Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Through analysis and dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is working with governments and stakeholders to identify practical and effective options for the post-2012 international climate framework. Read more


Alternative Models for the 2015 Climate Change Agreement

By Daniel Bodansky and Elliot Diringer
Fridtjof Nansen Institute
Climate Policy Perspectives 13
October 2014

A primary goal of the Durban Platform negotiations should be to develop an agreement that will maximize reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over time. Achieving this objective will be a function of not only the ambition of the 2015 agreement, but also the levels of participation and compliance by states. A higher level of ambition will not necessarily make the agreement more effective, if fewer states participate or comply.

In many if not most countries, the climate change issue is driven more by national than by international politics, so the agreement needs to allow states to determine the content of their own commitments. This approach represents a concession to political and diplomatic realities, as well as to the limits of international agreements in influencing countries' behavior in an area so vital to their interests.

At the same time, the 2015 agreement needs to prod states to do as much as possible, through multilateral rules on transparency and accountability that help foster a virtuous cycle, in which states make progressively more ambitious contributions. Thus far, the top-down elements of the hybrid approach remain largely an abstraction. What remains to be seen is whether parties will be able to agree on rules that sufficiently discipline national flexibility and promote stronger ambition.

Read more at Fridtjof Nansen Institute

Published by Fridtjof Nansen Institute
Daniel Bodansky
Elliot Diringer

Structure of a 2015 Climate Change Agreement

Structure of a 2015 Climate Change Agreement

October 2014

By Daniel Bodansky, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University

Download the full report (PDF)

Governments are aiming to produce a new global climate change agreement in 2015 in Paris. Past outcomes
of the UN climate negotiations—like many other multilateral environmental regimes—consist of
packages containing different types of instruments. It is likely that the outcome of the ongoing Durban
Platform negotiations will, likewise, be comprised of multiple instruments. This brief provides an overview
of: 1) the structure of earlier climate packages; 2) key considerations bearing on the choice of instruments
in a Paris outcome; and 3) the range of instruments available to parties.



Toward 2015: An International Climate Dialogue

The Toward 2015 dialogue brings together officials from more than 20 countries for informal discussions on options for a new global climate agreement next year in Paris. Co-Chairs Valli Moosa and Harald Dovland share insights on how the agreement can deliver both broad participation and strong ambition.
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How Climate Summit can build momentum for a global agreement

The last time so many world leaders gathered on the issue of climate change was nearly five years ago in Copenhagen. The hard lesson of that fractious summit: No one moment, and no one agreement, can deliver “the” answer.  We need to advance step by step, on multiple fronts, from the local to the global. And it will take time.

This reality is an important backdrop for the United Nations Climate Summit being convened in New York next week by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

More than 120 heads of state, including President Obama, are expected, and many will come prepared to announce concrete steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Many businesses and nonprofits, some partnering with governments, will also announce new initiatives.

These tangible outcomes will represent important progress in and of themselves. But the larger value of the summit is in focusing leaders on the profound challenges we face, raising consciousness across societies, and building momentum – in particular, toward the new global climate agreement due late next year in Paris.

Building Flexibility and Ambition into a 2015 Climate Agreement

Building Flexibility and Ambition into a 2015 Climate Agreement

June 2014

By Daniel Bodansky, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Elliot Diringer, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

Download the full report (PDF)

This paper explores options for a hybrid approach in the 2015 agreement, focusing in particular on mitigation efforts, rather than the broader array of issues under consideration in the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP), such as finance, technology, and adaptation. It looks at the rationales for a hybrid approach, ways to design hybridity into an international agreement, and how top-down and bottom-up approaches have figured in the UNFCCC’s evolution. Finally, the paper examines the types of top-down features that could complement nationally determined contributions to promote greater ambition, including a long-term goal as a benchmark for evaluating countries’ efforts, reporting and review procedures to promote transparency and accountability, and provisions for updating or initiating the next round of commitments. In so doing, it also considers cross-cutting issues such as timing, the overall structure of the agreement, the differentiation of countries’ obligations, and ways to make the 2015 agreement dynamic and, in turn, durable.


Daniel Bodansky
Elliot Diringer

Climate change poses national security risks at home and abroad

More than a dozen military leaders say the impacts of climate change threaten military readiness and response and will increase instability and conflict around the globe.

Their assessments are included in a recent report, National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change, by the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board. The report’s authors – including 16 retired generals and admirals from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps – conclude that climate change impacts will act as threat multipliers and catalysts. Projected warming, changes in precipitation, sea level rise, and extreme weather events will pose risks to security within the U.S. and abroad.

At home, some of the threats are here and now. Many of the nation’s military installations are in coastal areas vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm surges. For example, the low-lying Hampton Roads area of Virginia is home to 29 military facilities. Sea level in the area is projected to rise 1.5 feet over the next 20-50 years and as much as 7.5 feet by the end of the century. One advisory board member, Brig. Gen. Gerald Galloway, stressed that “unless these threats are identified and addressed, they have the potential to disrupt day-to-day military operations, limit our ability to use our training areas and ranges, and put our installations at risk in the face of extreme weather events.”

Figure 1: Sea level rise projections for the Hampton Roads region, which is home to 29 different military facilities. Source: CNA, 2014

The Green Climate Fund gets ready for business

The Green Climate Fund could start accepting pledges to aid developing countries as early as September, in time for U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon’s climate leaders summit in New York.

