'Daring multi-level club solution' could offer key to combating climate change

phys.org | 9/26/2019 | Staff
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'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, rather than just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy.

This is the key finding of a new study by researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain, published today in Environmental Research Letters.

Study - Author - Nick - Martin - UAB

The study's lead author, Nick Martin from UAB, explained: "The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the default facilitator of global negotiations on climate issues. However, due to the logistic limitations of large groups and involvement being essentially voluntary in nature, progress has been slow. Its two most ambitious initiatives—the defunct Kyoto Protocol and the current Paris Agreement—both relied on voluntary actions and were not legally binding. As a result, such climate policies lack global harmonisation and remain weak."

"It's important, therefore, to think about alternatives. A 'climate club' of countries has been suggested as a way to move towards a global agreement that enforces national climate policies through harmonisation.

Idea - Step - Study - Club - States

"We take this idea a step further in our study. Extending a club to comprise sub-national states or provinces that want to implement their own, more ambitious climate policies could allow the inclusion of considerable contributions from important emitters like the US. Given the US's intended withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, this could have a significant impact on overall US emissions by allowing more motivated states to take part."

The 'climate club' model is based on a uniform policy—most likely in the form of carbon pricing. The club would then offer exclusive trade benefits or club goods to members. It could also attract further membership by imposing penalties on imports from non-members, to limit competition from unregulated sources.

Study - Measures - Likelihood - Involvement - Governments

The study used four measures to predict the likelihood of involvement for governments at multiple levels. These included the level of carbon independence, public opinion regarding climate change, government...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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