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Sequencing to ratchet up climate policy stringency


The Paris Agreement formulates the goal of GHG neutrality in the second half of this century. Given that Nationally Determined Contributions are as yet insufficient, the question is through which policies can this goal be realized? Identifying policy pathways to ratchet up stringency is instrumental, but little guidance is available. We propose a policy sequencing framework and substantiate it using the cases of Germany and California. Its core elements are policy options to overcome barriers to stringency over time. Such sequencing can advance policy design and hopefully reconcile the controversy between first-best and second-best approaches.

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Fig. 1: Increasing policy stringency in Germany and California.
Fig. 2: Sequencing to overcome barriers to stringency.


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This work was supported by Stiftung Mercator Foundation and Climate Works under the research project AHEAD. The authors thank all participants of the AHEAD project workshops in Berlin and Berkeley for helpful comments, as well as numerous stakeholders from governments, regulatory agencies, business and academia who informed this research via personal conversations.

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Correspondence to Michael Pahle.

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Pahle, M., Burtraw, D., Flachsland, C. et al. Sequencing to ratchet up climate policy stringency. Nature Clim Change 8, 861–867 (2018).

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