01282020

Climate negotiations ‘need redesign’

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Scientists say the climate summit in Paris is too focussed on self interest

The UN climate negotiations are heading for failure and need a major redesign if they are to succeed, scientists say.

The pledges that individual countries are offering ahead of the Paris climate summit in December are too entrenched in self interest instead of being focussed on a common goal.

The researchers say the science of cooperation is being ignored.

Instead, they say the negotiations should focus on a common commitment on the global price of carbon.

This means countries would agree on a uniform charge for carbon pollution, a scheme that would encourage polluters to reduce their emissions.

The comments from researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK, University of Maryland, US, and University of Cologne, in Germany, are published in the journal Nature.

‘I will, if you will’

Ahead of December’s United Nations climate meeting, individual countries have submitted their plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. These are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – or INDCs.

However, the researchers say that this approach will not work.

Prof David MacKay, from the University of Cambridge, who was former chief scientific advisor to Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said: “The science of cooperation predicts that if all you are doing is naming individual contributions – offers that aren’t coupled to each other – then you’ll end up with a relatively poor outcome.

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