Policies for climate change

Policies for climate change

Introduction

Climate change is an increase in average temperatures on earth. It is said to be brought about when human beings who make use of fossil fuels, which in turn emit greenhouse gases as well as Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. The gases released trap heat found in the air hence bringing effects to ecosystems. Some of these effects are an increase in sea levels, weather events and a period of drought which makes landscapes vulnerable to fire. Human activities for instance agriculture and cutting down of trees are also a major cause of climatic change.

Political barriers

There exist political barriers to climate adaptation. Effects that come up due to climatic change are observed in many parts of the world. Temperatures are likely to rise for the rest of the century, and the continuous rise is not likely to be stoppable (Moser & Ekstrom, 2010). With increased knowledge of the benefits that come along with early adaptation and doubts concerning the future of Kyoto protocol, topics climatic change adaptation have become a priority in most of the political agendas.

As much as the need for added policies on how to adapt were noticed during ratification of the UN climate Framework Convention in 1992, implementation for the adaptation has still become a challenge (Biesbroek,2013). The issue remains a major area of consideration in the international arena.  Adaptation policies are spreading all over the world, but they have never led to any substantial measures. They are given a resemblance to empty shells.

A difficulty experienced in the effective implementation of measures set by the policies are viewed to be caused by factors such as natural constraints in countries, low literacy levels that cause strain in resources and insufficient technology (Eisenack, Moser, Hoffmann, Klein, Oberlack, Pechan, Rotter & Termeer, 2014). The least developed countries are therefore found to be ill-equipped with necessary adaptation policies. Organizations concerned with economic operation and development who are not subjected to such limitations should, therefore, be in a position to implement the policies successfully.

However, the views have received challenges from scholars. For instance, in the case of Norway and other developed countries, the nation and public administrators of the nation are unable to give automatic addresses to vulnerability with specified responses on policies (Stoll-Kleemann, O’Riordan & Jaeger, 2001).  This is an indication that besides experiencing materialistic limits that hinder adaptation, political adaptations hinder adaptation to policies.

A study on a developed country such as Switzerland will facilitate understanding that political factors may hinder adaptation to the policies. Switzerland is very sensitive to changes in climate. This is because of its topography, economic and cultural importance accompanied by the availability of snow and glaciers. Despite the fact that the country has climatic change vulnerability, it is still undergoing the process of coming up with an elaborate means of adapting to the policies. However, most of the European countries have established the adaptations. The lower chamber in parliament made a rejection to an article meant to give federal authorities the go-ahead to come up with a clear coordination of policies that facilitate response to climate change.

The decision makers of the country did not mention adaptation despite the fact that assessments on vulnerability illustrated that economy of areas surrounded by mountains were likely to suffer as a result of snow cover. The effect would also extend to hydroelectric power. The Swiss authority felt that adaptation should be an issue in developing countries and not for a country like Switzerland which is properly developed. This explains why the article was rejected. It is also important to note that views on adaptation differed between two parties, the left- wing and right-wing parties. The right-wing views adaptation as a trivial means of the policy of climate, when compared to major aspects of mitigation and the relationship it has to supply of energy and economic growth.

Barriers to adaptation are therefore found to exist in developed and developing countries (Amundsen, 2010). Lack of enough resources may be an issue for least developed countries. In developed countries, where acting on the policies would be less of an issue, the political issues pose a challenge in the implementation of the policies.

Coming up with measures of adaptation is a representation of policy change. Since adaptation policies are still at a younger stage, inciting ad convincing individuals in the government to consider integrating the policies would be a great move.  Accuracy brought about by regional impact models should be improved since a gap exists between provisions of raw models and the translation they may achieve in reality.

United Nations Negotiations and Challenges That Led To Delay

Unlike other pollution forms, when greenhouse gases are emitted, the impact experienced is global. It does not matter where the emissions take place; they are evenly dispersed around the globe. As a result, efforts put across to look into the issue of climate change are done internationally through agreements and collaborations. The head forum for action on a change in climate is the UN which gave rise to the Climate Change Framework Convention and Kyoto Protocol (Stern, 2008). However, in the recent past, several international approaches have come up. These are the Asia Pacific Partnership and agreements. They held their meeting in 2005 in Gleneagles, UK. In 2005, the Paris agreement brought 188 countries to agree on limiting carbon dioxide emissions (Yamin, 2012).

