Report for the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Report for the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Published: 2018

Authors: Ruben Lubowski and Robert Heilmayr

The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements released a volume of fifteen briefs examining approaches to international cooperation in East Asia to address climate change. Most authors were participants in a research workshop conducted by the Harvard Project on September 27, 2017, and the volume builds upon the discussions in that forum. Authors are social scientists (economists, political scientists) and legal scholars who have studied climate-change policy, plus several policy practitioners. They are based in Japan, New Zealand, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The volume includes a chapter Climate Teams: A New Model for Investor-Host Climate Cooperation (from page 73). The key points of this chapter are:

  • Some countries are willing to transfer significant resources to increase the speed of others’ transition to zero net carbon emissions. No effective, credible international mechanism that can be applied to emission reductions in all sectors currently exists to do this, but the cooperative approaches of Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement provide space for innovation.
  • A “climate team” offers one model to enable host (low marginal cost) and investor (high marginal cost) countries to cooperate to genuinely reduce global emissions and enable more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in both.
  • A large (national- or jurisdictional-) scale climate team agreement can more easily demonstrate additionality of mitigation and avoid leakage. Such an agreement can take advantage of existing commitments (NDCs as a basis for crediting baselines) and monitoring (national inventories), thereby increasing transparency and reducing administrative costs.
  • Transformational change requires significant policy changes and large investments, which can be both economically and politically costly. The climate team model gives the host country confidence that it will receive an acceptable return if it successfully reduces emissions.

Academic citation:  Kerr, Suzi, Ruben Lubowski and Robert Heilmayr. (2018) ‘Climate Teams: A New Model for Investor-Host Climate Cooperation’ in Stavins, Robert N., and Robert C. Stowe, eds. International Cooperation in East Asia to Address Climate Change. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, February.