Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Kyoto to Copenhagen: The Political Economics of US and Chinese Participation in International Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Reduction Schemes

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Siân Mooney


The United States and China are key actors in the international effort to address global climate change. As the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gasses (GHGs), they together account for over 40% of global GHG emissions from fossil fuels. Both countries now stand at a critical juncture on climate change policy with the upcoming COP15 conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, where critical agreements following the Kyoto Protocol will be finalized. To be effective, any future GHG reduction scheme must have commitment from both countries and move them towards substantial long-term reductions in emissions. Experts agree that a global mechanism that ensures comprehensive emissions pricing is the most economically efficient way of achieving emissions targets; however, various political, economic and structural obstacles stand in the way of implementing ideal systems. This paper examines the implications and acceptability of proposed market based mechanisms within the current Chinese and US political economy context, including the ability of hybrid and regional schemes to encourage participation among diverse stakeholders, with heterogeneous emissions reduction capabilities.