by Dimitri Zenghelis & Nicholas Stern
Climate change is a global problem unparalleled in scale requiring international collaboration across sectors, countries and disciplines. The world has only a few years to establish a strong and credible global deal for action to reduce emissions if it is to avoid large risks of severe damage to the planet and to the prospects for sustained growth and development. The challenge cannot be underestimated and marginal changes are simply not sufficient to stabilise temperatures so that substantial risks from climate change can be reduced. It requires radically transformed development paths on the back of a technological revolution. The strategy for a global deal needs to be one of strong, effective and timely action to protect growth, support poverty reduction and create new economic opportunities. Delayed and piecemeal actions, relying on old technologies, will only exacerbate poverty, reduce growth and curtail market choice.
The UNFCCC 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 will be crucial in designing the architecture for a post-2012 successor policy framework to Kyoto. The recent document “Key Elements of a Global Deal on Climate Change” (Stern 2008) builds on the principles of effectiveness, efficiency and equity to suggest what the key elements are likely to be. The purpose is not to prescribe specific instruments or technologies ; different technologies and different policy instruments can be applied to different sectors and
countries. However, it is important that all the different initiatives add up to delivering the overall objective.