Criteria for Evaluating Climate Policy Scenarios
The international community has come up with numerous and often complex suggestions for the design of a new climate agreement to be adopted during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015 ('2015 Agreement'). These design options are currently being discussed under Workstream 1 of the 'Ad-hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action' (ADP) by Parties to the UNFCCC. This report provides a practical criteria matrix to assist policy makers in evaluating and comparing different proposals for the 2015 Agreement.
Based on an analysis of Parties' submissions under ADP Workstream 1, this paper analyses to what extent the criteria proposed in literature find support among Parties, also identifying whether relevant criteria have been omitted in literature. The analysis shows a high degree of convergence for some criteria that were listed in relevant literature, most importantly 'ambition', 'participation', 'compliance' and 'equity or fairness'. In contrast, other criteria, such as 'systemic coherence' did not find mentioning at all in the submissions we analysed. Our analysis further identified criteria that were not reflected in the relevant literature but widely embraced by Parties in their ADP submissions, such as 'assisting the vulnerable', 'durability' or 'flexibility'. Finally, analysing the submissions revealed that some criteria from literature were apparently too vague and broad, subsuming a wide range of interpretations that might better be reflected in distinct criteria. This concerns first and foremost the concept of 'equity or fairness'.
The report proposes a new criteria matrix which incorporates criteria that are widely reflected in Parties' submissions, and precise and specific enough to facilitate the evaluation of design proposals for the 2015 Agreement. The proposed matrix includes criteria relating to environmental effectiveness (level of ambition, level of active participation, stringency of MRV system, stringency of compliance check and enforcement), equity-related criteria (differentiation according to historical responsibility, differentiation according to evolving responsibility, differentiation according to capacities and needs, assisting the vulnerable) and other criteria (institutional feasibility, durability, flexibility, cost-effectiveness).
Applying this matrix to proposed governance frameworks can assist policy makers to compare the features of the proposal to their preferred negotiated outcome, and to identify common ground with other Parties' preferred options.
The report was published as part of the project "Mobilizing and Transferring Knowledge on post-2012 Climate Policy Implications (POLIMP)" .