Diffuse Leadership in the UN Climate Negotiations

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Date(s) - Monday, January 29
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Bren School of Environmental Science & Management


Held in Room 1414.

The Paris Agreement has been hailed as a milestone in the multilateral response to climate change. The announcement by the United States to withdraw from the treaty has put into question the agreement’s ability to stimulate cooperative and effective climate action.

Being the world´s largest economy and second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, the participation of the US is crucial in addressing climate change. While the United States will remain a party to the Paris Agreement until the rules allow for withdrawal (i.e. in November 2020), questions arise on how and to what extent the waning support of the US will affect the cooperation of other states. Will it lead to the assumption of leadership by emerging economies, such as China or Brazil? Or will it reduce the general willingness of states to implement the agreement? What role does the EU play in this situation? Moreover, many of the details of the agreement still need to be finalized. Has the announced withdrawal by the US affected the constructive engagement of countries in negotiating those rules?

This talk will provide an inside perspective from the latest climate summit in Bonn, Germany, November 2017. It will focus on the question of climate leadership in the situation of more diffuse political and economic power distribution.

Christina Voigt is Professor at the Department of Public and International Law, University of Oslo, Norway. She is a leading expert in international climate change law, as well as principal legal advisor to the Government of Norway in the UN climate negotiations, where she serves as lead negotiator for Norway on issues of compliance as well as forest protection in developing countries (REDD+). Professor Voigt is currently spending her sabbatical at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UCSB.

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