Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

New Methods for Comparing Levels of Effort: A Side Event at COP20 in Lima

Date and Time
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Japan Pavilion, Lima, Peru


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The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University will co-host a side event at the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference 20th yearly session of the Conference of Parties meeting in Lima, Peru. 

During the 2013 COP19 in Warsaw, participating countries discussed the development of a global climate change agreement that would be finalized in Paris in 2015. To prepare for Paris, countries are developing nationally determined contributions (NDCs), representing the emissions reductions each country feels it can achieve.

Comparing levels of effort represented by the NDCs is a challenging exercise, given the heterogeneity of the proposed actions of various countries. Nonetheless, meaningful comparison of those proposals is critical for a collaborative and functional negotiation process around the agreement. Rather than using a single metric, experts suggest that a better approach would be to decide on a set of principles that the metrics should follow, evaluate metrics against those principles, and score commitments on the basis of several metrics.

Scholars from Resources for the Future (RFF), Japan’s Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, Harvard University, and Duke University have better refined the analytics underlying ex ante and ex post evaluations of NDC proposals and performance.  The partners will present their modeling framework for empirical scoring of NDCs, as well as their application of these tools to develop scores for a subset of proposed contributions.



  • Keigo Akimoto, Group Leader, Systems Analysis Group, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, and Guest Professor, Graduate School of Art and Science, the University of Tokyo
  • Joseph Aldy, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and Nonresident Fellow, Resources for the Future
  • Raymond Kopp, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of RFF’s Center for Energy and Climate Economics, Resources for the Future
  • William Pizer, Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Faculty Fellow, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University; University Fellow, Resources for the Future