HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy


Successfully mitigating the risks posed by climate change will necessitate substantial efforts by consumers, businesses and governments in nearly 200 countries to change their activities that are contributing to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.Doing so will require surmounting a collective action challenge; mitigating GHG emissions produces a global public good. Thus, the sources of these emissions have insufficient incentive to abate them (Barrett, 2003). In the multilateral sphere, there is uncertainty about the credibility of commitments, reflecting questions on whether a country can implement policies that alter the behaviour of private agents(e.g. emissions abatement) as well as questions on the ability to observe a country’s performance with respect to its commitment (Hafner-Burton, Victor and Lupu,2012). Mitigation efforts at lower scales of governance–by states and provinces,businesses and even universities–have resulted in commitments to reduce emissions and implement mitigation policies (see Chapter 1). Such self-organised efforts may reflect how local impacts can drive lower-scale mitigation initiatives(Ostrom, 2010), but uncertainty also characterises the extent and efficacy of these efforts.


Aldy, Joseph. "Policy Surveillance: Its Role in Monitoring, Reporting, Evaluating and Learning." Governing Climate Change: Polycentricity in Action? Ed. Harro van Asselt, Johanna Forster, David Huitema, and Andy Jordan. Cambridge University Press, 2018, 210-229.