Press Release: New Report Outlines Options for Negotiating a Post-2012 Climate Agreement

Press Release
December 12, 2007

Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, (703) 516-4146

Recommends a Multi-Track Approach to Commitments
for Major Economies

BALI, Indonesia – The Pew Center on Global Climate Change today released a new report outlining options for negotiating a post-2012 climate change agreement and recommending an integrated multi-track approach in which different commitment types are agreed in a single package.

The new report, Towards an Integrated Multi-Track Climate Framework, is coauthored by Daniel Bodansky, Emily and Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law at the University of Georgia School of Law, and Elliot Diringer, Director of International Strategies at the Pew Center.It was released at a Pew Center side event at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali.

The report builds on the recommendations of the Pew Center’s Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, which brought together 25 senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries.The group’s consensus report recommends engaging all major economies in the post-2012 climate effort through a flexible framework allowing countries to take on different types of commitments (report available at

“The Pocantico dialogue laid out a broad vision of a post-2012 framework, and now we’re looking more closely at how the framework should be structured and negotiated.The key message is that the framework must be both flexible and integrated.While it should allow different commitment types, it will be effective only if these diverse approaches are tightly integrated in a comprehensive package of binding commitments,” said Pew Center President Eileen Claussen.

“As governments in Bali debate the way forward, this report underscores the need for a clear mandate to negotiate commitments for all major economies,” said Claussen.“We need a new process under the Framework Convention, linked to or encompassing the ongoing Kyoto negotiations, leading to a comprehensive agreement with elements under both the Convention and the Protocol.”

Since the release of the Pocantico report in 2005, the Pew Center has produced three papers elaborating specific elements recommended in the dialogue report: Adaptation to Climate Change: International Policy Options; Policy-Based Commitments in a Post-2012 Climate Framework; and International Sectoral Agreements in a Post-2012 Climate Framework. The new report examines how these and other elements are most effectively integrated in a comprehensive framework.

The authors’ analysis draws lessons from other multilateral regimes with “multi-track” characteristics, including the trade regime, Law of the Sea, and agreements on air and marine pollution.In many cases, these regimes were highly flexible initially to encourage broad participation but became more integrated over time to raise the level of effort.In the case of climate change, the authors conclude, the scale and urgency of the challenge will likely require strong integration early on.

The report outlines key variables in designing a multi-track framework, including how commitments are structured and negotiated, and different forms of integration, such as negotiating parameters, common metrics for measuring and comparing effort, rules for entry into force and the evolution of commitments, and systems for reporting, review and compliance.Three alternative approaches are assessed: “individualized commitments,” affording countries the greatest flexibility; “parallel agreements,” providing more structure and integration; and “integrated commitments,” in which countries agree to negotiate within given tracks towards a comprehensive package agreement.

The authors conclude that of the three models, the “integrated commitments” approach is mostly likely to produce a collective level of effort sufficient to meeting the challenge of climate change.While allowing the flexibility of different commitment types, it provides stronger reciprocity and effort, first by establishing agreement at the outset on commitment types, and the countries to which they apply, and second, by requiring that all tracks be agreed as a single package.

The new report, and additional information on global climate change and the Pew Center, are available at