Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Emissions Reduction Strategies: How to Choose the Right Policy Mix

Policy makers must ensure that the policy mix does not promote conflicting incentives
The types of policies used to reduce carbon emissions will differ over time as some issues emerge as more powerful problems to be addressed, requiring new solutions.  Policies can be national or regional, or require international cooperation: bilateral, multinational or at the global scale.  Climate change mitigation is clearly a global problem, but one which includes national consideration such as energy, transport, land use and manufacturing policy, and as such, domestic and international policies will be needed to provide incentives for mitigation. 

There are many methods and procedures that form a part of policy but are not legally enforced.  Awareness campaigns, education and information dissemination, social movements, awards, and climate action naming and shaming might each enrol people or organisations to take action to reduce emissions.  Other potentially effective ways of reducing carbon emissions without recourse to legally binding policy include voluntary commitments, schemes or agreements, contracts, and, sanctions for failure to comply with agreed targets. 

While these strategies might play a role in the policy mix, I’ll consider just three types of high impact policy, those aimed in particular at reducing emissions from energy use: Imposed standards, market instruments and financial instruments.