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Wilcoxen article on price mechanisms in international climate negotiations published in APPS

Oct 1, 2014

A Proposal to Integrate Price Mechanisms Into International Climate Negotiations

Warwick J. McKibbin, Adele C. Morris & Peter J. Wilcoxen

Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, October 2014

Peter Wilcoxen

Peter Wilcoxen


The Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change continue their efforts to forge a new binding international agreement by 2015. This article proposes to adapt international negotiations to allow for hybrid price and quantity-based commitments.

The economic risks surrounding target-only commitments — the current approach — are enormous. Combining a clear cumulative emissions target with price-based limits on the cost associated with achieving that target would reduce those risks, ensure that commitments by Parties remain feasible and reduce the chance that the agreement would collapse. Moreover, the authors argue that adding prices into the agreement offers transparent and verifiable assurance of the comparability of effort across countries.

Finally, the authors also show that it is possible to calculate ‘carbon price equivalents’ of quantity-based climate commitments in a conceptually similar way to the tariff equivalents used in international trade negotiations.

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