Inderscience Publishers

Climate change mitigation: overview of the environmental policy instruments

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Climate variability has been observed over a long period of time and is considered a natural process occurring on Earth. Climate change, however, is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere in addition to natural phenomena. Global climate governance requires a broad area of measures and policies to be implemented worldwide to tackle this problem. The following paper gives a brief overview of the existing climate mitigation instruments and policies. It delivers an analysis of the three main groups of policy instruments – mandatory regulation, economic instruments and voluntary approach. The study argues that no instrument can be chosen as a single mechanism to solve environmental problems. It also points out several conditions and circumstances that need to be taken into consideration to obtain a successful implementation of those policy instruments. The paper critically investigates traditional instruments. It discusses issues such as design, political and social acceptability, provision of incentives for improvements in environmental performance and (cost) effectiveness. Finally, the study concludes that the process of policy implementation should take into account the problems and obstacles that may stand in the way of the planned solutions and without a deep analysis of which the (cost) effectiveness of a policy will never be achieved.

Keywords: climate change, Kyoto Protocol, emissions trading, clean development mechanism, CDM, joint implementation cap and share, voluntary approach, mandatory regulation, environmental policy, policy instruments, climate mitigation, environmental performance, cost effectiveness

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