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On Design Flaws in the Regime to Control Global Climate Change and Their Consequences


On Design Flaws in the Regime to Control Global Climate Change and Their Consequences Or Why We Need to Start Over Definitions INSTITUTIONS = clusters of norms ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: On Design Flaws in the Regime to Control Global Climate Change and Their Consequences

On Design Flaws in the Regime to Control Global
Climate Change and Their Consequences
  • Or Why We Need to Start Over

  • INSTITUTIONS clusters of norms (standards of
    behavior) that crystallize in particular pattern
    to guide social practices in large areas of human
    social activity, e.g., law, government, religion,
    diplomacy, international commerce, etc.
  • They constitute the rules of the game that create
    complementary expectations about permissible
    behavior in various circumstances. This is the
    glue that holds societies together.
  • May include grants of authority (jurisdiction) to
    prescribe policy in domains of varying scale,
    along with organizations, their stipulated
    decision-making procedures.

Definitions, contd.
  • Regimes one type of institution dealing always
    with governance of human social activities at
    any/all scales, from local to global. Governance
    right to manage scope of authority, type of
    rules, mgmt. approaches, etc.
  • Examples of international regimes international
    air maritime transport, marine fisheries beyond
    national jurisdiction, long-range transport of
    atmospheric pollution (acid rain), etc.

What Goes Around
  • Sept. 1989 beginning project with Norwegians to
    evaluate performance of 15 international
    environmental regimes re design effectiveness
    (Miles et al. 2002). Aim to apply lessons to GCC
    problem. Initial joint consultations with
    Norwegian Min. Envir. at their invitation.
  • Deadline for results Spring 1991. Plan to table
    treaty for signature at Rio summit, June 1992.
    This deadline totally artificial.
  • Informed 2 processes at work national level and
    global (IPCC). 1st workshop scheduled for October
    1989 2nd will be U.S. workshop for IPCC. U.S.
    objective to slow down push for policy focus on
    research, but UNEP setting up small group with
    WMO. Norway says they need a lot of basic ideas
    by Spring 1990.(!!)

Background, contd. 1
  • Nor. Min. Envir. wants to know what should be in
    legal instrument? How phase? What should be left
    out? What changed from usual approaches--Montreal
    Protocol vs more elaborate? But remember The
    more elaborate the attempt, the less the
    productivity of the global level
  • Life is complicated. NME not sharing Brundtland
    (PM) view. Not in favor of rush to regulate by
    treaty. Not sold on GLOBAL treaty dont want to
    repeat UNCLOS III experience. Sees Nor. PM MFA
    as problems, but constrained to support PM
  • ELM Nor. Colleagues say we cant meet their
    deadlines. Just starting project applications to
    GCC regime the 2nd stage.

Reality Check, contd. 2
  • Back in U.S. ELM asked by State Dept. to react to
    Canadian ( Elliott Richardson) push for Law of
    the Atmosphere Conference, similar to recently
    completed UNCLOS III. ELM arguing strongly
  • Reasons GCC problem the ultimate collective
    action problem--rife with Prisoners Dilemma
    situations. This combined with long time scale
    vertical disintegration of policy problems.
    Result is both international system as whole
    treaty negotiation under those conditions
    Pandoras box. Gridlock the most likely outcome.
    Even if able to get outcome eventually, governed
    by Law of the Least Ambitious Program.

Objectives of Parts II III of Study with
  • Expectation that Part I would yield understanding
    of determinants dynamics of achieving
    increasing levels of intl. collaboration
    relative effectiveness of joint action on intl.
    collective goods problems involving large
    ingredients of S T. On that basis, apply
    findings to elaborating combination of
    strategies/incentives to be devised for achieving
    adequate levels of joint action re GCC.
  • Strategies to be derived from two sources
    Axelrod. The Logic of Cooperation, (1984)
    Keohane. Reciprocity in International
    Relations, (1986).

