Counting CO2 emissions in a globalized world
Producer versus consumer-oriented methods of CO2 accounting. DIE Research Project “Development Policy: Questions for the Future”
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This paper has been produced under the umbrella of the DIE research project „Development Policy: Questions for the Future,” funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). A main objective of this research project is to stimulate thinking
about how the context that development policy responds to could change in the long-term.
In the short-term, policymakers face numerous decisions with far-reaching implications of their own. Among them are decisions concerning how to respond to the global climate challenge by crafting a successor to the Kyoto climate regime set to expire in 2012. This paper by Martin Bruckner, Christine Polzin, and Stefan Giljum from the Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Vienna, offers a contribution to the debate about what considerations should be incorporated into deliberations on the governance of the global climate in the future by identifying how consumption-focused methods of accounting for carbon dioxide emissions can provide a more complete picture of national responsibilities to take action against climate change than production-focused accounting methods alone might allow. The paper highlights the environmental dimensions of interstate economic relations and encourages policymakers to acknowledge the implications of economic interdependence for global climate policy to a greater extent. The research presented here provides a complement to several ongoing strands of research at the Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik/German Development Institute (DIE), touching on issues such as the compatibility between the global trade and climate regimes, the place of climate adaptation measures within the framework of global climate governance, and pathways toward a global low-carbon economy. A common concern within this body of work is the need to accommodate the interests of developing countries within
global environmental governance processes while putting the world as a whole on a more sustainable development path in the future.