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px1930c.jpg Pedro Molina

A New Climate-Policy Paradigm

The December 2015 UN climate-change negotiations in Paris are almost certain to fail, bringing about the demise of the current top-down approach to climate policy. To save international climate policy from irrelevance, the EU must develop a Plan B that promotes a bottom-up approach focused on emissions reduction.

BERLIN – Let’s be serious: the ongoing United Nations climate negotiations will probably fail. To be sure, as with the recent gathering in Bonn, expectations for the November climate conference in Warsaw are so low that there is almost no room for failure. But, with climate negotiators promising to deliver the global agreement that they could not deliver in Copenhagen in 2009, the December 2015 summit in Paris is almost certain to be another debacle.

For the European Union, the leading authority in international climate policy, the outcome of the Copenhagen summit was particularly disappointing. After years of negotiation and numerous scientific-assessment reports, delegations had the highest expectations for concluding a comprehensive climate treaty. Those expectations turned out to be illusory.

This time will not be different. While an agreement might be reached in 2015, it will probably not cover all major emitters, and it definitely will not be ambitious enough to achieve the overarching goal of international climate cooperation, which is to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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