Paris Climate Talks: Resources From CFR and Foreign Affairs

Senior officials from almost two hundred nations are meeting in Paris, France, for the twenty-first annual United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21), also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Below, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Foreign Affairs magazine offer resources on the challenges of climate change.

November 30, 2015

News Releases

Senior officials from almost two hundred nations are meeting in Paris, France, for the twenty-first annual United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21), also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Below, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Foreign Affairs magazine offer resources on the challenges of climate change.

Five Things to Watch at the Paris Climate Summit

More From Our Experts

In a new Expert BriefMichael A. Levi, CFR David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment and director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, argues that success in Paris is possible, especially if major emitters commit to changing the incentives for producers and consumers of energy. 

Would a Paris Climate Deal Be Legally Binding on the U.S.?

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John B. Bellinger III, CFR adjunct senior fellow for international and national security law, explains the legal ramifications of a potential Paris climate deal in an interview with CFR. “Instead of agreeing to achieve binding emissions targets, the Obama administration is more likely to agree only to a procedural obligation to announce a nonbinding target.”

Symposium Focuses on Strategies for Success

In a recent three-session Climate Change Symposium at CFR, experts from the private sector, academia, and government discussed practical policies and diplomatic strategies for success at the Paris talks. Former New York City Mayor and Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Bloomberg LP Michael R. Bloomberg explained the transformative potential of cities.

Interactive Monitor Gives Multimedia Context to Policy Options

Using videos, dynamic timelines, maps, and briefs, a newly updated component of the Global Governance Monitor covers the scope of the environmental crisis and reviews different policy strategies.

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India Warms Up to Climate Action

“Left unchecked, India’s annual GHG [greenhouse gas] emission could be the highest in the world by 2050,” writes Varun Sivaram in a recent CFR Expert Brief. While India has recently unveiled a comprehensive strategy to curb emissions, many analysts caution that such optimism is unfounded.

Is China Serious About Pollution Controls?

There are signs that change may be underway in China, one of the world’s greatest polluters, explains CFR’s Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health, in a recent CFR Expert Brief.

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Does the Paris Climate Summit Matter?

In a recent Energy, Security, and Climate blogMichael Levi argues that “success in Paris is essential given how it’s been built up in the public and political consciousness—if Paris is seen to fail, it will sap energy from efforts to curb emissions worldwide, whatever those are.”

A Chinese Experiment With Environmental Implications

“To understand the reality of China’s environmental protection effort means looking from the ground up,” write Elizabeth C. Economy, CFR C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies, and Xuehua Zhang, professor at Sichuan University, in the Diplomat.

Cities Should Take the Lead

It is fitting, writes Michael R. Bloomberg in Foreign Affairs, “that cities, the primary drivers and likeliest victims of climate change, hold the antidote as well.” Bloomberg details how “mayors are turning their city halls into policy labs, conducting experiments on a grand scale and implementing large-scale ideas to address problems such as climate change that often divide and paralyze national governments.”

Paris Is Just One Piece of the Climate Change Puzzle

“Unlike the disappointing 2009 conference in Copenhagen, the Paris summit is expected to produce a strong global agreement that charts the next steps in combating climate change,” notes Stewart M. Patrick, senior fellow and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program, on CFR’s Internationalist blog.

Raising Ambition at the Paris Talks

In a recent Council of Councils Global Memo, Chatham House Research Director for Energy, Environment, and Resources Rob Bailey argues that although it is nearly certain the Paris talks will deliver a deal, the real question is “whether Paris can agree [to] a credible mechanism to deliver an early material increase in ambition that keeps the two degrees Celsius goal alive.”

Reducing Deforestation to Fight Climate Change

Drawing from the insights of a workshop hosted by CFR’s Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, this report examines why countries like Brazil have been recently successful in limiting deforestation to fight climate change, and why others, such as Indonesia, have struggled.

Are Fuel Economy Standards Necessary in a Lower-Oil-Price World?

The economic rationale for high automobile fuel economy standards is being challenged by plummeting global oil prices. In this discussion paper, CFR Fellows Varun Sivaram andMichael A. Levi find that there are still significant economic advantages to fuel economy standards.

Bridging U.S. Environmental and Foreign Policy

Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), underlined the successes in U.S. environmental diplomacy and stressed the EPA’s centrality in implementing U.S. environmental policy in a CFR discussion in March.

Policy Options for Addressing Climate Change

Mitchell C. Hescox, president and chief executive officer of the Evangelical Environmental Network, Michael A. Levi, CFR senior fellow for energy and the environment, and Christine Todd Whitman, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, considered what might be realistic outcomes of the Paris climate change conference at a CFR discussion in New York.

Oil Prices, Low-Carbon Energy, and Climate Policy

Experts in state and federal public policy, economics, energy, and the automotive and alternative-fuels sectors considered how lower energy prices could affect the calculus of climate policies and the prospect of cleaner alternative energy. A report produced by the workshop convened by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies presents the experts’ findings.

The Green Book

This comprehensive Foreign Affairs anthology gathers twenty-eight of the magazine’s most influential articles on various environmental issues.

CFR Experts on the Environment and Energy

Blake Clayton, Adjunct Fellow for Energy
Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies
Jennifer M. Harris, Senior Fellow
Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies
Varun Sivaram, Douglas Dillon Fellow

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