As much as agreements made on reforms to climate change were done on an international level, policy measures meant to assist in meeting several objectives and obligations have only been implemented on a national level (Bossetti, 2008). At this level, they are facilitated by instruments such as incentives leading to investments in infrastructure, which hinder carbon emissions. Pricing emissions brought by carbon is viewed as setting a price on an external cost resulting from production and transformation of energy.

Kyoto protocol came up with several decisions. They agreed that developed countries were to ensure that they reduce emissions by 5.2 %( still, 2001). They also agreed that emissions were to go beyond carbon dioxide. For instance, methane and per fluorocarbons were included. Countries were also allowed to make fulfillment to these on a joint basis. However, for the protocol to be termed as legally bound, up to 55 countries were supposed to ratify it. However, delays were caused when the United States government which had been earlier involved in signing the protocol gave an announcement of its inability to sign the protocol (Rabe, 2004).  Considering that the United States gives emissions which amount to more than a quarter of total emissions when rated with other developed countries, the ratification of the protocol was put in a bad place. Australia also came up and made a declaration of its inability to ratify the protocol. It, however, promised to be engaged in the pursuit of reduction of emissions as earlier agreed. Entry into the force was delayed as they waited for Russia to make a decision. This is because Russia was another emitter of greenhouse gases. The delay took 90 days, and it is until Russia ratified that the protocol came into action.

European Emission Trading System and Its Challenges

Several arrangements for emissions have been made. The best arrangement that came up was European Emissions Trading System (ETS). It was intended to be the supporter of EU policy meant to counter changes in climate (Elleman, 2008). The arrangement, however, is not seen to deliver.  The European Emissions Trading Systems is seen as a trade and cap system. This means that a very small cap is set on the entire additional amount of some greenhouse gases, for instance, Carbon dioxide, produced by identified sectors of the industry.

The cap allows companies to receive and make purchases of which people can trade amongst themselves. Reductions are made on the cap so that the total amounts of emissions reduced. In the year 2012, all the national caps were the EU-wide cap (Höhne, den Elzen & Weiss, 2006). European Emission Trading System is viewed as a provider of a core leading to a bigger scheme that enables carbon dioxide to be limited worldwide. The aim is to reduce Europe emissions to a percentage resulting to 40 by the year 2030 (Yammin, 2012).  It covers over eleven thousand power stations and industries.  However, emissions resulting from the burn of biogas are not covered by it, yet it’s very clear that such emissions have become numerous. The European Emission Trading System views all bioenergy emission as zero carbon. There are incentives which facilitate replacement of coal with biogas. The intention is to create an increase in shares of renewable found in the mix of energy. When such allowances are traded, more carbon dioxide emissions are experienced. In the year 2014, more than 60 percent of renewable energy was waste resulting from bioenergy.

When a positive beginning was experienced in the year 2005, in 2006, the price of allowances resulting from emissions reduced (Ellerman, Convery & De Perthuis, 2010). The reduction in price experienced was more than half as compared to the previous year. This led to an intense discussion on the efficiency of the scheme. This made it clear that some caps in several countries were too little to enhance and bring promotion to investments in the field of emission reduction. Most of the EU countries had made an issue on several allowances based on padded applications but to the extent of them being unable to come to the required quotas within the first phase (Convery &Redmond, 2007). The allowances made provided a weak disincentive for making use of coal, most especially in Germany, where constraints in output mostly apply to nuclear power

The low price of emissions may be viewed as a success for the EU, ETS, but how credible the policies vary on if the governments setting up allocations for emissions ensure that the required industries are well covered to come up with a contribution that helps meet the national targets (Ellerman& Joskow, 2008).

Delay in implementation of contraction and convergence

A concept of contraction and convergence has been introduced though it has experienced opposition leading to delay in its implementation. The concept is a long-term framework whose ultimate objective is to bring change into the climate under the terms of safe emission levels (Jakob, 2012). Several politicians and experts of climate change have had interest in the concept. It is viewed as a potential superseder of the limited term setting of Kyoto Protocol process.

In a contraction and convergence system, an agreement made internationally is set to define the extent and level which concentrations of greenhouse gas rise for them to be termed as not accepted. After the definition, an estimation of the amount of reduced greenhouse gas emission will be needed for the target to be reached (Hohne, 2006). This will ensure that effect of sinks and the speed of reaching the target are put into consideration. This is a representation of a contraction element. It also does not have a substantial difference from aims of the UN Climatic Framework Convention which is intended to bring stability to concentration on greenhouse gas in the environment to levels preventing climatic systems interference.

