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Policy Briefs

Creating an Effective, Legally Binding, and Enforceable Climate Club

Task Force: Climate and environment

Rafael Leal-Arcas


An effective, legally binding, and enforceable climate club needs to be immediately created. The climate problem has become a threat to humankind. The historical perpetrators are the western countries, but today increasingly major developing countries. The climate-club solution may prove to be multi-dimensional in that it may have benefits for famine, net greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, air pollution, et cetera. Nobel-prize winner William Nordhaus so aptly highlights how climate mitigation solutions must also be sought outside a multilateralism that, under its current form, has persistently failed to produce a legally binding international agreement on climate change when one considers the 30 years of its life, namely since the early 1990s. Such solutions must be well attuned to the realities of failed multilateralism, including the lack of adequate and binding targets, incentives, and penalties to achieve critical mass in global mitigation efforts, which is why Nordhaus calls for some complementary solution to multilateralism – namely the climate club model – that takes stock of existing pitfalls. The G7 (and G20) is a great platform to create an effective climate club. To solve the issue of potential resistance, membership could be designed in an open / gradual / incremental way.