“This time is different”: The prospects for an effective climate agreement in Paris 2015

“This time is different”: The prospects for an effective climate agreement in Paris 2015 / Fergus Green. Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy ; Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, October 2014, 39 p.


Presentation (© Chris Duffy, LSE) :

A question of central importance to preparations for COP21 in Paris is: what sort of policy architecture is most likely to generate sufficiently ambitious action to reduce global emissions?

This paper argues that the oft-heard call for a ‘legally binding’ agreement is too simplistic. It finds that the focus on ‘nationally-determined contributions’, which are unlikely to be binding under international law, is likely to enable the participation, and increase the ambition, of the largest, systemically important emitters, including China and the United States.

Any agreement in Paris needs to have dynamic elements that provide for regular reviews and revision of commitments, so that countries’ ambition can be ratcheted up over time, as technical and political barriers that inhibit higher domestic ambition are overcome.

International cooperation on climate action beyond the main Paris agreement will also be important. Coalitions of countries could seek deeper emissions reductions ‘on the side’ of the formal negotiations with collaborative action that focuses on particular areas, for example coordination of low-carbon innovation and phasing out the use of coal for power generation.

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