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Climatic Change

, Volume 120, Issue 1–2, pp 1–12 | Cite as

A new strategy for global climate protection

  • Richard B. Stewart
  • Michael Oppenheimer
  • Bryce Rudyk
Essay

Abstract

This essay proposes an innovative institutional strategy for global climate protection, quite distinct from but ultimately complementary to the UNFCCC climate treaty negotiations. Our “building block” strategy relies on a variety of smaller-scale transnational cooperative arrangements, involving not only states, but also subnational jurisdictions, firms, and civil society organizations, to undertake activities whose primary goal is not climate mitigation but which will achieve greenhouse gas reductions as a byproduct. This strategy avoids the problems inherent in developing an enforceable, comprehensive treaty regime by mobilizing other incentives—including economic self-interest, energy security, cleaner air, and furtherance of international development— to motivate a range of actors to cooperate on actions that will also produce climate benefits. The strategy uses three specific models of regime formation (club, linkage, and dominant actor models) which emerge from economics, international relations, and organizational behavior, to develop a variety of transnational regimes that are generally self-enforcing and sustainable, avoiding the free rider and compliance problems endemic in collective action to provide public goods. These regimes will contribute to global climate action not only by achieving emissions reductions in the short term, but also by creating global webs of cooperation and trust, and by linking the building block regimes to the UNFCCC system through greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting systems. We argue that the building blocks regimes would thereby help secure eventual agreement on a comprehensive climate treaty.

Keywords

Emission Trading System Dominant Actor Policy Entrepreneur Linkage Strategy International Aluminum Institute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the superb assistance of Rachel Goodwin, Phillip Hannam, Nadia Harrison, and John Mei. Thanks also to Scott Barrett for stimulating this effort to find a fresh approach to solving the climate collective action challenge, and to David Victor, Dan Cole, Rob Howse, Bob Keohane, Jake Werksman, Michael Livermore, Jessica Green, Maria Damon, Chris Faris, and Annie Petsonk for helpful insights.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard B. Stewart
    • 1
  • Michael Oppenheimer
    • 2
  • Bryce Rudyk
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Woodrow Wilson School and Department of GeosciencesPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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