WP6 Political evaluation of metrics
 

Task 6.1 Political requirements
 

Objectives

The objective of Task 6.1. is

Methodology and scientific achievements related to Task including contribution from partners

Metrics for comparing GHGs should not only be evaluated in terms of their scientific robustness and performance, but should also be evaluated in terms of its political feasibility. At a general level, the political applicability of an index or methodology for the comparison of different GHGs can be evaluated in terms of at least four main functions, which all prompt different requirements to the metric (see also Skodvin and Fuglestvedt, 1997):
 

  1. The methodology or index should serve as a tool for communication between scientists and policy makers. This function primarily prompts one requirement, namely simplicity.
  2. It should serve as a tool for decision-making. This prompts at least two requirements: That it can be employed by policy makers in relative independence of scientific input, and that policy makers can employ the metric in confidence of its scientific quality. This essentially implies that the metric, to the extent possible, should be scientifically uncontroversial. While scientific agreement regarding the quality of the metric certainly does not guarantee political agreement on policy decisions, scientific controversy regarding this aspect could hamper political decision-making to the extent that the metric in practice becomes inapplicable as a tool for decision-making.
  3. The metric should be flexible in the sense that new knowledge can be incorporated as it is developed. This is not only a requirement to the metric itself, but also to the policy framework within which the metric is applied.
  4. Perhaps encompassing all of the above, the metric should be evaluated in terms of the extent to which it allows for policy options otherwise not available.
Methodological issues

In WP 6.1, four approaches to the objectives are applied:

1.  Literature review (role of scientific and policy making models) and own analysis of climate negotiations focusing on the political discussion and adoption of

2.  Legal text review (Kyoto Protocol) to distinguish the different functions metrics of climate change have to fulfil.
3.  Two phases of complementary interviews: These are held with experts in international climate change negotiations and multilateral environmental agreements (MEA) in general. The development of an interview guide assures to held interviews in a common frame. 4.  A first review of the design and application of metrics in other MEAs. Background: interview partners of the first phase indicated that the climate negotiations would considerably profit from the experiences with metrics in other MEA. Two regimes considered are the stratospheric ozone regime and the LRTAP regime.
Achievements

A draft working paper on "Political requirements of metrics of climate change" has been developed. Two basic categories of requirements have been distinguished: First, those that stem directly from legal texts (UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol), and second, those procedural ones that may be derived from the negotiation context. Generally, environmental and political effectiveness are criteria for successful negotiations and decision-making. Negotiation processes are regularly confronted with tensions and trade-offs between these two criteria. As regards revised or new metrics of climate change, effectiveness can be interpreted as follows:

This implies that "adequacy" is a central issue. Whether or not a metric is adequate depends on both of these criteria. Hence, both the metric and the political process have to be judged together.

Based on the assessment of legal text and procedures, a working list of political requirements was developed, building on the wotk of Skodvin and Fuglestvedt (1997)3 and Fuglestvedt et al. (2002).

Regarding the legal text requirements, particularly relevant are three functions of metrics:
1.  Scientific assessments:

2.  Negotiations: 3.  Trading:


Regarding the procedural requirements at least three categories have to be considered:
1.  Simplicity and transparency: The metric should be easily to understand and to use.
2.  Flexibility: The methodology should be open to advancements in scientific knowledge and to changes in the negotiation process.
3.  Political feasibility: Uncertainties should be reduced to the maximum extent possible.
 

Socio-economic relevance and policy implication

Task 6.1 generates background material that will be used in Task 6.2 and later for the assessment of new or refined metrics of climate change. The preliminary checklist to assess the political applicability of any metric of climate change already provides important insights in how metrics might be further developed in the climate negotiations.
 

Discussion and conclusion

An important result is the recommendation that a more thorough assessment of the design and use of metrics in other than the climate regime would be extremely fruitful. In particular, experiences with the role that the RAINS-model, an "Integrated Assessment Model", played in the negotiations for the Gothenburg Protocol appeared to be helpful for understanding the particular circumstances in which metrics are more or less useful in environmental regimes. This investigation aims at improving the applicability of a metric under the climate regime, in particular with respect to the procedural requirements that have so far been developed. A first but short overview on the ozone and LRTAP regime with regard to the metrics and decision making tools applied has been elaborated. As a conclusion from these works, three concepts of how metrics fulfil their functions in multilateral environmental regimes are distinguished.
 

Plan and objectives for next period

1.  The working paper in Task 6.1 is close to a final version. Three tasks are currently carried out in order to complement the current draft:

2.  The working list of political requirements will iteratively be developed further if necessary, particularly if 3.  The inclusion of a new Task is strongly suggested and has been discussed within the consortium. The consortium agrees that an assessment of the role and application of metrics in other environmental regimes would be a promising objective to integrate a greater amount of political experiences with metrics in multilateral environmental regimes. A proposal for the integration of this new task at no additional cost is currently developed.
 
 
 

Task 6.2 Evaluation of existing metrics
 

Objectives

The objectives of this task are

Methodology and scientific achievements related to Task including contribution from partners

Methodological issues

WP 6.2 basically relies on a review of available metrics and their scientific evaluation (from WP 4) and the list of requirements (from Task 6.1).
 

Achievements

Work on WP 6.2 concentrated on a partial assessment of the currently used metric CO2 equivalents and GWP on the basis of the evolving list of requirements. This assessment will be complemented and revised as the list develops.
 

Socio-economic relevance and policy implication

The assessment will perform a thorough evaluation of existing metrics, notably the GWP methodology, according to requirements formulated in 6.1. It will also evaluate some of the major existing proposals for refinements of the GWP methodology in terms of the same requirements. This will provided prominent input for the climate negotiations, as methodological issues are currently on the Agenda of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Furthermore the inclusion of other than the six "Kyoto basket" source gases will be a prominent issue in the climate negotiations not least subsequent to the fundamentally altered positions of the USA.
 

Discussion and conclusion

Preliminary work shows that the differentiation of functions suggested in Task 6.1 which metrics of climate change have to fulfil leads to the conclusion that a phased approach to metrics of climate change is expected to be fruitful: depending on the function (for scientific assessments, negotiations or trading), different metrics may be most adequate. Or, depending on the functions, it might be most adequate to consider the choice of metrics within specific context. This would imply the need to consider metrics with regard to their applicability and their integration in more or less complex decision making tools, especially with respect to the science/policy interface.
 

Plan and objectives for next period

We plan to application of the final checklist (from Task 6.1) to the summary of existing metrics provided by WP 4.
 
 
 
 

Task 6.3 Evaluation of refined metrics

This Task has not yet been started.

Plan and objectives for next period

We plan


 
 
 

Task 6.4 Overall evaluation
 

This Task has not yet been started.
 

Plan and objectives for next period

We plan to perform an overall evaluation of the metrics, both existing and refined (jointly from the view points of natural sciences, economics and political science).