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IISD: Subsidies to Address Climate Change: Legal Issues

Author: Robert Howse
March 2009

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International Institute for Sustainable Development policy recommendations concerning trade and climate change.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, adopts an approach to mitigation of climate change based on states binding themselves to reduce GhG emissions to agreed levels, based on the notion of "differentiated responsibilities" for developing countries. The Kyoto Protocol, however, does not specify the policies that states must use to achieve the bound emissions reductions, or the relevant desirability of different policy instruments. The Protocol merely provides a list of policies that states may use to achieve emissions reductions. The list includes: Enhancing energy efficiency; protecting and enhancing greenhouse gas sinks; Promoting sustainable agriculture; Promoting renewable energy, carbon sequestration and other environmentally-sound technologies; Removing subsidies and other market imperfections for environmentally-damaging activities; encouraging reforms in relevant sectors to promote emission reductions; Tackling transport sector emissions; and, Controlling methane emissions through recovery and use in waste management.

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