Fall 2013 - 63480 - PA682GA - Policy Research Project on Global Policy Issues

Sectoral Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions by the Major Economies

Goals: The aim of the PRP is to identify several promising initiatives for emissions reductions like the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) for short-lived gases that was launched in 2012 as a collaborative effort of major emitters to complement the on-going diplomatic efforts of the United Nations. The project would identify the emissions reduction potential in each area for the major economies and then troubleshoot the domestic implementation challenges for the major responsible parties in each area and the implications for international discussion of these problems. The PRP will evaluate a variety of areas – potentially energy efficiency standards for appliances, agreements on building efficiency codes, grid efficiency, faster deployment of natural gas, sectoral agreements on cement, emissions from airlines, enhanced agreement on fuel efficiency in road transport, and possibly others – to examine the international and domestic political challenges of implementation with recommendations for the appropriate venues and actors that ought to be involved.
Student Contribution: The students’ primary contribution will be background analysis on politics of the energy sector and climate policy in major emitters including the United States, China, India, Japan, and the European Union. This work will also include Brazil, South Africa, Russia, South Korea, Canada, and possibly a few other major emitters. Students with language skills in Mandarin, Japanese, Portuguese, French, German, Korean, Russian, Spanish, or Indonesian would be highly desirable for country teams. Students will also develop a secondary issue expertise.
We will conduct phone, Skype-based, and possibly in-person elite interviews to assess the political barriers to implementation in each of these countries as well as the appropriate diplomatic forums where progress should be carried out (i.e. ad hoc collaborative effort like the short-lived gases initiative or formal process incorporated into on-going United Nations negotiations). Funding permitting, in-person elite interviews in Washington DC with embassy staff may be possible.
Each student team will be given a common analytic framework to assess emissions reductions potential in a given sector. The students will explore parallel policy arenas of past practice such as domestic air and water quality initiatives, efficiency standards, etc. to assess political economy dynamics in different sectors.
Deliverables: We will generate variety of work products of shorter and longer lengths, including (1) a series of national country studies on the major economies, of roughly 30 pages in length with a 2 page executive summary and (2) a series of sectoral studies on key areas of roughly 30 pages in length with a 2 page executive summary, and (3) finally a summary report of all the reports with a 2 page executive summary. That final report will synthesize the findings of both series and discuss the implications for international negotiations, in terms of players, possible venues for discussion. The country and sectoral studies will be written by the students. The final summary report will be written by supervising faculty.