Halting climate change requires that emissions go to net-zero globally and the faster the better given that emissions accumulate. All countries need to be on this path. Some countries – ‘hosts’ – have significant opportunities to reduce net emissions in the short term but do not have the resources to make those reductions fast; other countries – ‘partners’ – have resources but their short-term opportunities to meet their mitigation commitments are more limited. If we can bring host and partner countries together in genuine collaboration we can accelerate the global low emissions transformation. I argue that this is a problem that primarily requires building agreements that support and develop trust and sustained relationships rather than mimicking commodity trading systems or linking carbon markets. The ‘climate teams’ mechanism is designed to benefit from existing relationships and strengthen them. Can building a network of small groups of closely collaborating countries create a more robust architecture for cooperation and enable us to stabilize the climate?
Suzi Kerr is the Chief Economist at Environmental Defense Fund. She was, until May 2019, a Senior Fellow, and from 1998 - 2009 Founding Director, at Motu Research in New Zealand.