Climate Treaties and the Imperative of Enforcement

Posted: 7 Nov 2008

See all articles by Scott Barrett

Scott Barrett

Johns Hopkins University - Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Date Written: Summer 2008

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Scott, Climate Treaties and the Imperative of Enforcement (Summer 2008). Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol. 24, Issue 2, pp. 239-258, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1297154 or http://dx.doi.org/grn015

Scott Barrett (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University - Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) ( email )

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Washington, DC 20036
United States
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