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How to Maximize the International Impact of US Climate Mitigation Policy

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 4:25
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B4INREMOTE-aHR0cDovLzIuYnAuYmxvZ3Nwb3QuY29tLy16SjJhQV81TEhOWS9WV1dpWENXdkJpSS9BQUFBQUFBQUFwUS9oc1hiT3FMZndaWS9zMjAwL1AxNTA1MjctMXAucG5nA recent post by David Bailey and David Bookbinder on the Niskanen Center blog Climate Unplugged addresses a common Conservative criticism of unilateral climate mitigation efforts by the United States or other developed countries. As the critics point out, emissions from developing countries are expected to grow so rapidly that even if the US or EU reached zero carbon, it would reduce global temperatures in 2100 by only a few one-hundredths of a degree.

Bailey and Bookbinder acknowledge that developed countries cannot do the job by themselves. However, they argue that our mitigation efforts are not wasted, since US leadership is needed to induce others to act in concert:

Without the industrialized countries acting to—as the developing nations would say—put their own houses in order, it is impossible to believe that developing countries will act on their own. Action by the industrialized nations is thus necessary in order to secure the required collective action, while being insufficient on its own.

They make a valid point, but I would like to add that in order to maximize the effectiveness of US leadership, we need to pursue the right kind of mitigation policy. A comment on the Bailey-Bookbinder post by the Cato Institute’s Chip Knappenberger explains why. Knappenberger agrees that that unilateral US emissions reductions have little if any direct impact. He says that their purpose, instead,

is to attempt to spur technological innovation and set an example as to what can be done to reduce emissions—with Americans serving both as the experimenters and the  guinea pigs. It is not the climate impact of our experiment that is of any significance, but instead it is the tools that we may develop in attempting to achieve major emissions reductions. For the only truly effective course of action we have available to us in attempting to control the future course of global climate is to tell the rest of the world what to do and how to do it.

What we see here is that there are two mechanisms by which unilateral US efforts could induce others to act in concert, one diplomatic and one technological. The two have different implications for the kind of policy that would be most effective. >>>Read more



Source: http://dolanecon.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-to-maximize-international-impact-of.html

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