International climate cooperation is critical, but not for the reasons you might think

Policy Brief

16/07/2015

Policy Viewpoint by Fergus Green is Policy analyst and Research Advisor to Professor Stern at LSE (London School of Economics), Grantham Research Institute.

It is often assumed that comprehensive international cooperation is essential to tackling climate change. After all, it is a global problem and action by all countries is necessary to avoid potentially catastrophic changes to our planet. But the greatest barriers to avoiding dangerous climate change can be found at home, within individual countries.  International cooperation needs to adapt to this reality.

When representatives from more than 190 countries meet in Paris this December to agree on an international deal to tackle climate change, some may see the objective as sharing the ‘burden’ of cutting emissions among countries. But this is the wrong way to look at international climate cooperation.

Global inaction on climate change has traditionally been attributed to countries limiting the extent of their own action, preferring instead to ‘free-ride’ on other countries cutting global greenhouse gas emissions. This follows a flawed belief that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is a costly pursuit for minimal gains. For the most part, this is simply not true. Actions to cut greenhouse gas emissions are mostly in countries’ economic self-interest. 

Read the Policy Viewpoint

Find all related publications
Publications
28/05/2024

The real effects of Next Generation EU

Recovery Watch Series
22/05/2024

A positive narrative for a Just Transition

An approach to a more people-centred communication
15/05/2024

Ecosocial food policies – proposal for a new social-democratic approach

FEPS YAN series
13/05/2024

How can RepowerEU consolidate recovery?

Recovery Watch series
Find all related Progressive Post
Progressive Post
22/05/2024

Navigating the greenlash

Putting people at the heart of climate action in Europe
27/02/2024

European agriculture: it’s about farmers’ income, stupid!

08/02/2024

A just transition in crisis mode

Find all related events
Events
Upcoming
24/06/2024
Košice, Slovakia

Who will pay for the green transition?

Past
13/06/2024
FEPS HQ, Brussels (Hybrid)

Advancing an Energy Minimum Right

15/05/2024
FEPS HQ, Brussels

A new narrative for a just transition?

Policy study launch
Find all related news
News
24/01/2024

Spanish Minister Teresa Ribera awarded FEPS ‘Progressive Person of the Year’

11/07/2023

A new social contract for the well-being of people and the planet

Call to action on Just Transition
07/02/2023

New study on how and why social issues have increased in prominence during the EP negotiations

Progress towards inclusive economic transition but need for further improvements in terminology and framing of vulnerable groups
13/01/2023

New manifesto giving international impetus to Lula da Silva’s environmental policy

FEPS President, among the 50 scientists and former politicians from Brazil and Portugal who signed the manifesto
Find all related in the media
In the media

Ласло Андор: Европа трябва да създаде нов модел за икономически растеж

by dir.bg 14/03/2024
'Europe must create a new model for economic growth'. Interview by Laszlo Andor, FEPS Secretary General

Цената на прехода – зелен, дигитален и демографски

by BNT 13/03/2024
'The cost of transition - green, digital and demographic' BNT Interview with László Andor about the three major transformations the world is facing.

Teresa Ribera, premiada por su labor en política internacional

by El Plural 26/01/2024
Teresa Ribera has been recognized by FEPS with the 'Progressive Person of the Year' award during the launch of the 'Progressive Yearbook.' Article by El Plural

Teresa Ribera, premio ‘Progressive person of the year’ por su labor en política internacional

by Europa Press 26/01/2024
Teresa Ribera has been recognized by FEPS with the 'Progressive Person of the Year' award during the launch of the 'Progressive Yearbook.' Article by Europa Press