New opportunities for global climate diplomacy

Five years after the conclusion of the Paris Agreement: a statement by MCC Director Ottmar Edenhofer and a new MCC Policy Brief with findings from cooperative research.

Historical moment: the Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015 (with then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the centre of the picture). | Photo: UNFCCC


The goal was to hold the global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and if possible 1.5 degrees, relative to pre-industrial levels. This week, it is five years since this historic goal was adopted by the international community in the Paris Agreement, in order to keep climate damages within tolerable limits. To mark this occasion, Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Berlin-based climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change), comments:

"The existence of the Paris Agreement for five years gives us no reason to sit back and relax: the voluntary commitments, submitted by the signatory states to the UN Climate Secretariat since then, are not sufficient to meet the temperature targets. Global cooperation on climate protection has suffered in recent years, but at least there are now new opportunities for global climate diplomacy. The three biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – China, the US, and the EU – have all recently declared the target to be "net zero" emissions. The major economic stimulus packages of the industrialised countries in the wake of the coronavirus crisis offer additional resources for climate financing. And in the current situation, it seems realistic to expect that the instruments of the Paris Agreement will finally be expanded and modified as necessary. To this end, cooperative research provides viable policy approaches based on transparency, reciprocity, and burden-sharing."

A new MCC Policy Brief outlines a better way to implement the Paris Agreement of 2015. In future, the signatory states should define their voluntary commitments in the form of a carbon price. Coordination between the EU, the US, and China should also be based on minimum carbon prices. And the global climate financing, of around 100 billion euros per annum, should be switched to conditional transfers: the rich industrialised countries should support emerging and developing countries in introducing a carbon price or reducing subsidies on fossil fuels, thus strengthening the effectiveness of their own climate policy efforts.

The new MCC Policy Brief on global cooperation in climate protection is available here for reading on the MCC website and here (two pages, 2 MB) for download.