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Evaluating Voluntary Climate Change Initiatives by US business and industry compared with the Dutch experience

Evaluatie van vrijwillige initiatieven van het Amerikaanse bedrijfsleven voor het Amerikaanse klimaatbeleid

Synopsis

This report evaluates voluntary climate change initiatives by US business and industry geared to reducing greenhouse gases. We conclude that most of them do not even meet the minimum requirements to be qualified as serious efforts. They lack sufficient information, ambition and direction. Targets are unclear, and in most cases, the information and data fail to assess or even calculate the impact of these initiatives on greenhouse gases. The lack of good governance and transparency at governmental and industrial levels points to a serious gap in the US climate policy framework. Experiences with voluntary approaches in the Netherlands demonstrate several lessons and success factors for improving the effectiveness and feasibility of the US voluntary efforts. An annual assessment, or an official mid-term review in 2007, can contribute to further assessment of progress and make the US voluntary efforts more credible. Following the Dutch experience, these tasks can be effectively delegated to an independent organisation. Finally, a political option to induce compliance is to have the (federal) government develop fall-back policies, including alternative policy instruments or, as a last resort, introduction of financial penalties as punitive measures.
 

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