ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Carrots, Sticks and More

Climate Clubs

The meeting to draw up a climate change regime for 2020 and beyond in Paris later this year will, as usual, be fraught with overwhelming complexity. Will "climate clubs" be able to offer room for making greater efforts in smaller groups?

Even as the world gears up to put together a climate change regime for 2020 and beyond in Paris later this year, it is highly unlikely that the ambition and scope of such a multilateral deal would be commensurate with the breadth and depth of the climate change problem that creates unrivalled challenges of unmatched complexity (World Bank 2009). Indeed, more than two decades of wrangling under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) bears testimony to the extreme difficulties involved in arriving at a meaningful solution to this complex, multidimensional problem through serious bargaining among too many countries with diverse contributions to the problem, interests and capabilities. This has, of late, triggered a stimulating discussion as to whether it is imperative to cooperate in smaller groups in the form of “climate clubs.”

What are the climate clubs all about? Basically these are the “coalitions of the willing,” that is, a set of countries that are willing to do “more.” The underlying expectation is that such club approaches would offer flexibilities and impact that would be way harder to achieve in a multilateral forum (Victor 2015), thereby creating room for making greater efforts in smaller groups. To the extent the club benefits succeed in generating climatic benefits, say greater climate mitigation, those would of course be public goods.

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