Climate Treaties and the Imperative of Enforcement
Posted: 7 Nov 2008
Date Written: Summer 2008
The emission limits in the Kyoto Protocol are too generous. Simply tightening these limits, however, will not make a new climate treaty any more effective at addressing climate change unless the other problems with Kyoto are also addressed. A new climate treaty arrangement must enforce both participation and compliance. This might be done by applying an enforcement mechanism, such as a trade restriction, to a new treaty styled after Kyoto. Potent trade restrictions, however, may lack credibility and legitimacy. An alternative approach recommended here is to break the problem up, with separate (but linked) agreements addressing individual gases and sectors, using the most appropriate means to enforce each component of the system. In bundling together all sectors and greenhouse gases in a single agreement, Kyoto has aimed to achieve cost-effectiveness at the expense of enforcement, which depends on the treaty's weakest enforcement link. The imperative must be to ensure that any future treaty arrangement can be enforced.
Keywords: enforcement, participation, compliance, trade restrictions, Kyoto Protocol, Montreal Protocol, Q54, F51, F53
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