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Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Joseph Aldy
Associate Professor of Public Policy
phone: (617)496-7213
Designing a Bretton Woods Institution to Address Climate Change
Aldy, Joseph. "Designing a Bretton Woods Institution to Address Climate Change." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP12-017, May 2012.
Abstract
The information structure of the climate change policy collaboration problem necessitates the design of institutions to enhance public knowledge about nations’ commitments, policies, and outcomes. The international community has addressed this kind of problem in a wide array of other contexts from which lessons can be drawn and applied to international climate policy. Based on these experiences and the characteristics of a successful international climate policy architecture, this paper proposes the design of a “Bretton Woods Climate Institution” (BWCI). This BWCI should implement a serious system of national and global policy surveillance. This surveillance would include an evaluation by independent experts of the various policy commitments nations make in international negotiations to assess whether nations delivered on their commitments and to examine the impacts of these actions on various climate change risk reduction margins, such as emission abatement and adaptation. Such a surveillance scheme should be consultative in nature, to allow give and take among experts and among nations engaged in the international climate policy effort. Based on this surveillance, the institution should promote best policy practices. In addition, the BWCI should provide a means to channel some financing for investments in climate change risk mitigation activities in developing countries. By making funds conditional on agreeing to policy surveillance, such an approach would create an incentive for transparent evaluations of policies and actions. Moreover, access to market-based climate policy schemes, such as the Clean Development Mechanism and emission trading, could be predicated on countries agreeing to participate in policy surveillance.
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