International Policies for Limiting the Magnitude and Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

At the international level, examples of climate policies include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Copenhagen Accord. Policy options available at the national, regional, and local levels include direct regulation, taxes, cap-and-trade systems for emissions permits, incentive structures and subsidies for voluntary action, technical aid and incentives for the creation and implementation of new technology portfolios, and adaptation options and planning. Research in this area finds that direct regulation, when enforced, can effectively reduce emissions. It also finds that while taxes are cost-effective, they do not guarantee specific emissions-reduction levels and may be hard to adjust, and that the efficacy of tradable permits depends on the structure of the policy. Voluntary agreements can play a role in accelerating technology adoption, but they are less effective in reducing

19 For additional discussion and references, see Chapter 17 in Part II of the report.

emissions. Finally, whereas incentives and subsidies to develop cleaner technologies maybe be slow and costly, they can complement other emissions-reduction policies.

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