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  • Author: James Bacchus
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: There is a looming collision between the rules frameworks of the two separate international institutions that have been created and entrusted with addressing trade and climate change. Links between trade and climate change can no longer be ignored by either the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Neither has considered the consequences of the trade restrictions that are likely to be part of many national measures enacted to address climate change, which will fall within the scope of the WTO Agreement and will surely lead to a lengthy WTO dispute settlement process. Such trade-restrictive national measures will be fed by domestic fears of “carbon leakage” and a loss of national competitiveness, and WTO disputes resulting from such measures will confront numerous unanswered legal questions due to an absence of relevant WTO jurisprudence. To minimize the political risks of such a collision to both the WTO and the COP, and to combine the most benefit for the climate with the least risk to trade, a WTO climate waiver is urgently needed. The adoption of a WTO climate waiver should be only the first of the ways in which WTO members revise and realign WTO rules in accordance with the objectives of sustainable development.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Thistlethwaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes, this task will be challenging. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Birch
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Leaders, negotiators and scientists returned home from the recent United Nations climate change negotiations in Paris with a new mandate: to explore pathways to a world that warms no more than 1.5°C; to finance climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries at a meaningful pace and scale; and, ultimately, to create real policy tools that can deliver prosperity that is not so fundamentally tied to burning fossil carbon. The Paris Agreement is historic in that it is universal (both industrialized and less-developed nations have agreed to the text), a heavy focus is placed on transparency and reporting of progress, and opportunities to periodically reevaluate and ratchet up ambition are built into the process. The ultimate power of this agreement, however, is not in its technicalities and legal implications. Rather, the Paris Agreement represents the manifestation of collective ambition, creating and demonstrating shared norms around the reality of climate change and the responsibility to act. This international process of negotiation and commitment is triggering a wave of conversations about how to reach these ambitious greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation targets. This will require a rapid and fundamental transformation of all sectors, including the design of urban spaces and the ways in which we produce and consume energy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Thistlewaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes that employ a range of different standards to measure climate change risks and corporate sustainability, this task will be challenging. But the diversity of schemes also represents an opportunity to assess which practices are effective at improving corporate accountability for sustainability performance, as well as efficient at producing comparable reports that do not unfairly burden reporting organizations. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the FSB and its Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Governance, G20, Regulation, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Basil Ugochukwu
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Actions taken to mitigate and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change must be centred on human rights. This paper analyzes a few examples of national, subnational and corporate climate change policies to show how they have either enshrined human rights principles, or failed to do so. It also examines the challenge of integrating human rights principles in climate change actions. Climate change policies, if they are to respect all human rights, must actually use human rights language to articulate adaptation or mitigation measures.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maria Paniezi
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Carbon taxes become relevant for international trade when they are coupled with border tax adjustment (BTA) legislation for imported products. BTAs are intended to level the playing field between domestic and foreign products, but such tax schemes, if not designed properly, can be found to violate a country’s international commitments before the World Trade Organization (WTO). This paper argues that environmentally conscious governments can impose a WTO-compatible BTA to offset domestic CO2 legislation, and that federal governments need to engage in coordinated efforts to harmonize treatment of high CO2 emitters domestically, since domestic industries will not bear the burden of environmental regulation alone.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Runnalls
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 is designed to produce the next round of climate change action. There are reasons to believe that the chances for success at the multilateral level are better now that they were before, but even under the most optimistic scenarios, Paris will not be the end of the negotiations. The Paris summit will be crucial to maintaining the momentum that has been building in the private sector and civil society on the issue of climate change. COP 21 has generated an enormous amount of public interest. Civil society actions both before and during the Paris meeting promise to be on a grand scale. In addition, COP21 has excited action from a number of other levels of government not normally seen at these events. Leaders of the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD have all stated that climate change is the principal economic issue facing the world this century. There is a growing realization among the world's economic decision makers that the shift to a low-carbon economy is not only a necessity, but also may be less costly than we believe. The need to identify both public and private financing solutions is the greatest hurdle facing the Paris COP. CIGI's climate change research is tackling the issue of financing sustainable development, in addition to how agreements can be reached by smaller countries, how to address the problems of the delayed benefits from mitigation, ways that China can exercise leadership in this arena, and how the world's financial institutions can help mobilize climate finance from the private sector.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Regulation, Financial Markets, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew Sheng
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Central banks, when purchasing financial assets, should consider selecting assets that will promote sustainability, including climate change mitigation and adaptation. During the 2008 financial crisis, central banks deployed unconventional means to rescue failing banks and insulate economies from depression. Their asset purchases have had strong social impacts, but traditionally, central banks have not explicitly factored social objectives into their decisions or evaluated their impacts beyond the narrow monetary domain. Social impact investing is consistent with a central bank’s mandate to maintain price stability, but those not yet ready to move in this direction should at least incentivize bankers and asset managers to invest in, or lend to, climate mitigation activities and low-emission growth, as well as support a financial transaction tax.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Arunabha Ghosh, Anupama VijayKumar, Sudatta Ray
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: With halting progress in climate negotiations, there are growing calls for partnerships among self-selected pools of countries, in the expectation that they would facilitate consensus (among both developed and developing countries) and result in faster decision making. In critically examining such a claim, this paper asks: what kinds of partnerships could facilitate coordinated climate-related action across several countries? By focusing largely on technology partnerships (a key demand in climate negotiations), it examines characteristics of successful partnerships and the conditions under which they are created and sustained. While the motivations of existing partnerships are diverse, their functional scope has remained limited. A review of more than 30 initiatives reveals that very few had been designed to extend beyond sharing knowledge and some preliminary research and development activities. Even fewer had enlarged functional focus on actual transfer of equipment, joint production or extensive deployment mandates. The paper intensively analyzes the purpose, membership and governance of four partnerships. Drawing on their lessons, the paper identifies critical features — appropriate financing, leveraging capacity, flexible intellectual property rules and coordination across several institutions — which could become the foundation of new partnerships to deliver measurable action and possibly increase trust among negotiating parties.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi , Kelsey Shantz
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in five areas of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on development; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change. In this year’s survey, 31 CIGI experts conclude that international economic arrangements continue to show a level of “status quo,” averaging a score of 50% across all five areas. The 2015 survey indicates a slight improvement to the result of last year’s survey, which suggested a minimal regression overall. The experts’ assessment of progress was most promising in the area of climate change cooperation, with an average score of 57%, whereas the least promising area was macroeconomic and financial cooperation, with a score of 44%, indicating minimal regression. The remaining three areas polled all fell within the “status quo” range, with trade at 46%, development at 48% and international cooperation on financial regulation at 53%. Interestingly, in the area of cooperation on development, CIGI’s experts provided a relatively mixed assessment. Responses varied based on experts’ perception of the effectiveness of current rhetoric, from 70% (indicating some progress) to 10% (suggesting major regression). Compared to last year, climate change governance has made the greatest improvement, but the remaining three areas (with the exception of development, which was not included in the 2014 survey) have all, on average, regressed further or remained stagnant. This trend is cause for concern.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus