Publication of this eBook, incorporating 35 separate chapters, was timed to coincide with the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. As negotiators prepare for Paris, hopes are running high that a new climate agreement will be adopted. But these hopes are tempered by historical experience. For the past 25 years, countries have tried, and failed, to come up with a cooperative arrangement capable of putting the world on a path to limit climate change.
Will Paris be any different? It is too soon to tell, but it seems that Paris will at least provide a foundation upon which the world can build effective action. The new Paris Agreement –assuming one is adopted – will likely reaffirm the global goal of limiting climate change. It will probably create a platform for revealing the actions and targets that countries have pledged to undertake voluntarily. And it will likely track progress towards meeting the collective goal.
The big question is what all of this will add up to. As argued in this eBook, whether Paris ultimately succeeds will depend on whether it gets countries to establish an explicit or implicit carbon price, whether it supports a massive increase in energy R&D, whether it finances a transformation in the world’s energy system, and whether it helps the world’s most vulnerable countries and peoples to adapt. If Paris succeeds, 25 years from now, global emissions should be a lot lower than today, and trending further downwards.
“A few days before the launch of the COP21 climate conference in Paris, this book appears as an indispensable reference for the multiple global warming agenda issues to be discussed there and in the years to come. It provides a rigorous, lucid and exhaustive account of the unprecedented challenges faced by the world in addressing the climate risk as a true global community, but also of the effective and politically agreeable policies for achieving that goal.“
François Bourguignon, Professor, Paris School of Economics and former Chief Economist of the World Bank
“Even if the Paris COP21 proves to be successful in yielding a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, it will still be necessary to do much more than what conceivably would be enshrined in that instrument. This volume is an important contribution for thinking about those additional steps and the substantial predicaments that policymakers are bound to confront as they persevere – as they must – in dealing with climate change. Bravo for the timing and content of this book!“
Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Former President of Mexico and Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
“Climate change is both an unprecedented threat to development and an opportunity for countries to come together to transform the world’s energy system for a sustainable future. COP21 will hopefully lay a foundation for collective action, but follow through will be crucial, and this book is particularly welcome for showing how the world can build on the foundation laid in Paris.”
Kofi A. Annan, Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, 7th Secretary – General of the United Nations (1997-2006)
Interview with Jaime de Melo
Barrett, S., Carraro, C. and de Melo, J. eds. (2015) Towards a Workable and Effective Climate Regime , VoxEU.org eBook, CEPR and FERDI