented world. Climatic Change 110, 523–542 (2012).

Download citation


  • Emission Reduction
  • Climate Policy
  • International Energy Agency
  • Mitigation Potential
  • Energy Information Administration