midtrmsol_b - Essay 1: The 1997 Kyoto agreement established...

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Essay 1: The 1997 Kyoto agreement established a global target for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (approximately 7% from 1990 levels). Consider the problem of negotiators who had to allocate permissible emissions among the various countries. Should permits be distributed on the basis of population? GDP? The present level of emissions? Discuss the pros and cons of those three options. Who (or what countries) would tend to support or oppose each? What is “fair”? What is “efficient”? Can the two objectives be reconciled? How would your answers differ if the permits were transferable? You can include in your answer actual knowledge of what transpired in Kyoto the reaction afterwards, although that is not necessary. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol is an agreement between the parties (countries) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was signed in Rio in 1992. A good place to learn about global climate change and the Convention in particular is the official web site ( www.unfccc.de) . For this question, however, you were expected to discuss in more general terms various permit allocation schemes. You could imagine that if 100 units of greenhouse gases (GHG) had been emitted in 1990 (the base year), a global reduction of 7 percent meant that 93 permits had to be allocated, one way or another. Those permits could (theoretically) be allocated on the basis of countries’ share of global population, GDP, or historical level of emissions. Note that using population share does not necessarily favor large countries: the United States population, for example, is one of the largest in the world, but its share of global GDP is larger than its share of world population. A good answer to the essay question would feature some of the following points. A great one would touch on most of them: 1. POPULATION: developing countries (with much smaller GDP share than population share) favor this allocation. In fact, the fundamental divergence of views between developed and developing countries is the crux of this question. Roughly speaking, developed countries support measures that assign some reduction (from 1990 base levels) to emissions of all countries. In developing countries, however, the accumulation of GHG in the atmosphere is seen as the result of ongoing emissions from industrialized countries, and that consequently, “fairness” implies that developing countries attain the same level of industrialization before stabilizing emissions. Assigning emission permits on this basis would leave ample room for countries such as India, China or Brazil to grow (both in GDP and emissions), but would mean drastic reductions in emissions in U.S., Canada, Japan, or Europe. 2.
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midtrmsol_b - Essay 1: The 1997 Kyoto agreement established...

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