Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Regulating Soot and Methane in the Arctic: Implications for Health, Climate, and International Policies (David Victor)

Oct 13, 2017
IBES 015

Speaker: David Victor, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego

There is growing attention to the opportunities to create effective global cooperation on climate change through small clubs of countries, where it is easier to forge and implement deals needed for policy coordination. The arctic region is especially attractive for this approach because it is dominated by a few countries. Focusing on short-lived climate pollutants that have near-term climate and other local impacts is especially promising, as it may create stronger political incentives for the countries that emit these pollutants and those harmed to cooperate. We quantify the gains from club cooperation on soot and methane and find that close to 90% of the technical potential for abating soot can be reached by countries acting in self-interest alone because soot causes large local harms along with warming. Abating methane, by contrast, requires more strategic cooperation because impacts are more diffused geographically. We also find that well-designed clubs with as few as three members can realize close to 80% of the full group cooperation potential for reducing these pollutants. The pivotal player in every effective club is Russia—most other Arctic Council members offer little leverage on the problems at hand.

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