Emissions Scenarios

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3.7. Policies

3.7.1. Introduction

"Policies" in this report are government policies. They are formulated against the larger background of national and international events and trends, and result from millions of decisions within the existing and only slowly changing cultural, economic, and military balances. Their implementation often poses considerable problems if they represent longer-term interests and insights.

Government policies are among the dynamics that influence population growth, economic and social development, technological change, resource exploitation, and pollution management. While the role of policy has been touched upon occasionally in earlier sections, government policy development can be thought of as a process in itself. The role of policies in SRES needs to be considered, partly because governments are one of the primary audiences for the scenarios and partly because the scenarios are intended to form a reference against which mitigation strategies can be assessed (although, as stated earlier, the SRES terms of reference require the SRES scenarios to not consider any explicit climate policies).

GHG emissions are affected by policies designed for a wide variety of purposes. Perhaps the most obvious are energy policies, but other important policy areas are those of economic development, technology development, education, health, social welfare, transport, industry, agriculture, and forestry. Policies in each of these areas also affect other areas. In each policy area various instruments are used. The choice of instrument may influence both the policy's success in achieving its primary objective and its effect on GHG emissions. Taxes, subsidies, regulations, information-based instruments, and R&D all bring different mechanisms into play and so have different affects.

The remainder of this section is organized around specific policy areas or objectives. It considers major policy issues in each area, and discusses the possible implications for GHG emissions in reference (non-mitigation) scenarios.

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