The political economy of the Paris Agreement on human induced climate change: A brief guide

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


In Paris during December 2015 an international conference of the world’s governments agreed to adopt the text of a treaty to control the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions causing human induced climate change, from 2020 onwards. There appear to be two substantive reasons for hailing this a great success. First, 195 countries and, most importantly, all the major GHG polluters agreed to the text. Second, in Article 2 the Paris Agreement states that parties to the agreement will hold global average temperature increases “to well below 2°C” and “pursue efforts” to limit this to 1.5°C, in order to reduce the risk and impacts from climate change. The central question is, how far does any of this take the world forward in preventing human induced climate change? I will explain the divorce between what the Paris Agreement claims it will do and what governments are actually doing through their commitment to economic growth at all costs. I explore the evolution of policy on limiting GHGs over the last 25 years and reveal the ongoing investment in fossil fuels that is totally inconsistent with addressing human induced climate change. A massive gamble is being undertaken on the basis that no basic social or economic changes are necessary because some future technology will come to the rescue of humanity to miraculously remove generations of pollution from the atmosphere at almost no cost.
Seiten (von - bis)67 - 75
FachzeitschriftReal World Economics Review
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2016