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Climate change mitigation policy paradigms—national objectives and alignments


The aim of this paper is to assess how policy goals in relation to the promotion of green growth, energy security, pollution control and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions have been aligned in policies that have been implemented in selected countries during the last decades as a basis for discussing how a multi objective policy paradigm can contribute to future climate change mitigation. The paper includes country case studies from Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union (EU), India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea and the United States covering renewable energy options, industry, transportation, the residential sector and cross-sectoral policies. These countries and regions together contribute more than two thirds of global GHG emissions. The paper finds that policies that are nationally driven and that have multiple objectives, including climate-change mitigation, have been widely applied for decades in both developing countries and industrialised countries. Many of these policies have a long history, and adjustments have taken place based on experience and cost effectiveness concerns. Various energy and climate-change policy goals have worked together in these countries, and in practice a mix of policies reflecting specific priorities and contexts have been pursued. In this way, climate-change mitigation has been aligned with other policy objectives and integrated into broader policy packages, though in many cases specific attention has not been given to the achievement of large GHG emission reductions. Based on these experiences with policy implementation, the paper highlights a number of key coordination and design issues that are pertinent to the successful joint implementation of several energy and climate-change policy goals.

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This work has been supported by the European Climate Foundation and UNEP DTIE. The findings, suggestions and conclusions presented in this paper are entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed in any manner to the European Climate Foundation and UNEP DTIE. Special thanks are due to Bert Metz and Kaveh Zahedi.

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Correspondence to Xianli Zhu.

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Halsnæs, K., Garg, A., Christensen, J. et al. Climate change mitigation policy paradigms—national objectives and alignments. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 19, 45–71 (2014).

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