This section reviews the trajectory of past UN negotiations and will chronicle the upcoming climate summit in Paris in December 2015.
- Negotiating the Kyoto Protocol
- This began with the best of intentions to negotiate a common commitment of something like a 5% emission reduction below 1990 levels for all Annex I (developed) countries.
- This proved impossible, so many other such formulas were tried over the nearly two years of negotiations.
- In the end, no formula could come close to winning agreement.
- This is the inevitable result of attempting to negotiate quantity caps.
- Since Kyoto the world has given up on a common commitment based on caps.
- Yet only a common commitment can solve the fundamental free-rider problem of climate change.
- The Copenhagen Conference of 2009
- Although there was no clear idea at the start, as there had been with the Kyoto Protocol, there were still high hopes for a strong set of quantity/cap commitments.
- Again these hopes were inevitably dashed.
- The Paris Climate Conference of 2015
- ( Current info and documentation on: the Paris Climate Conference 2015⇑ )
- Essentially all parties have now given up on any type of common commitment.
- This is because it is impossible with caps and there is little or no understanding of prices.
- Instead, Paris will produce a collection of hard-to-compare emission caps and promises of NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions).
- The results will be extremely weak because they depend on altruism and lack the ability to change self-interest for the better.
- This situation was explained by Cooper in the first Global Carbon Pricing paper, in 1998:
The wide distribution of expected but distant benefits in response to collective action provides an incentive for every country to encourage all to act but then to shirk itself — the so-called free-rider problem.