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Within-country archetypes: best chance for climate change mitigation

Within-country archetypes: best chance for climate change mitigationBrian I. Baker

For at least two decades now, the world’s nations have collectively labored to deal with the predicament of climate change. Though not entirely fruitless, their joint efforts have culminated largely in treaties that failed to produce many tangible results and that lack the teeth to enforce the few results they have produced. Acknowledging that climate change is already upon us, Lee G. Branstetter and William A. Pizer look past the international failures and envision a future in which mitigation takes place at the local, regional, and national levels, yet has worldwide consequences. In their paper titled “Facing the climate change challenge in a global economy” (National Bureau of Economic Research, working paper no. 18214, July 2012), Branstetter and Pizer point out the failures of the Kyoto and Cancún agreements reached in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and suggest instead a strategy that brings together those nations which are separately willing to experiment with climate change policy. Implementing a variety of policies—some good, some not so good—these nations could serve as examples for other nations, which could observe the policies and then adopt those which work. That way, the world could forgo the failed international agreements of the past and the necessity of entering into new international agreements in the future. In effect, initial unilateral action by some countries will offer its successes for other countries to adopt.”

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