Conclusions and Recommendations
G8 Environmental Futures Forum 2000
|Environmental Futures Forum participants discussed domestic best practices addressing climate change, drawing upon 81 examples from the G8 countries and the European Commission, in five working groups (energy/industry, household/commercial, transportation, agriculture/land-use/forestry, cross-sector) and plenary sessions. Discussions resulted in the following general conclusions and recommendations from the Forum to G8 countries.
G8 countries have demonstrated that they are implementing a number of best practices that have resulted in significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions. These experiences will be useful to share with non-G8 countries in addition to countries within the G8. We call for further commitment to action by the G8 countries.
In the context of G8 countries undertaking a broad range of policies and measures to address climate change, best practices are understood to represent the optimal or most progressive initiatives among domestic measures undertaken by governments or other social actors within a country. The Forum participants identified valuable characteristics of what they considered to be best practices in order to guide future efforts to address climate change, notably including the following:
* Best practices are often comprehensive packages of policies that function in an integrated way to mitigate climate change.
* They often entail multiple benefits rather than singular outcomes.
* Best practices are those that are suited to national circumstances and achieve results in the area of greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
* Best practices involve all stakeholders and at a variety of levels.
* Their effects are quantifiable whenever possible.
* They are cost-effective.
* They should reflect and aim to stimulate long-term changes in technology.
The Forum also identified the following barriers to the development and implementation of best practices.
* In developing policies and measures to address climate change, it is difficult to properly evaluate benefits of practices.
* Environmental externalities are not fully reflected in market prices.
* Furthermore, stakeholders have competing priorities and may find it difficult to justify climate change efforts when the effects of climate change and measures to address it are not immediately obvious.
* A lack of awareness of the problems posed by climate change and opportunities to address it poses additional problems.
* Stakeholders are reluctant to use new technologies and approaches until they have been proven to address climate change, resulting in delays in taking action.
* Proper signals (e.g., pricing, labeling) are not sufficiently being given to consumers.
* A lack of agreement between stakeholders in terms of issues, priorities, approaches and solutions hinders efforts to develop and implement best practices.
* Finally, a lack of collaboration between sectors presents obstacles to best practices.
Recommendations for further development of domestic measures to address climate change
The Forum recommends that, in order to develop and implement innovative and effective policies and measures to address climate change, G8 countries continue to undertake information exchanges and evaluations regarding best practices. The G8 countries should exchange experiences regarding both successes and failures. In developing their best practices, G8 countries are encouraged to learn from the experiences of other countries with their best practices.
G8 countries may wish to consider the following:
- That G8 countries increase their efforts to utilize comprehensive and integrated policy approaches;
- That G8 countries develop and implement practices and measures which result in multiple benefits not merely limited to greenhouse gas emissions reductions while reducing implementation costs;
- That G8 governments should work to involve all stakeholders early in the policy development process;
- That G8 countries promote cooperation among stakeholders and dialog between producers and consumers to create new and/or expanded markets;
- That G8 countries may influence consumer decision-making through such options as labeling, market signals, and public education of consumers and other intermediary parties;
- That G8 governments design practices and measures with the acceptability to stakeholders in mind in order to increase the degree of take-up of such measures by those stakeholders;
- That G8 governments design and implement regulatory, voluntary, and informational measures and economic incentives to promote desirable behavior;
- That G8 countries promote an increased emphasis on community-based approaches and local initiatives;
- That G8 governments at all levels set positive examples for society in areas such as green procurement;
- That G8 countries exchange information on and continue to develop indicators in order to facilitate the identification and evaluation of best practices;
- That G8 countries actively pursue research and development and demonstration (R&D&D) of innovative technologies such as information technologies; and
- That G8 countries make efforts to exchange, disseminate, and share experiences with other countries, including developing countries, in cooperation, wherever practicable, with relevant international organizations.