Axelrod (1986)
  • 3 central questions 1. Under what conditions
    will cooperation emerge in a world of egoists w/o
    central authority? 2. What type of strategy can
    thrive in a variegated environment containing
    players using a wide diversity of more or less
    sophisticated strategies? 3. Once a cooperative
    strategy established, how resist invasion by less
    cooperative strategies?
  • Axelrods findings show that two conditions
    necessary sufficient for emergence of
    cooperation in PD situations existence of norm
    of reciprocity (individual perceptions of self
    interest) repetitive interactions between
    players over long time horizons (long shadow of
    the future).

Axelrod. Changing the Strategic Interaction
  • If interaction repetitive, TIT FOR TAT strategy
    most robust, i.e., begin with cooperation then
    respond with whatever the other player did on the
    previous move. Retaliation can take many forms
    defection doesnt always have to be paid back in
    same coin.
  • Strategic setting can be transformed bya).
    making the future more important than present
    through making interactions either more
    durable/and or more frequent b) changing payoffs
    to players such that long-term incentive for
    cooperation becomes greater than short-term
    incentive for defection c). teaching players
    facts, values, skills that will promote
    cooperation, i.e., changing perceptions of self

Keohanes (1986) Test of Axelrod International
Trade Policy in 19th 20th Centuries
  • Reciprocity has two distinct meanings
    situations in which specified partners exchange
    items of equivalent value in a strictly delimited
    sequence, called specific reciprocity
    situations where the definition of equivalence
    is less precise, where ones partners may be
    viewed as a group rather than as particular
    actors, and the sequence of events is less
    narrowly bounded, called diffuse reciprocity,
    e.g., the EU bubble in the Kyoto negotiations.
  • Diffuse reciprocity better fits situations in
    which sequential negotiations will take place
    in the context of extensive interdependence--like
    re GCC.Specific reciprocity not a compelling
    strategy because retaliation for defection
    threatens achievement of collective good, risks
    denunciation by other parties, may increase
    benefits to party responding to defection only
  • Diffuse reciprocity may be more effective in
    situations representing the dilemma of common
    aversions rather than the PD, e.g., Montreal
    Protocol. Objective of former to establish stable
    equilibria rather than worrying about cheating

Miles Caveat re Axelrod Keohane re GCC Case
  • All of these suggestions take on particular
    power when one realizes that the process of
    regulation vis-à-vis the global change problem
    will indeed be cast in the form of iterated games
    where not only is state action contingent upon
    choices made by others, but not acting in a
    timely fashion will also generate its own perils.
    These perils will loom larger as knowledge
    accumulates. The moral responsibility of doing
    something to reduce that peril will be a powerful
    goad to action over time and give room for social
    pressures to be brought to bear. At the same
    time, we recognize that different actors may be
    playing different games and that the problem of
    global climate change is malign. cf. EU vs US.
  • White (1989) The GCC problem a classic dilemma
    of policy formulation involving possibly severe
    but unknown levels of risk of undesirable
    consequences great uncertainty about causes,
    costs, consequences consequences will be
    visited on future generations unevenly.

Miles Anticipation of a Hard Regulation
Approach in 1991
  • Hard regulation may not be politically feasible
    because scope of effort would be too large.
  • Would involve clear global agreement on standard
    or standards of GHG concentrations. This very
    difficult to do given painful cost implications
    for AICs adverse impacts to economies.
  • Negotiation of freely transferable quotas between
    states (emissions trading) within states
    between firms. This very complex undertaking
    will take time.
  • Negotiation of a monitoring/surveillance system
    effective enforcement provisions a dispute
    settlement procedure.
  • All of the above will entail an extremely
    difficult, time-consuming process (gt1-2 decades).
    In interim, few ameliorative actions may be
    taken. Decision process itself would be very
    uncertain (Pandoras Box) the Law of the Least
    Ambitious Program would be dominant.

