Building a More Effective Global Climate Regime Through a Bottom-Up Approach

Richard B. Stewart, Michael Oppenheimer, Bryce Rudyk


This Article presents an innovative institutional strategy for global climate protection, quite distinct from, but ultimately complementary to and supportive of the currently stalled UNFCCC climate treaty negotiations. The bottom-up strategy relies on a variety of smallerscale transnational cooperative arrangements, involving not only states but sub-national jurisdictions, firms, and CSOs, to undertake activities whose primary goal is not climate mitigation but which will achieve greenhouse gas reductions as an inherent byproduct. This strategy avoids the inherent problems in securing an enforceable treaty to secure the global public good of climate protection by mobilizing other incentives - including economic self-interest, energy security, cleaner air, and furtherance of international development - to motivate such actors to cooperate on actions that will also benefit the climate. These bottom-up regimes will contribute to global climate action not only by achieving emissions reductions in the short-term, but also by linking the bottom-up regimes to the UNFCCC system through greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting systems. In these ways, the bottom-up strategy will help secure eventual agreement on a global climate treaty.

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