"This article has sought to build on Yohe’s seminal piece on mitigative capacity, which elaborates ‘determinants’ of mitigative capacity, also reflected in the IPCC’s third assessment. We propose a revised definition, where mitigative capacity is a country’s ability to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions or enhance natural sinks. This capacity can relate either to reducing emissions through climate policy, or making development more sustainable and avoiding emissions. The conceptual framework links mitigative capacity to sustainable development. All response capacities are seen to be rooted in a country’s development path, and making development more sustainable helps avoid emissions. Our conceptual framework groups the factors influencing mitigative capacity into three main sets: economic factors, institutional ones, and technology. Three economic factors—income, abatement cost and opportunity cost—interact to determine mitigative capacity. A greater ability to pay (income) means a higher mitigative capacity. Abatement cost is found to be an important factor in translating capacity into actual mitigation. We show how these parameters vary across countries. Institutional factors that promote mitigative capacity include the effectiveness of government regulation, clear market rules, a skilled work force and public awareness."