Additional Problems re Hard Regulation
  • Level of ignorance re GCC problem in all its
    aspects very high.
  • World community faced with combination of high
    complexity great uncertainty re physical
    process and re magnitude timing of impacts.
  • Under those conditions, setting hard targets
    essentially an arbitrary exercise.
  • Need to let research process work its way
    forward, but that need not stop all attempts to

If Hard Global Regulation Not Possible, What Are
the Alternatives?
  • Assess in detail possibility of pursuing soft
    regulation in decentralized fashion as strategy
    for buying time in face of uncertainty.
  • Soft regulation avoiding clear standards,
    precise goals, firm targets. Seek to initiate
    process combining diffuse specific reciprocity
    strategies between OECD members, the USSR now
    Russia, Central Europe avoid coal, China,
    India, eventually the Third World.
  • Begin process in OECD group. Significant
    reductions in emissions would leave room for
    growth for Third World w/o necessity of
    triggering major confrontation in global setting.
    Use carbon tariffs on trade as penalty.
  • Process requires heavy reliance on side payments
    vis-à-vis Russia, China, Third World, in
    addition to epistemic communities building of
    consensual knowledge the IPCC.
  • Design decision process to maximize learning
    potential over time to build confidence
    participants would need for iterative rounds of
    cuts, cf. LRTAP.

Miles Alternatives, contd.
  • As part of preparatory process seek answers to
    following questions
  • On what scale does regulation have to proceed?
    Since group size is an important criterion, what
    can effectively be done on a regional as opposed
    to a global basis?
  • Is it possible to mute the potential North/South
    dimension to conflict by initially focusing most
    regulatory action on the North?
  • What strategies are available for ensuring
    maximum participation with the least potential
    for conflict?
  • How can states most effectively appraise the
    performance of decentralized actions so that they
    can have confidence that the standards are being

  • Proposal presented to Dept. of State, Bureau of
    Intelligence and Research, (External).
  • State (and CIA) initially excited by the ideas.
    Contract moving through process. Then Major
    policy shift in Bush I Administration whole
    initiative killed by Sunnunu in Sept. 1991. See
    Miles, 1999.

Miles Conclusions re Process by 1994
  • Mitigation, i.e., reducing emissions not likely
    to yield significant benefits in short run as
    result of magnitude of required pain law of
    the least ambitious program in international
  • Mitigation likely to yield significant benefits
    only if built into 2X change in lifecycle of
    energy systems in next 100 years.
  • Therefore, an equally important governmental
    response to GCC in short term is planning for
    adaptation to the consequences (impacts) of
    climate change. Two ingredients critical rate of
    change governmental capacity to learn.

Fast-forward to the Present
Dealing with the Consequences of a Failed Initial
Global Approach at Control of GCC
  • What failed? System design in Art. 2, FCCC (see
    next slide) because assumption of linearity in
    generation of impacts false. Earths climate
    system highly nonlinear, consequently probability
    of extreme effects of different levels of GCC
    increases. Larger than expected impacts come
    faster than expected lot of thresholds involved.
    Thresholds amplify rates of change often shift
    systems into new states.
  • Kyoto also failed even before US rejection given
    dynamics of Law of the Least Ambitious Program as
    predicted by Miles evaluated by Bolin ( 1998).
  • Residue of US rejection of Kyoto requiring turn
    around in US policy re GCC to demonstrate
    credibility. But US leadership absolutely
    necessary for a decentralized strategy to work
    plus fact that US accounts for 25 of global

The Framework Convention on Climate Change
(FCCC), Art. 2
  • The ultimate objective of this Convention is to
    achievestabilization of greenhouse gas
    concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that
    would prevent dangerous anthropogenic
    interference with the climate system. Such a
    level should be achieved within a time-frame
    sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally
    to climate change, to ensure that food production
    is not threatened, and to enable economic
    development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
  • Severe problems with this formulation 1.
    Stabilization not the most appropriate objective
    2. No single measure of dangerous interference
    exists 3. Assumptions about time to significant
    impacts false because ignoring internal
    feedbacks, nonlinearities, and thresholds in
    earths climate system.

