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The Paris Agreement: Short-Term and Long-Term Effectiveness


  • Guri Bang

    (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Norway)

  • Jon Hovi

    (Department of Political Science, University of Oslo, Norway)

  • Tora Skodvin

    (Department of Political Science, University of Oslo, Norway)


The 2015 Paris Agreement was widely greeted with enthusiasm. We assess the short-term and long-term potential effectiveness of Paris. Concerning short-term effectiveness, we contend that while Paris scores high on participation, and reasonably high on the depth of the parties’ commitments (ambition), its Achilles’ heel will likely be compliance. Concerning long-term effectiveness, we argue that Paris does little to restructure states’ incentives so as to avoid free riding. At worst, it might end up as a failure, much like Kyoto did. On the other hand, domestic and international norms could continue to develop in a direction that makes it more and more difficult for individuals, firms, and states alike to ignore the plea to limit and reduce their carbon footprints. Technological progress that gradually reduces abatement costs, combined with leadership by major emitters such as the United States, might further strengthen climate cooperation and enhance other countries’ willingness to follow through. However, deep political polarization continues to represent a significant barrier to U.S. leadership on climate change.

Suggested Citation

  • Guri Bang & Jon Hovi & Tora Skodvin, 2016. "The Paris Agreement: Short-Term and Long-Term Effectiveness," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 4(3), pages 209-218.
  • Handle: RePEc:cog:poango:v:4:y:2016:i:3:p:209-218

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aslak Brun, 2016. "Conference Diplomacy: The Making of the Paris Agreement," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 4(3), pages 115-123.
    2. Stine Aakre & Leif Helland & Jon Hovi, 2016. "When Does Informal Enforcement Work?," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 60(7), pages 1312-1340, October.
    3. Robert O. Keohane & Michael Oppenheimer, 2016. "Paris: Beyond the Climate Dead End through Pledge and Review?," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 4(3), pages 142-151.
    4. Scott Barrett, 2008. "Climate treaties and the imperative of enforcement," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 239-258, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jon Hovi & Tora Skodvin, 2016. "Editorial to the Issue on Climate Governance and the Paris Agreement," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 4(3), pages 111-114.


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