HKS Authors

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Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy


The emerging pledge and review approach to international climate policy provides countries with substantial discretion in how they craft their intended emission mitigation contributions. The resulting heterogeneity in mitigation pledges creates a significant demand for a well-functioning transparency and review mechanism. In particular, the specific forms of intended contributions necessitate economic analysis in order to estimate the aggregate effects of these contributions, as well as to permit “apples-to-apples” comparisons of mitigation efforts. This paper discusses the tools that can inform such analyses, as well as the institutional framework needed to support climate transparency. In light of the negotiating challenges with respect to transparency, the paper describes the potential for countries to implement Living Mitigation Plans that include regular updating of domestic mitigation programs with data and analyses on their outcomes. Such Living Mitigation Plans can serve as the foundation for independent, expert review of domestic mitigation programs. Moreover, they can include the inputs necessary to assess the mitigation value of domestic mitigation efforts. Such assessments could inform the linkage of domestic mitigation policies, especially among disparately designed mitigation policies.


Aldy, Joseph. "Evaluating Mitigation Effort: Tools and Institutions for Assessing Nationally Determined Contributions." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP15-068, November 2015.