Exploring National and Global Actions to reduce Greenhouse gas Emissions: Analysis of international constraints and enablers to decarbonisation

Project: Research

Project Details


Limiting global warming to well below 2°C will require going beyond the mitigation efforts intended under the NDCs. In particular, strengthened international collaboration will be essential for increasing economic efficiency while supporting sustainable development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The Paris Agreement offers in Article 6 the opportunity for enhanced collaboration on a voluntary basis. Possible mechanisms include direct bilateral cooperation (e.g., linking emissions trading schemes), a new sustainable development mechanism (e.g. linking climate agreements with agreements on other sustainable issues), and non-market-based approaches (e.g. restrictions on imports from countries that are not reducing their emissions).

But which global governance mechanisms will prove to be most effective? This task will identify and scrutinise multiple alternative design options for global collaboration mechanisms. We will focus on the appraisal their feasibility, and benefit hereby from the input from stakeholder envisaged in WP1. In particular, in assessing the feasibility of different global collaboration mechanisms, we will focus on fairness as a ‘fairer’ mechanism will have more likelihood of success. We will not advance a singular definition of equity or fairness but rather develop an innovative set of multiple criteria for assessing equity, drawing here on the major schools of thought in political philosophy.

First, this task will provide a conceptual framework for the overall collaborative architecture of global climate governance in the post-Paris era. Based on an in-depth meta-analysis of existing literature, combined with a series of senior expert interviews, we will develop four ideal-types of a global climate governance architecture that could emerge from the building blocks of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Our research team will draw also on the findings of the first ten years of operation of the Earth System Governance Project, the social-science oriented research network on governance operating under the auspices of the Future Earth platform. Questions of architectures of global governance, including variant degrees of effectiveness, efficiency, and equity have been a key element in this research alliance, allowing ENGAGE to draw on the cutting-edge state-of-the-art in global governance research.

Second, this task will analyse mechanisms that could help realise the ambitious targets analysed within the ENGAGE project. The team will analyse existing mechanisms in the climate realm but also explore the likely environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency and social equity dimensions of novel, highly innovative mechanisms that could be developed and deployed in the coming years.

These insights on international governance will be translated into narratives of global mechanisms of cooperation regarding climate change. Here, we will build on and expand the concept and experience of the so-called Shared Policy Assumptions (SPAs,[61]) developed as part of the SSP process and helped with translating narratives of global cooperation into specific scenario assumptions in IAMs. Allowing for trade in emission reduction outcomes could be an important measure of international cooperation and this task will help defining bounds in modelling this trade possibility. These scenarios will then be explored with global models, within WP3, and national ones in WP4, to understand what they might imply in terms of emission reductions and technological changes.

This task will produce a report on possible mechanisms that could help realise ambitious emission reduction through enhanced international collaboration and on the set or resulting scenarios to be analysed by global and national IAMs.
Short titleAnalysis of international constraints and enablers to decarbonisation
Effective start/end date2019/11/012021/12/31