At a meeting last month in Songdo, South Korea, the fund’s board resolved a number of key organizational issues, clearing the way for the fund to start its mission as a channel for finance from developed to developing nations for climate mitigation and adaptation.

Finance for developing countries is a perennial issue in international climate negotiations. Many are hoping developed countries will come forward with new financial pledges at the September summit to help build momentum for a new global climate agreement in 2015. Many developed countries had said they would not make pledges until the fund’s organizational issues were resolved.

The Green Climate Fund will be a principal channel for delivering the $100 billion a year that developed countries agreed in Copenhagen to mobilize by 2020. The board, which is made up of representatives from 24 countries, has been meeting since August 2012 to determine how the fund would be organized and would operate.

Bounded Flexibility: Designing a "Hybrid" Climate Agreement

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
C2ES event in BonnBOUNDED FLEXIBILITY:DESIGNING A “HYBRID” CLIMATE AGREEMENT3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.Ministry of Environment, Room SOLAR




Wednesday, June 11,  2014 15:00 – 16:30
Ministry of Environment, Room SOLAR

An emerging paradigm for a 2015 agreement is a “hybrid” model blending top-down and bottom-up elements. Presentations and discussion will explore ways such an approach can provide the flexibility needed to achieve broad participation while also promoting strong ambition.


Professor, Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, Arizona University

Program Director for Energy and Climate, IDDRI

Deputy Director, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Co-operation (NCSC), China


Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Toward a 2015 Climate Agreement

Nations are working toward a new global climate change agreement, to be reached in late 2015 in Paris. C2ES examines key issues in the negotiations, which offer a critical opportunity to craft a broad, balanced and durable agreement strengthening the international climate effort. (Photo courtesy of UNFCCC, via Flickr, trimmed to fit this space).
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International Negotiations: Toward a 2015 Climate Agreement

Delegates at the United Nations Famework Convention on Climate Change Bonn Climate Change Conference in March 2014. Image courtesy of the UNFCCC, via Flickr.

Nations are working toward a new global climate change agreement later this year in Paris.  These negotiations offer governments a critical opportunity to craft a broad, balanced and durable agreement strengthening the international climate effort.

The talks are taking place under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty adopted in 1992 that includes virtually every nation on earth. They will conclude at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in December in Paris.

Launched at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, the talks are aiming for a post-2020 agreement that will have “legal force” and be “applicable to all.”  At COP 19 in Warsaw, countries were urged to present their “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) to the new agreement well ahead of the Paris conference.  The United States and the European Union were among the first to submit their INDCs; others are expected throughout the year.

The broad outlines of the emerging agreement reflect a new model of international climate governance blending “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches to achieve both broad participation and stronger action. (C2ES’s Elliot Diringer explores this new hybrid approach, and prospects for Paris, in a recent article in Nature.)

Core issues in the negotiation include the legal nature of the agreement, differentiation of responsibility among developed and developing countries, ways to strengthen climate adaptation and support for developing countries, rules to ensure transparency and accountability, and ways the agreement can strengthen ambition over time.

C2ES is providing expert analysis of issues and options in the Paris climate negotiations and is facilitating informal discussions among negotiators from key countries through its Toward 2015 dialogue.

C2ES Resources:

These reports and policy briefs provide background on the Durban Platform talks and examine key issues:


Toward 2015: An International Climate Dialogue

C2ES is convening an informal dialogue among senior policymakers from more than 20 countries exploring options for a 2015 agreement. The dialogue is co-chaired by Valli Moosa, former environment minister for South Africa, and Harald Dovland of Norway, former co-chair of the Durban Platform talks.  (See the dialogue overview and participants.)


C2ES Event: The Path to Paris: National Perspectives on a New Global Climate Agreement

C2ES convened top negotiators from China, the European Union, Gambia and New Zealand and  the co-chairs of its Toward 2015 dialogue on April 23, 2015, to discuss the outlook for a climate change agreement this year in Paris.


Video: The Path to Paris: National Perspectives on a New Global Climate Agreement



Harald Dovland, Former Chief Negotiator, Norway, Co-Chair, Toward 2015 Dialogue

Valli Moosa, Former Minister of Environment, South Africa, Co-Chair, Toward 2015 Dialogue

Gao Feng, Special Representative for Climate Change Negotiations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China

Jake Werksman, Principal Adviser, DG Climate Action, European Commission

Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water Resources, Parks and Wildlife, Gambia

Jo Tyndall, Climate Change Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand


Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions


Other C2ES Resources:

Facts about international emissions

COP 20 - Lima

Key Country Policies

Market-Based Climate Mitigation Policies in Emerging Economies

COP Summaries

Post-2012 International Climate Policy

Blog Posts:

The core issues in the Paris climate talks

How the UN Climate Summit in New York can build momentum toward a global agreement

A Crucial Meeting for the Green Climate Fund

Support for a Spectrum of Commitments to a 2015 Climate Agreement

Carbon trading in China: short-term experience, long-term wisdom

The Warsaw outcome: A hint of what’s to come

Efforts to limit aviation emissions advance at ICAO

UN climate talks: Fresh start or stuck in the past?






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