CAMBRIDGE MA. – Kelley Kizzier, who served as a lead European Union (EU) negotiator in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), expressed her hopes for progress on international climate policy in the newest episode of “Environmental Insights: Discussions on Policy and Practice from the Harvard Environmental Economics Program,” a podcast produced by the Harvard Environmental Economics Program. Listen to the interview here. A full transcript of the interview is available here.
Hosted by Robert N. Stavins, A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy and Economic Development at Harvard Kennedy School and director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Environmental Insights is intended to promote public discourse on important issues at the intersection of economics and environmental policy.
Kizzier has worked on EU and international climate issues for many years, playing a major role in negotiating issues related to international cooperation through carbon markets, transparency and accounting under the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and ultimately, the Paris Agreement. She recently served as the UNFCCC co-chair for the UN climate negotiations regarding Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and now serves as Associate Vice President for International Climate at the Environmental Defense Fund.
In addressing a question about the postponement of COP-26 in Glasgow, Scotland, originally scheduled for November, 2020, Kizzier remarked that “the postponement of the COP should not delay urgent action by countries to step up their ambition. And I hope that no one finds comfort in that delay, that we are still urgently looking to up our game in terms of ambition.”
Kizzier cited several recent positive developments in international climate policy, particularly in the EU where a new “Green Deal” may be implemented. The Deal stipulates even more significant carbon emission reductions than the 40% cut that was previously promised by the EU member states.
“It's a centrist acceleration of established EU climate policy,” Kizzier said. “And through that, they have announced that they're going to take that target to 50 or even 55% reduction by 2030 [as compared with 1990 levels].”
Looking forward to the re-scheduled COP-26 in 2021, Kizzier expressed her optimism that nations will be prepared to finalize the rules of international climate policy cooperation (and carbon markets) under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
“COP-26 is about ambition, and it's going to be important, in that context, to push for us to complete The Paris Rulebook. Because the rules matter, and we can't afford to lock in carbon market rules that undermine the integrity of the targets,” she said. “Agreement on these rules, as important as it is, should not be a barrier to action. We simply can't afford delay.”
Kizzier’s interview is the 12th episode in the Environmental Insights series, with future episodes scheduled to drop each month.
“Environmental Insights is intended to inform and educate listeners about important issues relating to an economic perspective on developments in environmental policy, including the design and implementation of market-based approaches to environmental protection,” said Stavins. “We speak with accomplished Harvard colleagues, other academics, and practitioners who are working on solving some of the most challenging public problems we face.”