A factor that brings the difference between convergence and concentration is a proposal that the right that comes with emitting carbon dioxide from the environment is a human right that deserves to be adhered to and shared equally. Emission targets, therefore, should be made to countries depending on the amount of population a country holds. The rights will be based on per capita requiring convergence on current unequal levels of per capita to a universalized level of per capita (Bosetti, Carraro& Tavoni, 2008). The convergence period should not be protracted and it is during the period that permits resulting from emission will be brought to an adjustment to the new levels from the status quo. Trade of permits could be carried out, and this will result in great economic transfer coming from countries that have made use of fossil fuel. They would form wealth to countries which are struggling to emerge from poverty. It is after convergence that each country receives an equal allocation of carbon dioxide emission rights.  The allocation would be per head as more trading of permits is encouraged.

The basic principle that comes along with the principle of contraction and convergence have gained support from those who view the allocation of equal emission rights as a means to promote equity on the social aspect (Oberthür & Roche Kelly, 2008). The principles, however, do not give an alternative to the UN Framework Convention on climate method. This is because they are only conceptual and they would have to go through a large process for them to become a policy framework. Developing countries are unlikely to have a political backing for contraction and convergence.

Another issue that comes up is the how far the proposal is. Concerns are that countries whose population is greatly expanding can be rewarded from convergence and contraction. This is because their growing population can give a result of them being with a large allocation of emissions when put by a country.  Fixing an overall country allocation on a certain specific date might be found to be necessary.

Other suggestions claim that some countries experience conditions that force them to be involved in more use of energy resulting emissions. There should be rights based on emission differentiation depending on circumstances that exist on the local level. For instance, a person who resides in the Arctic is expected to have more energy needs related to heating and lighting. This is not the case for someone who lives in a temperate region.

Bibliography

Amundsen, H., Berglund, F. and Westskog, H., 2010. Overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation—a question of multilevel governance?. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 28(2), pp.276-289.

Biesbroek, G.R., Klostermann, J.E., Termeer, C.J. and Kabat, P., 2013. On the nature of barriers to climate change adaptation. Regional Environmental Change, 13(5), pp.1119-1129.

Bosetti, V., Carraro, C. and Tavoni, M., 2008. Delayed participation of developing countries to climate agreements: should action in the EU and US be postponed?.

Convery, F.J., and Redmond, L., 2007. Market and price developments in the European Union emissions trading scheme.

Eisenack, K., Moser, S.C., Hoffmann, E., Klein, R.J., Oberlack, C., Pechan, A., Rotter, M. and Termeer, C.J., 2014. Explaining and overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 4(10), pp.867-872.

Ellerman, A.D., and Joskow, P.L., 2008. The European Union’s emissions trading system in perspective. Arlington, VA: Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Ellerman, A.D., Convery, F.J. and De Perthuis, C., 2010. Pricing carbon: the European Union emissions trading scheme. Cambridge University Press.

Höhne, N., den Elzen, M. and Weiss, M., 2006. Common but differentiated convergence (CDC): a new conceptual approach to long-term climate policy. Climate Policy, 6(2), pp.181-199.

Jakob, M., Luderer, G., Steckel, J., Tavoni, M. and Monjon, S., 2012. Time to act now? Assessing the costs of delaying climate measures and benefits of early action. Climatic Change, pp.1-21.

Moser, S.C. and Ekstrom, J.A., 2010. A framework to diagnose barriers to climate change adaptation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(51), pp.22026-22031.

Oberthür, S. and Roche Kelly, C., 2008. EU leadership in international climate policy: achievements and challenges. The International Spectator, 43(3), pp.35-50.

Rabe, B.G., 2004. Statehouse and greenhouse: The emerging politics of American climate change policy. Brookings Institution Press.

Stern, N., 2008. The economics of climate change. American Economic Review, 98(2), pp.1-37.

Stoll-Kleemann, S., O’Riordan, T. and Jaeger, C.C., 2001. The psychology of denial concerning climate mitigation measures: evidence from Swiss focus groups. Global environmental change, 11(2), pp.107-117.

Yamin, F., 2012. Climate change and carbon markets: A handbook of emissions reduction mechanisms. Routledge.

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