See below for some of the articles that was published in the latest Special Issue: Policy Instruments for Sustainable Development at Rio +20 in The Journal of Environment & Development 21 (2)
The Promise and Problems of Pricing Carbon: Theory and Experience
Joseph E. Aldy and Robert N. Stavins
Abstract: Because of the global commons nature of climate change, international cooperation among nations will likely be necessary for meaningful action at the global level. At the same time, it will inevitably be up to the actions of sovereign nations to put in place policies that bring about meaningful reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases. Due to the ubiquity and diversity of emissions of greenhouse gases in most economies, as well as the variation in abatement costs among individual sources, conventional environmental policy approaches, such as uniform technology and performance standards, are unlikely to be sufficient to the task. Therefore, attention has increasingly turned to market-based instruments in the form of carbon-pricing mechanisms. We examine the opportunities and challenges associated with the major options for carbon pricing—carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, emission reduction credits, clean energy standards, and fossil fuel subsidy reductions—and provide a review of the experiences, drawn primarily from developed countries, in implementing these instruments. Our summary of relevant theory and survey of experience from industrialized nations may be helpful to those who wish to examine the potential applicability of carbon pricing in the context of developing countries.
Environmental Policy and Political Realities: Fisheries Management and Job Creation in the Pacific Islands
Joshua Graff Zivin and Maria Damon
Abstract: Effective environmental policymaking requires an understanding of how environmental goals interact with other political goals. This article analyzes development strategies in the PICT’s, where policymakers aim to leverage tuna resources into sustainable economic development and job creation. The authors develop a model that analyzes costs and benefits of different development strategies, with a focus on job creation and local socioeconomic factors that drive optimal policy mixes across PICTs. The analysis demonstrates that investment in fisheries management can effectively encourage economic development and create employment opportunities, and compare this strategy to others such as selling access permits and investing in processing capacity. While many benefits of fisheries management are widely recognized, its ability to create high-quality employment opportunities is often overlooked. For many PICTs, this may represent the lowest cost strategy for jobs creation and, coupled with selling fishery access to foreign vessels, can form a strong basis for economic development plans.
The Role of Microinsurance as a Safety Net Against Environmental Risks in Bangladesh
Abstract: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identifies Bangladesh as one of the countries that will be hardest hit by the anticipated effects of climate change. The poorest people are the most vulnerable, as they do not have sufficient means to cope with environmental risks. In the absence of effective safety nets, poor people become trapped in chronic poverty due to the recurrent damage caused by natural disasters. Recently, there has been growing optimism among policy makers and practitioners about the role of microinsurance as a safety net against weather risks for the poorest and most vulnerable people of Bangladesh. This article sheds light on this issue by synthesizing the findings of half a decade of research on the prospects of weather microinsurance in Bangladesh. Three key conclusions are drawn from the synthesis. First, the market for a standard, stand-alone weather microinsurance in Bangladesh is characterized by low demand, poor governance, and lack of prospects for commercial viability. Second, although the index-based flood insurance model has theoretical appeal (i.e., no moral hazard or adverse selection and low transaction cost), high economic cost might be associated with its highly complex practical implementation. Finally, the current (un)regulatory arrangement of microinsurance supply in Bangladesh, which does not guarantee accountability and protect clients’ rights, is likely to increase rather than decrease poor people’s vulnerability. The study makes two key recommendations: (1) exploring options for nontraditional insurance models (e.g., group-based and ex-post premium-based models), and (2) considering regulatory reforms to ensure good governance and to foster market efficiency through low-cost delivery and product innovation.
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