Participation, ambition and compliance: can the Paris Agreement solve the effectiveness trilemma?

Article by Vegard Tørstad, published in Environmental Politics.

Abstract

An effective climate agreement should simultaneously foster broad participation, high ambition, and sufficient compliance: this is the ‘effectiveness trilemma’. While the Paris Agreement has been acclaimed for spurring universal participation, its mitigation mechanism – an unenforced bottom-up framework of voluntary pledges – has been criticized for lacking ambition and incentivizing free riding. Does the Paris Agreement come with effectiveness trade-offs? How ambitious is the Agreement, and how likely is it that countries will comply with it? Using an effectiveness formula to assess ambition, I find that the Paris Agreement constitutes an important improvement compared to business-as-usual. Further, based on evidence from interviews with 21 climate negotiators and observers, the compliance prospects of the Agreement are evaluated as moderately positive.

I conclude that the Agreement has the potential to overcome the effectiveness trilemma, and outline policy measures for achieving that objective.

The full article can be found here

Tags: Environment
Published Jan. 9, 2020 12:51 PM - Last modified Jan. 9, 2020 12:51 PM