Global carbon pricing for more effective climate cooperation

Achieving the Paris climate goals requires better international cooperation. A new book, to which MCC Director Ottmar Edenhofer has contributed, explains how this can be done.

Photo: MIT Press


Although the Paris Agreement is the strongest symbol of international cooperation on climate protection so far, the implementation of the agreed targets is still lacking. Instead of individual commitments for emission reductions by each country—which is the way the agreement currently works—there should be a common commitment. This is the proposal of the new book "Global Carbon Pricing: The Path to Climate Cooperation", which has now been published by leading economists and climate scientists from all over the world. Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, contributed to the book. Renowned economics professor Axel Ockenfels from the University of Cologne is one of its editors.

The cornerstone of such a common commitment could be the global pricing of carbon emissions, the scientists suggest. They show that carbon prices, implemented worldwide, would facilitate negotiations, enhance enforcement, improve efficiency and flexibility, and make other climate policies more effective. The authors draw on the work of the late Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom, who showed how the commons can be managed effectively at the local level. In their book, the researchers apply Ostrom's approach to the atmosphere as a global commons.