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Climate Change Policy after Kyoto: Blueprint for a Realistic Approach

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Climate Change Policy after Kyoto: Blueprint for a Realistic Approach [Paperback]

Warwick J. McKibbin , Peter J. Wilcoxen
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Book Description

December 16, 2002

The Kyoto Protocol represents nearly a decade of international effort to reduce carbon emissions. While the treaty is the product of enormous international political effort, it has not been ratified by any major greenhouse emitter and it has been rejected by the United States. In this controversial new book, Warwick J. McKibbin and Peter Wilcoxen argue that the current approach of international negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol is going completely in the wrong direction. In Climate Change Policy after Kyoto, they attempt to steer the policy debate toward a realistic blueprint for effective policy. The authors believe that managing uncertainty—particularly the future costs of any plan—is key to realistic climate policy. They maintain that sustainable policy should meet four basic criteria: it should slow down carbon dioxide emissions where it is cost-effective to do so; compensate those who are hurt economically; require a high degree of consensus both domestically and internationally; and allow countries to enter the program easily and continue to participate even if they drop out of the agreement at certain times. The book summarizes the current state of knowledge about climate change and discusses the history of negotiations since 1992—in the process identifying the Kyoto Protocol as the wrong approach to the problem. It outlines important insights that economic theory offers for the design of climate policy, and uses those insights to develop a simple framework that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while guaranteeing that short-run costs of compliance will not be excessive. The authors conclude by outlining a process by which international negotiations on climate control can proceed to an agreement that is both durable and feasible for all nations.

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Editorial Reviews


"Excellent for students who are being introduced to global warming and the vicissitudes of getting an effective international response.... This book is a policy brief meant to inform negotiators and policy makers about some basic ideas without getting bogged down in lots of details.... The book is an excellent policy brief of their plan, good for policy makers and also good for economists (expecially graduate students) who would like to consider the plan and try to work out some of its implications and ramifications." —Barry C. Field, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 8/1/2004

About the Author

Warwick J. McKibbin is a professor of international economics and head of the Economics Division at the Australian National University's Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. He also is a nonresident senior fellow in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution and a member of the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Peter J. Wilcoxen is an associate professor in the department of economics at the University of Texas, Austin, and a nonresident senior fellow in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 133 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (December 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815706073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815706076
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,822,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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McKibbin writes clearly and illustrates his arguments well, but he proposes a business-as-usual approach to pollution until the climate science is clarified. This business-as-usual approach involves giving polluters long-term permits to pollute. Besides the fact that this implies that pollution isn't really a problem, it will create a substantial cost to society if the long-term permits need to be clawed back. This will be a particularly gritty problem internationally since there will be dispute about who will pay for the buy-back of permits from developing countries. His system also provides virtually no incentive for investment in pollution abatement, which is the real reason behind any mechanism. Well worth the read though for those interested in contesting the received opinion around emissions trading systems.
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