Climate change has become one of the most urgent global issues in recent years, influencing international political decisions and economic negotiations across the world. Despite the global awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability, climate policies have proven to be extremely difficult to implement on an international level. This is primarily due to concerns regarding burden sharing between countries and how much equity each nation should be required to put forth. The balance between accountability, sustainability, and equity requirement from each nation in climate policy creation will be a prominent topic in the international political system for the foreseeable future.
On September 23rd, 2015, the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy hosted a presentation on climate policy titlted “Efficient and Equitable Climate Policy in a Dynamic World,” featuring Lucas Bretschger, Professor of Economics and Resource Economics at the Center of Economic Research of ETH Zurich, Research Associate of the University of Oxford, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is the President-Elect of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE) and will assume office as President in 2016.
Bretschger is currently researching ways to create sustainable climate policies from an economic standpoint. During the presentation, the ETH Climate Calculator was introduced which is an online tool made by ETH Zurich that calculates fair and equitable carbon budget allocations. Bretschger’s presentation focused on how he evaluates the issue of creating efficient and equitable climate policy on a global level using analytical economic models and how he examines the deeper issues rooted in worldwide implementation of climate policy.
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[On climate change] The reality is somewhat different. Climate is a leadership and followership game — the leaders are ready for energy transitions, but by themselves, they don’t matter unless followers also come along.