Fixing Climate Governance

Climate scientists agree that human activity has been changing our planet’s climate over the long term. Without serious policy changes, scientists expect devastating consequences in many regions: inundation of coastal cities; greater risks to food production and, hence, malnutrition; unprecedented heat waves; greater risk of high-intensity cyclones; many climate refugees; and irreversible loss of biodiversity. Some international relations scholars expect increased risk of violent conflicts over scarce resources due to state breakdown.

Environmentalists have been campaigning for effective policy changes for more than two decades. The world’s governments have been negotiating since 1995 as parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These talks have not yet produced agreements that are sufficiently effective in curbing greenhouse gas emissions or helping the world adapt to climate impacts. Some effort has shifted to partial measures by national governments, provinces, cities and private companies, which together, also fall far short of the need identified by science so far.  

The Fixing Climate Governance project is designed to generate some fresh ideas. First, a public forum was held in November 2013 (click here for the report).  High-level workshops then developed a set of policy briefs and short papers written by experts.  Several of these publications offer original concrete recommendations for making the UNFCCC more effective.  Others make new proposals on such topics as how to reach agreements among smaller sets of countries, how to address the problems of delayed benefits from mitigation and concentrated political opposition, ways that China can exercise leadership in this arena and how world financial institutions can help mobilize climate finance from the private sector. These CIGI publications appear in chronological order of development below.