Regulating Post-Paris Climate Cooperation - The Geopolitics of Transparency, Flexibility, and Common Timeframes

CIEP, May 2021
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The Paris Agreement created a regulatory framework for international climate action. Yet, the geopolitics of rule interpretation threaten to undermine global oversight of how the parties implement their self-defined commitments. This paper discusses disagreements about rules regarding (1) the scope of transparency, especially the undefined notion of “flexibility” in this context, and (2) timeframes for the implementation of national policies. The decarbonisation of the energy system is a governed transition. Rules to structure this transformation matter, domestically and internationally. The paper argues that strengthening these rules is vital for timely global climate action and trust building. A more concrete definition of common timeframes is needed to foster the predictability of national energy and climate policy trajectories. The 2021 climate negotiations need to fortify these rules to help fulfil the high expectations that people have for international climate cooperation under the Paris Agreement.