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Policy Targets: Lessons for Effective Implementation of Climate Actions

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Sarah Lester, Karsten Neuhoff

In: Climate Policy 9 (2009), 5, S. 465-480


Policy targets are used to improve the implementation of domestic and international actions, in a national context and in international frameworks. But how can domestic and international experience be useful for climate policy? Case studies point to the value of defining policy targets more broadly than final outcomes, which in the case of climate policy are CO2 emission reductions. There is a need for robust policy instruments to reduce uncertainties and accelerate feedback loops within appropriate time-frames. A recurring theme is the importance of engagement across all stakeholders to create ownership and confidence in the ability to deliver against policy targets. Policy relevance: Policy targets have a potential role in domestic implementation and international cooperation for three reasons. First, it is difficult to define absolute emission targets for developing countries. Experiences from other sectors' use of indicators reveal the positive impact of measures beyond final outcomes as the basis for the definition of targets. Second, the main impact of many of the actions and policies that enable transition to a low-carbon growth trajectory is typically witnessed in the long term. If only long-term targets are used, then it is difficult to recognize and support early contributions. This could result in less effort being dedicated to the initial actions that are necessary to achieve long-term change. Defining policy targets more broadly can improve recognition and delivery of initial actions. Third, for effective international cooperation, Parties need to be able to define the level of their contribution towards achieving the joint objective. Experience from other sectors is useful to inform the selection of the most suitable indicators and ensure effective delivery.

Karsten Neuhoff

Head of Department in the Climate Policy Department