US-Proofing the Paris Climate Agreement

US-Proofing the Paris Climate Agreement

Friday, 9 December 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

What can be done if a future US President withdraws from, or attempts to undermine from within, the Paris Climate Agreement? It is a question that has tragically become all too important with the election of Donal Trump. It is a critical question for an agreement which relies on universal participation for legitimacy and to create a ‘market signal’. The US can, and likely will, withdraw from either the Paris Climate Agreement (4 years) or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 1 year). For now, the Paris Agreement is vulnerable to the recalcitrance of the US, or any other major party. It possesses no non-party measures or effective compliance mechanism, although it can be amended to remedy this Achilles heel. Through amendments to Article 6 a market link between subnational states in the US and international carbon markets could be created. Ideally, a more semi-global approach with punitive trade measures could be taken to help US-proof an alternative climate agreement or ‘climate club’. The Paris Agreement will be vulnerable to a renegade US unless amendments to the treaty are made or outside actions are taken. Relying on the good will of a single president is short-sighted. Longer-term climate governance needs to take seriously the threat of non-parties, particularly if they are superpowers.

Event Location: 
Fritz Loewe Theatre
School of Earth Sciences, Elgin Street
3010 Parkville , VIC
Australian National University

Luke is a lecturer in climate and environmental policy at the Fenner School of Environment and Society and Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (ANU), and a Senior Economist with Vivid Economics. He is a specialist in environmental and climate policy, having advised the Australian parliament on the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. He holds both a Doctorate in Political Science (2016) and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with first class honours from the ANU (2011). As a consultant, he has worked for a range of public and private clients including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. He is a regular media commentator and his research has been covered by international media outlets such as the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New Yorker and the New York Times.

Web tools and Projects we developed

  • Open-NEM

    The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.

  • Paris Equity Check

    This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.

  • liveMAGICC Climate Model

    Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.

  • NDC & INDC Factsheets

    Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.