A Post-2020 Protocol and Emissions-Trading Framework to Resolve the Climate Change Crisis
This chapter outlines the various elements of a post-Kyoto protocol and the global emissions-trading framework that would accompany it. Built on a modified version of the existing Kyoto architecture and guided by the ecological economic principles of ecological sustainability, distributional equity, and allocative efficiency, the protocol recommended in this chapter includes provisions and reforms pertaining to: (i) the emissions cuts required to achieve a safe atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases; (ii) compliance institutions; (iii) border-tax adjustments; (iv) the treatment of land use, land-use change, and forestry activities; (v) the existing Kyoto flexibility mechanisms; (vi) the transfer of funds from high-GDP to low-GDP nations to assist the latter with their future mitigation and adaptation needs; (vii) the rudiments of a national emissions-trading system; and (viii) how national emissions-trading systems would be linked into a group-level system initially, and a single global system eventually. The chapter continues with a section showing that should countries make the transition to a qualitatively steady-state economy, very few would have difficulty meeting their emissions obligations. For those that might, which are likely to be the world’s poorest nations, they would be singled out and provided with additional financial assistance. The book concludes with the message that dealing with climate change will require greater government intervention in the future. Although it is important for governments to harness the efficiency-yielding benefits of markets, it is equally important for governments to preclude markets from resolving sustainability and distributional issues and exploit their spending and taxation powers, just as governments in high-GDP nations did in the immediate post-World War II period, to shift the global economy on the path required to resolve the climate change crisis.