Purpose of the conference

There has been extensive debate among researchers in developed countries whether an emissions trading scheme or carbon tax is the best means to ‘put a price on carbon’. Other economic instruments could contribute to mitigation of Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions indirectly, including tradable certificates for renewable energy or energy efficiency. This conference takes up the debate on how such instruments might apply in South Africa and other developing countries, putting carbon pricing in the context of broader policy on climate and development. This has not been done in depth previously.

The papers included address a variety of themes in this area: Emissions trading, carbon taxes, fiscal and non-fiscal instruments, policy and institutional dimensions, and lessons from the Clean Development Mechanism. The conference thereby deepens the emerging analysis on the use of economic instruments for mitigation in the context of development. In addition, it provides South African and developing country researchers’ perspectives to inform policy-makers.


  • Build on discussions undertaken at a side-event and a workshop at the Climate Change Summit 2009 (see the scoping papers on economic instruments to mitigate climate change in South Africa at,
  • Contribute to the development of climate policy in South Africa, by further exploring practical options for putting a price on carbon,
  • Deepen the understanding of economic instruments, through a conference with peer-reviewed papers,
  • Broaden the community of experts working in this emerging field, by having attracted papers from researchers and analysts in cognate disciplines that are not currently working on carbon pricing
    • including economics and environmental economics, but also
    • researchers working on institutional and political dimensions
  • Draw on experiences and lessons from other countries, in particular
    • other developing countries in their exploration of the same issues in similar contexts,
    • and experiences of implementation in developed countries examining the applicability in the context of development.

Target Audience

The target audience of the conference is researchers from a wide range of disciplines who share in interest in the use of economic instruments to mitigate climate change, as well as South African and other developing country government decision-makers.


This conference builds on discussions undertaken at a side-event and a workshop at the Climate Change Summit in March 2009. The papers below were presented at that side event.