ECN publication
The political economy of climate change negotiations and the role of technology
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 26-3-2011
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-L--11-029 Presentation
Number of pages: Full text:
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Presented at: Presentation at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, 25 March 2011.

Climate change, as an international collective action problem, requires international collaboration in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the vulnerability for climate change impacts is highest in countries which hold little responsibility for the problem, while the cost of mitigating climate change is highest in less affected countries. This distributional characteristic of climate change leads to the central barrier of international collaboration: a specific agreement to reduce emissions is not in the interest of those countries that should most urgently act. Successful international agreements need reciprocity, i.e. a perceived equivalence of benefits between parties to an agreement. Agreements on emission reductions do not offer benefits or reciprocity to all parties, so there are weak incentives among parties to comply. This became increasingly clear as the Kyoto Protocol was implemented. So what climate agreement can provide reciprocity to at least the important actors in the climate negotiations? This talk explores whether reciprocity in international climate agreements can be enhanced through international agreements focused on innovation and technology deployment. It also goes into the latest state of affairs of the climate negotiations after the Cancun conference.

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