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The Lessons of Practice: domestic policy reform as a way to address climate change

The objectives of this paper are threefold: to review experience to date with policy reforms that can help mitigate climate change, to review work on indicators of the effort put into policy reforms and their effectiveness and to draw lessons about how the international community can support developing countries to strengthen domestic policy reform and to reflect the success of those efforts in financial transfers. The proximate motivation is the Bali Action Plan, which suggests that developing countries can adopt mitigation actions, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner (MRV). It is the relationship between policies and measures and the need for MRV that this paper explores.

The paper, by the International Institute of Development Studies, first reviews the experience of national energy policy reform. It focuses on developing country experience, though we note that this experience is hard to assess except against the benchmark of what has been normal practice in the developed world. The second section deals with the experience of assessing selected policy reforms, both in terms of the efforts put into making policy work and the success achieved in reducing energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The third section draws upon the first two to provide ideas as to which areas of policy reform combine promise (in terms of potential effectiveness at mitigating GHG emissions) with the need for measurability, verification and reporting and convincing mechanisms to deliver the necessary technical assistance.

The paper reviews the normal scope of energy policy and concludes that a significant part of energy policy has no strong and consistent correlation with climate change. Policies on security of supply, industrial structure, market rules and ownership may affect GHG emissions, but in a secondary and unpredictable manner. The key policies to consider are price reform, energy efficiency and the promotion of low carbon fuels.

Download the paper here: The Lessons of Practice: domestic policy reform as a way to address climate change