Technical Implications of Kyoto Protocol
Comments of Prof. Bert Bolin, Chair of IPCC,
Nature,16 Jan. 1998
  • Within basket, increase of CO2 alone accounting
    for 70 of total increase of radiative forcing.
    Not many measures available for decreasing CH4
    Nox. Other components contribute only few to
    radiative forcing.
  • Even with full compliance of Protocol, by 2010
    AICs still contributing 4X CO2 emissions of LDCs.
  • Even with full compliance, accumulated emissions
    of CO2 from 1990 to 2010 140Gt C, implying
    increase in atmospheric concentration by 29ppmv
    to 382ppmv.
  • The Kyoto Conference did not achieve much with
    respect to limiting the buildup of GHG in
  • US (Bush II) rejecting agreement. For Protocol to
    be functional, EU needing Japan Russia to sign
    ratify. Side deal made with Russia re admission
    to WTO. Japan requiring watering down of
    compliance provision. No penalties for
    non-compliance. By 2006 compliance low generally.

Victor. 2001. The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol
  • Main impediment to effective international policy
    to the GW problem is lack of a viable
    architecture for international cooperation.
  • Targets timetables constitute fundamental flaws
    in the regulatory system for controlling
    emissions. Latter vary with economic growth
    technological change. Rigidity of targets
    timetables make them unresponsive to former.
  • Emissions trading meant to compensate firm,
    reduce costs of compliance, provide
    flexibility. Allocation permits worth hundreds of
    billions of . Integrity of system requires
    compulsory membership of all the major players,
    but system cant guaranty that.
  • Montreal Protocol the wrong template to apply.
    Global warming a fundamentally different type of

Alternative View of Ted Parson. 2002. Breaking
the Policy Deadlock on Climate Change A New Role
for Technology Assessment, Issues in Science and
Technology, (Summer)
  • Montreal Protocol highly successful but not
    because problem uniquely benign. Policy deadlock
    for 10 years. Reasons for success different.
  • 1988 organization of Technology Assessment Panel
    operating differently from others. Dominated by
    representatives of firms, using knowledge of
    technology and what firms could and would adopt
    to solve the problem.
  • Problem solving capability of the panel greater
    than even that of the largest firm.
  • Representation providing expertise, but not to
    extent that swallowed up by inter-firm rivalries.
  • Firms could get help meeting regulatory controls
    in a highly feasible way based on expert
    knowledge. Technology assessments have much
    greater capability to alter the reality they are
  • Lack of such a capability in IPCC FCCC a
    serious design flaw.

Comes Around!
Trigger for Starting Over
  • OECD participants now convinced the Kyoto
    Protocol cannot produce effective solutions,
    perceive that urgency of problem has increased,
    are prepared to pursue less than global pathway.

Return to the Buying Time Option EU Vision
  • Preferences are for eschewing search for
    immediate global agreement and shift to
    decentralized, coordinated policy agreements
    beginning in OECD group, with or without formal
    legal arrangements at initial stage. Would
    require formal agreement on monitoring
    reporting system to create transparency.
  • Would also require coordinated agreement on
    carbon taxes approaches to carbon
    sequestration, particularly from coal-fired power
    industrial plants.
  • Would require US leadership which becoming
    increasingly possible. Significant bottom-up
    shift in policy views at city, state, industry
    levels in view of rate and magnitude of CC
    impacts. Split in fundamentalist coalition on
    this point in US politically significant.
  • The more significantly adverse climate change
    impacts are experienced, the stronger will be
    public support for the policies which are

So What Changes Are On The Horizon? Observations
Conversations, September 2006
  • Widespread agreement among high-level government
    officials, excluding US, from OECD countries that
    they shouldnt try to renegotiate UNFCCC Kyoto
    Protocol in same manner as before. Would take too
    long. Developing countries unlikely to accept
    binding targets at level satisfying to AICs.
  • Strong agreement to seek energy security most
    immediately through increasing efficiency. For
    instance, IEA calculating that if all household
    appliances made with same capability of laptops
    (battery capacity for independent ops.), would
    save 15GW electricity/yr.
  • Accept that rejecting global approach means
    accepting individual/group approaches among
  • Aware that in next 30 yrs. globally, nuclear
    power renewables providing only c. 10 of
    global energy needs. So coal is the real option
    for the near term. This a huge problem and why C
    sequestration reqd.

