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Key Elements of a Global Deal on Climate Change

Author: Nicholas Stern
Published May 2008

Authored by Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics, this report gives the following "key messages":

"- The world faces an unprecedented challenge which requires urgent global action to sustain growth and guard against the risks of catastrophic climate change.

- The global response to climate change must be carefully designed, whilst limiting transactions costs, and without creating additional market distortions, perverse incentives, or promoting protectionism.

- The technologies involved will be transformational, but action, if taken now, is both manageable and affordable.

- By promoting reduced pollution, improved resource efficiency, and energy security, cost-effective policies can bring about a safer, cleaner, and more prosperous world without jeopardising growth or poverty reduction. By contrast, inaction stands eventually to damage both growth and social stability.

- Avoiding the risks of dangerous climate change requires that global greenhouse gas emissions peak within the next fifteen years are halved relative to 1990 by 2050, and then decline to less than 10 Gigatonnes (GT) of emissions (1 tonne per capita).

- The developing countries, which by 2050 will account for around eight billion out of a world population of nine billion, and the greater part of global emissions, will have to be fundamentally involved in achieving global emission reductions.

- The world should aim for a liquid international carbon market in order to allow for the most effective, efficient, and equitable emissions reductions.

- In addition, non-price interventions are required to expand the global market for low-carbon technologies, support common standards, and promote costeffective reduced deforestation.

- Developing countries must draw up emissions reduction plans now, and be able to benefit from scaled-up opportunities to sell emissions reduction certificates.

- Developed countries will need to take on immediate and binding national
emissions targets, demonstrate that they can achieve low carbon growth, and transfer resources and technologies to developing countries, before developing countries take on binding national targets of their own by 2020.

- Existing international institutions will need to evolve in order to deal with the nature and scale of the challenge, coordinate global financial flows, and support vulnerable countries in adapting to the impact of climate change. In the longer term it might be necessary to design and create new institutions."

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