Developing a Framework for Short- and Long-Run Decisions on Climate Change Policies

Recent economic studies of the costs and benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions call into question the approach to climate policy outlined in the Berlin Mandate. These studies suggest strongly that imposing near-term goals for emission reductions represents a costly and potentially unnecessary approach to climate policy. Montgomery advocates an economically rational approach to climate change policies that addresses three related questions: (1) What actions can be supported on the basis of current understanding of climate science and economics; (2) How to make the best use of the new information that current scientific research and technology development will provide; and (3) When should emission reductions begin? Montgomery argues that the Berlin Mandate prejudges all these issues by concentrating on near-term targets for emissions from industrial countries. He also argues that “Specific policies and measures must be evaluated, not general goals. No goal can be assessed without specifying the policies likely to be used to achieve it.”

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