Beyond a Global Deal: A UN+ Approach to Climate Governance

GGF 2020 Climate Change Working Group

April 2011


A global agreement on binding emissions reductions is unlikely, but progress in fighting climate change can still be made through a patchwork of initiatives and commitments by forward-thinking countries, subnational governments, international organizations, businesses and civil society. That is the conclusion of the GGF 2020 climate change working group in their final report Beyond a Global Deal – A UN+ Approach to Climate Governance.

The working group is composed of experts from China, Germany and the United States working on climate change in academic, industrial and governmental capacities. From January 2010 to 2011, the working group applied scenario planning methodology to envision different ways the world might approach the challenge of climate change in the next decade. Their final report outlines the three scenarios as well as policy recommendations that derive from them.

In their report, the GGF 2020 fellows recommend that:

1. The US and China actively support an entrepreneurial “bottom-up” approach that encourages emissions reductions by cities, regions, companies and organizations;

2. The private sector and civil society focus on building cross-national partnerships to lead where governments cannot, adopting voluntary emissions-targets at the firm, sector and industry levels;

3. The European Union shape a “coalition of the ambitious” of countries committed to aggressive emissions reductions, while using both diplomatic and economic incentives to promote participation by other countries and non-state actors;

4. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change expand beyond its state-centric and consensus-based structure to one that explicitly encourages a wider variety of approaches to climate governance.