Author: William Nordhaus
Affiliation: Foreign Affairs
Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs
Date/Place: May/June 2020/USA
Type of Literature: Article
Word Count: 3400
Keywords: Global, Climate Club, Kyoto Protocol.
In this article the author identifies the biggest problem and challenge facing all countries of the world—climate change. Referring to the current global Coronavirus pandemic which has crossed borders rapidly, the author warns against ignoring global problems until they threaten to destroy countries that refuse to prepare, and which only cooperate after it is already too late. The author highlights how even after the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met in Madrid, Spain (December 2019), today the world is no further along than it was after the first conference (COP1) in 1995. There is today no binding international agreement on climate change. Criticizing the efforts that have been made by countries since the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Agreement of 2015, the author identifies how the voluntary agreements are weak and have induced “free-riding,” i.e. any agreement is undermined due to the small number of nations that undertake any significant efforts. To change, he proposes a “Climate Club” model that would reconceptualize climate agreements by replacing the current flawed model with an alternative that has a different (meaningful) incentive structure. In the opinion of the author, the existing agreements face many problems such as competition between countries, where states put national interests over global interests. He supports his arguments with a set of theories that explain the behavior of countries on the subject of climate change. The author believes that to stand in the face of global warming, the steps taken must be international, not local, to ensure their effectiveness and seriousness.
By: Taqwa Abu Kmeil, CIGA Research Assistant