Environmental Policy and Public Opinion: a Note on Instrument Choice


The Kyoto Protocol will run out in 2012, and the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are preparing to negotiate a new agreement at the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The question of how we can most effectively reduce our consumption of natural resources is more relevant and more hotly debated than ever before. There is a consensus among the parties regarding the excessive consumption of natural resources (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to consumption of clean air). Surprisingly, most agree about the aggregate consumption levels that are needed to prevent or mitigate the most severe consequences of climate change. On the global level, a major topic of discussion has been the distribution of the cost of reducing natural resource consumption. Parties involved in the discussion weigh each country’s historical contribution to the problem on the one hand, and the consequences each country will suffer on the other. Although this is an important question that must be resolved before a comprehensive solution is agreed upon, countries around the world have realised that they cannot wait for such an agreement before springing into action. The question that must be answered right away, then, is: how can countries or regions most effectively achieve reductions in their natural resource consumption?


climate change, Kyoto Protocol, environmental policy

How to Cite

Calel, R., (2009) “Environmental Policy and Public Opinion: a Note on Instrument Choice”, Opticon1826 7. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/opt.070909







Raphael Calel (UCL)





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