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Cooperation and discord in global climate policy

Nature Climate Change volume 6, pages 570575 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Effective mitigation of climate change will require deep international cooperation, which is much more difficult to organize than the shallow coordination observed so far. Assessing the prospects for effective joint action on climate change requires an understanding of both the structure of the climate change problem and national preferences for policy action. Preferences have become clearer in light of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in December 2015. Although deep cooperation remains elusive, many partial efforts could build confidence and lead to larger cuts in emissions. This strategy of decentralized policy coordination will not solve the climate problem, but it could lead incrementally to deeper cooperation.

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Acknowledgements

We thank T. Dietz, M. Lane, J. Schot, R. Socolow, B. Sovacool, P. Stern and A. Underdal for comments, S. Solomon and M. Oppenheimer for related conversations, and L. Wong for research assistance. R.O.K. is supported by Princeton University. D.G.V. is supported by UC San Diego, the Electric Power Research Institute, The Brookings Institution and the Norwegian Research Foundation.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, 408 Robertson Hall, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA

    • Robert O. Keohane
  2. School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive 0519, La Jolla, California 92093, USA

    • David G. Victor
  3. Global Agenda Council on Governance for Sustainability, World Economic Forum, 91–93 route de la Capite, 1223, Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland

    • David G. Victor
  4. The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20036, USA

    • David G. Victor

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Contributions

R.O.K. and D.G.V. contributed equally to conceiving the article, the analysis and writing.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David G. Victor.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2937