No climate protection without credible policy

A new MCC study shows how more credibility of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) agreed upon in the Paris Agreement can be achieved.

[Translate to EN:] Foto: Shutterstock


Long-term policy goals often fall prey to short-term targets—this can especially be seen in climate policy. Hence, long-term credibility is crucial for the concrete implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) adopted in Paris. In a new study by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers propose a framework to assess the credibility of climate policy instruments. This framework is then applied to four selected countries.

The article "Addressing policy credibility problems for low-carbon investment" by Gregory Nemet, Michael Jakob, Jan Steckel, and Ottmar Edenhofer has now been published in the journal "Global Environmental Change".

The researchers consider the NDCs of India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Vietnam. They find that these countries have not only agreed on different emission reduction targets, but they have also proposed very different measures that can be used to assess the credibility of their commitments. Regulatory security—meaning that the words in the Paris Agreement will be followed by concrete actions—is crucial for investments in low-emission technologies and thus for the attainment of climate targets. If, for example, the pledge of rising carbon prices is not credible because the corresponding legislative initiatives and institutional frameworks do not exist, investment in coal-fired power plants instead of, for example inrenewable energy, will likely be continued in the near future.

In India, Mexico, and Vietnam, some relevant laws have already been passed, are discussed, or will be adopted in the near future, whereas the Nigerian government has not yet planned any concrete measures. Another example: Of the countries considered in the study only Mexico has pledged when emissions are supposed to peak.

"Particularly in the presence of competing, and possibly conflicting, societal goals, such as land use, food security and climate protection, countries must assure that they will fulfill their commitments," says co-author Michael Jakob from the MCC.

"International climate finance would be one possibility to mobilize the necessary funds toenable developing countries to abolish fossil fuel subsidies or introduce carbon pricing—which could also be employed as a commitment device," adds MCC scientist Jan Steckel.


More information:
Read the full article