Forks in the Road - Alternative routes for international climate policies

18-11-2011 | Publication

Several scenarios are possible for future international climate policies, each with a different role in the climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These scenarios assume policies that are comparable to the current policies, as well as more fragmented and more integrated international climate policies. The various alternative routes have been assessed with respect to their potential consequences. These assessments showed that none of the proposed routes could fully replace the current negotiation process under the UNFCCC, but rather that they could contribute to generating societal support for future climate policies.

Roles for the Netherlands

In addition, the report presents an analysis of how the Netherlands could use this development of alternative routes for international climate policy. Possible responses by the Netherlands to each of these scenarios would depend on the degree to which climate change as a policy topic is considered a priority in the Netherlands.

Awarding climate change a high priority as a policy topic could cause the Netherlands to take on an active role in climate coalitions of the willing (limited groups of ambitious countries; sectoral approach) and in creating a multilateral framework connecting various topics centred on climate. If other policy topics would be considered more important, national climate policies could still be pursued by increasing ambitions regarding alternative routes that have climate change mitigation as a co-benefit. The alternative routes could combine several benefits for the Netherlands, particularly those related to:

  • air quality and ozone layer protection (health, traffic congestion, urban quality of life);
  • security of supply (more efficient use of resources; innovation)
  • green growth (innovation, opportunities for Dutch business);
  • climate initiatives on sub-national levels, such as climate-related collaboration between cities and societal and corporate initiatives (activating support for climate policies within civil society).