This step in the integrated policy analysis involves taking a high level look at environmental commitment in effect in the jurisdiction of the IEA. Environmental commitments can take different forms. Some are tied to MEAs, regional or bilateral agreements, or expressed through national legislation, strategies or political declarations. Not all commitments have the same force, and the review should focus on those where commitments require action and inaction has potential consequences. There is also a difference in the specificity of the commitments: some are at the level of general political statements, others can be more specific and precise with quantitative, time-bound targets and responsibilities.
Consider the issue of climate change as an example. If your country is an Annex 1 country under the Kyoto protocol, and your country has ratified the agreement, then your national-level government will have a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a certain percentage below 1990 levels by the period 2008–2012. Given such a target, is it quite likely that your country has a national strategy or action plan to reduce GHG emissions, and such a plan would set forth a mix of policy instruments to achieve the target. It is important to note for this climate change example, the target is directed at a direct driver (GHG emissions) and not the state of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. In fact, while the overall goal of the Kyoto protocol is to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of CO2, it only sets out targets addressing the pressure from GHG emissions.
Table 9: Analysis of Canada’s commitments under the Kyoto Protocol
||Goal and target
||Strategy or action plan
||Status of implementation
|6% reduction in GHG emissions by the period 2008–2012 (Kyoto Protocol)
||Climate Change Plan for Canada – 2002
Moving Forward on Climate Change – 2005
|Some policy instruments being implemented, but overall GHG emissions are
Table 9 summarizes Canada’s climate change commitments based on the above description. The exercise below involves the analysis of high level commitments related to an issue selected by participants in their own country.
See Exericise 5.6.4