Expectations for a new climate agreement

With the objective of stimulating timely and open discussion of the current attempt to formulate a new climate agreement—to be reached at the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) in Paris during November of 2015—analysis is conducted of the expected developments in the lead-up negotiations. Based on the assumption that the architecture of the agreement will likely involve voluntary pledges and ex-post review (akin to the Copenhagen Accord), the domestic policies and measures expected to underlie national negotiating positions are described. Applying a global economic model, the effect of these Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) on global greenhouse gas emissions is assessed. The analysis shows that an agreement likely achievable at COP-21 will succeed in a useful bending the curve of global emissions. The likely agreement will not, however, produce global emissions within the window of paths to 2050 that are consistent with frequently proposed climate goals, raising questions about follow-up steps in the development of a climate regime.