The local consequences of global warming will lead to adverse economic, social and political effects that irremediably will spill across borders. If those effects are to be prevented or at least contained, then international cooperation will be required. More than any other international issue, mitigation poses the problems typically encountered in the provision of global public goods, such as, among others, questions of sovereignty, the temptation to free ride, and differing preferences and priorities across societies. Governments will have to grapple with tough choices under any global emissions policy strategy. We can’t escape the fact that somebody somewhere and soon will need to start paying the price for such a policy.
Few people have had an impact on society as global as Gro Harlem Brundtland’s. As Norway’s Environment Minister, she had the vision to extend health beyond the confines of the medical world and into environmental issues and human development. Subsequently, she served as Prime Minister of her country, Director General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development, best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development, which subsequently became part of the international agenda.
An international agreement to limit carbon emissions to mitigate climate change effectively has been elusive. Even if the December 2015 COP21 meeting is successful in the sense of yielding a new protocol by all the parties, the emission reduction commitments embodied in such a protocol would not be sufficient to render the optimal mitigation strategy. In this document, we begin envisioning next steps with carbon pricing as the focal point and with a view to achieving an international agreement leading to the desired objective of mitigation.