Economy-wide targets for emissions reductions will be an indispensable element of a 2015 agreement, but reaching agreement on ambitious targets is notoriously difficult. The agreement needs to include a mechanism that can facilitate and incentivize increased ambition over time. Such a mechanism should focus on high-potential policy options that contribute to the same general goal: climate change mitigation.
Building on ideas by Höhne et al. (2014b), Barrett (2005) and Sebenius (1984), this brief proposes that the parties to the UNFCCC should unbundle the thorny issue of economy-wide targets and establish a process where they can identify and, on a voluntary basis, implement policy options. This could help parties increase ambition over time.