Belfer Center, Kennedy School, Harvard Univ. / by Joseph Aldy
The emerging pledge and review approach to international climate policy provides countries with substantial discretion in how they craft their intended emission mitigation contributions. The resulting heterogeneity in mitigation pledges places significant demands for a well-functioning transparency and review mechanism. In particular, the specific forms of intended contributions necessitate economic analysis in order to estimate the aggregate effects of these contributions as well as to permit “apples-to-apples” comparisons of mitigation efforts. This paper discusses the tools that can inform such analyses as well as the institutional needs of climate transparency. In light of the negotiating challenges with respect to transparency, the paper describes the potential for countries to implement Living Mitigation Plans that include regular updating of domestic mitigation programs with data and analyses on their outcomes. Such Living Mitigation Plans can serve as the foundation for independent, expert review of domestic mitigation programs. Moreover, they can include the inputs necessary to assess the mitigation value of domestic mitigation. Such assessments could inform the linkage of domestic mitigation policies, especially among disparately designed mitigation policies.