Additional Views of Industry re Future Policy
  • Growth in energy use inevitable, world not
    running out of energy. Moving beyond conventional
    resources in the right way is THE major
    challenge. There are no silver bullets lot of
    different things have to be done.
  • Pressing up against the limits of conventional
    oil gas resources, but still room for moving
    towards unconventional oil gas resources, plus
    coal, nuclear solar. However, lot of objectives
    here contradictory. Application of biology to
    energy as yet unexplored. Needs heavy investment.
  • Dont wait for global treaty certainty in
    science. Industry should stake out bold
    positions. Move out of RD into demonstration
    projects at large scale. Accept risks.

Discussion How to Make Things Happen?
  • Yes, get industry to step out, but what is the
    appropriate regulatory environment? And do we
    move from domestic to regional to global? And
    does government leave business to take the full
    risk of stepping out? To have the capital to take
    the risks is necessary for getting the market to
  • Re the regulatory environment, the ideal system
    would be a global carbon tax, but how likely is
  • Is energy storage technology a silver bullet,
    especially for renewables which are use it or
    lose it technologies?
  • Speeding up action resolves into NATIONAL policy,
    even though its a global problem and the
    patchwork quilt of outcomes will need to be
    integrated if we are to avoid 550ppmv by 2050.
  • So doubling by 2050 is the best they think we can
    do, but theyre aware that such a concentration
    level means a world of enormous environmental
    destruction, given the observable nonlinearities.

Hansen et al. (2006) on the Need to Act Now
  • Earths thermal inertia delays the planets
    responses to climate forcing of different types.
    Delay provides opportunity to reduce magnitude of
    anthropogenic climate change before fully
    realized. Can do on timescale of 5 decades. The
    longer mitigation delayed, the more difficult to
    avoid magnitude of change.
  • New measurement of net climate forcing, i.e.,
    difference between energy emitted absorbed
    0.75W/m2 0.15W/m2. This a large imbalance in
    history of planet.
  • Imbalance, combined with warming already in
    pipeline, complicates task of avoiding any
    specified level of climate change. Near term
    anticipatory actions of critical importance.

Conclusions Transportable Design Elements
  • Need for flexibility responsiveness in control
    structure. Utility of iterative assessments of
    state of problem and of regime performance in
    context of high transparency.
  • Deliberate mechanisms which facilitate learning
    for linking that learning to policy formulation
  • NGOs should be able independently to evaluate
    governmental performance.
  • Find the most appropriate architecture for
    international collaboration.
  • Adopt a management approach to enforcement.
  • Epistemic communities political entrepreneurs
    may be more important at the beginning but the
    importance of national and international
    administrative communities grows with time.

But Consider Following Points from Discussion of
Kennedy School Global Environmental Assessments
Project, May 1999
  • With the ozone problem, the important interface
    with decision makers is technology, not science.
  • If one accepts that technological fixes exist to
    environmental problems and that experts can be
    left alone to find solutions based on market
    acceptability TEAP, then the role of science is
    to demonstrate that there is an environmental
    imperative and that technology has the solution.
  • Economic models are not very good at anticipating
    technological innovation, so the only real test
    is market acceptability. TEAP successful because
    only those executives who made those kinds of
    decisions could participate. Companies that did
    not have technological options were deliberately
    excluded from participation.
  • Who is excluded a very important question--has
    impacts both on the framing of the issue the
    urgency with which it is pursued.

How Imminent is Action?
  • Not clear , although interesting re-alignment of
    forces under way.
  • Forces for Delay
  • The Org. filter--Dynamics of Bureaucracy
  • Perceptions of winners losers within between
  • Slow rate of environmental change
  • Forces for Change
  • Fast rate of change
  • Governmental capacity to learn
  • So we shall see
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