Central issues in the negotiations on limiting greenhouse warming
Author(s)Eckaus, Richard S.
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The three central questions in the international negotiations on greenhouse warming are: (1) How much global warming should be tolerated? (2) How much responsibility for past emissions should be assigned to present generations? (3) How should quotas for future additions to total radiative forcing be allocated among countries? In principle, if these issues could be settled, the "command and control" procedure of regulation of the annual rate of emissions by each country, which has, so far, been the focus of attention, would be unnecessary. Determination of annual rates of greenhouse gas emissions could -- and should -- be left to individual countries. Sales or leases of emissions "permits" among countries may be used to reallocate emissions rights. The international negotiations may be thought as a means of asserting international control of the characteristic atmospheric responses to greenhouse gas accumulations. However, since compliance cannot be assured, when the gains from noncompliance are thought to be quite large and when violations would, in and of themselves, impose very little in the way of penalties on the violators, monitoring and coercion will be necessary to enforce any agreements.
MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research
Working paper (Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Energy Policy Research) ; MIT-CEPR 92-002.