Mistra Indigo – an important contribution to the global climate policy framework

During four years of intense study the Indigo Mistra research project has scrutinized economic and political instruments that might able to halt climate change. Initiatives taken by both individual states and new business interests show some promise. On March 10, Mistra Indigo hosted its concluding conference in Stockholm.

The Paris Agreement has once again placed climate change on the agenda. Research carried out by the Mistra Indigo project has been just as dynamic as the global climate polices it was tasked to study. Analyses of EU and US realpolitik, direct insights into UN negotiating processes and strong links with industry initiatives and interests mean that the Mistra Indigo research has been both up-to-date and at the forefront of progress.

One of the success factors behind the research has been the extensive collaboration that has existed between IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, the School of Business at the University of Gothenburg and Washington-based organization, Resources for the Future, RFF.

Dallas Burtraw from RFF was one of the speakers at the conference.

In light of the research carried out by Mistra Indigo, how do you rate the possibility of achieving the 2-degree target?

Climate change seems to be taking place much faster than many of us have predicted. But the rapidly accelerating development of renewable technology gives us some rays of hope. Equally important is the progress being made in individual countries. Mistra Indigo’s research suggests that the formation of coalitions around national and regional policies is a necessary prerequisite for meaningful global targets. The self-interest that each country showed in Paris gives me hope that it is possible to achieve a lot when driven by common needs.

A uniform global carbon price would seem to be the most efficient way of quickly and radically reducing emissions. Why is this so difficult to implement?

Historically, we have rarely seen problems that have occasioned major social disturbances solved by a common pricing policy. But setting a price on carbon is essential because this will substantially leverage efficiency gains. Up until now many advocates of carbon pricing have unfortunately presented it as an exclusively political alternative. Progress lies in understanding how pricing and non-pricing instruments can be made to complement rather than exclude one another.

The final conference on May 10th, where Dallas spoke, was the concluding event for the Mistra Indigo program. The researchers will now take the knowledge that Mistra Indigo contributed to and continue their research within new settings.

Updated: 2016-03-21

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