This study assesses the long-term economic and environmental effects of introducing price caps and price floors in hypothetical climate change mitigation architecture, which aims to reduce global energy-related CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050. Based on abatement costs in IPCC and IEA reports, this quantitative analysis confirms what qualitative analyses have already suggested: introducing price caps could significantly reduce economic uncertainty. This uncertainty stems primarily from unpredictable economic growth and energy prices, and ultimately unabated emission trends. In addition, the development of abatement technologies is uncertain.
With price caps, the expected costs could be reduced by about 50% and the uncertainty on economic costs could be one order of magnitude lower. Reducing economic uncertainties may spur the adoption of more ambitious policies by helping to alleviate policy makers’ concerns of economic risks. Meanwhile, price floors would reduce the level of emissions beyond the objective if the abatement costs ended up lower than forecasted.
If caps and floors are commensurate with the ambition of the policy pursued and combined with slightly tightened emission objectives, climatic results could be on average similar to those achieved with “straight” objectives (i.e. with no cost-containment mechanism).
This papers reviews current proposals in the UNFCCC negotiations for future mechanisms to report and record Parties’ GHG mitigation actions and commitments, as well as support provided for such actions. It explores the possible purposes, coverage and form of a reporting/recording mechanism post-2012 and highlights the decision points that are needed in order to establish such a mechanism. It examines what information such a mechanism could include in terms of actions, commitments and support, as well as the institutional implications of different design options.