Will leading by example help in mitigating climate change? A comment on ‘the economics of leadership in climate change mitigation’ by Gregor Schwerhoff

Will leading by example help in mitigating climate change? A comment on ‘the economics of leadership in climate change mitigation’ by Gregor Schwerhoff

By: Reingewertz Y.
Published in: Climate Policy
SDGs : SDG 13  |  Units: Social Sciences  | Time: 2017 |  Link
Description: A recent article suggests that ‘the leader (in climate change mitigation) sets an example with the intention of motivati ng others to contribute to the public good’ [Schwerhoff, G. (2016). The economics of leadership in climate change mitigation. Climate Policy, 16, 196–214]. The article further suggests that this leadership role will increase climate change mitigation by followers. Schwerhoff lists three reasons for improved mitigation: reciprocal behaviour by the followers, an increase in the perceived value of climate change mitigation and reductions in costs. I will show several shortcomings in these mechanisms. In addition, I will survey other mechanisms that suggest an adverse effect of leadership on mitigation by other nations. These include free-riding and carbon leakage. The effect of these mechanisms possibly dominates the positive effect of leadership. The leadership role in itself is not projected to increase climate change mitigation in following countries. A more dominant role of the leader, e.g. in establishing Climate Clubs and putting sanctions on non-club trading partners, is needed. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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