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A Role for the G-20 in Addressing Climate Change?

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  • Trevor Houser

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

Following the chaotic Copenhagen conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), policymakers and pundits have discussed the G-20 as an alternative forum for advancing climate change diplomacy. This paper assesses the risks and rewards of tackling climate change in the G-20 and finds that despite its seeming attractiveness, the G-20, as structured, is not a suitable replacement for the UN-led process and has limited ability, at present, to advance climate change negotiations. There is much, however, that the G-20 can do to contribute to the goals of the climate negotiations outside of wading into the negotiations themselves. Building on its existing agenda the G-20 has the power to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate the deployment of clean energy technology, and help vulnerable countries adapt to a warmer world through the mobilization of public and private finance. Following through on the existing G-20 pledge to phase out and rationalize inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, establishing new green guidelines for multilateral development banks, coordinating green stimulus exit strategies, promoting open markets for environmental goods and services, and rebalancing global economic growth all fall well within the G-20's mandate and help meet the climate challenge.

Suggested Citation

  • Trevor Houser, 2010. "A Role for the G-20 in Addressing Climate Change?," Working Paper Series WP10-15, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp10-15
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    File URL: https://piie.com/publications/working-papers/role-g-20-addressing-climate-change
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    Keywords

    climate change; carbon; climate finance; UNFCCC; G20; green stimulus; macroeconomic imbalances; environmental goods and services; multilateral development banks; climate finance; fossil fuel subsidies;

    JEL classification:

    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General
    • Q27 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Issues in International Trade
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • F50 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - General
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements

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