The political economy of climate change negotiations

What factors affect countries’ commitment to mitigating climate change?

Climate change agreements are negotiated by countries at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but countries differ greatly on who should bear the cost of mitigation initiatives: the greater the costs, the stronger the opposition from the country. These differences are particularly marked between least-developed, developing and developed countries. A recent report by UNFCCC warns that the international community has only 15 years to arrive at climate change accords and implement them before it is too late.

The intervention

Friction between developing and developed economies is the main impediment to progress on climate change agreements. What drives the positions of countries on different aspects of climate change agreement, such as greenhouse-gas reduction, the adaptation fund and voluntary commitments? What factors determine the bargaining power of various countries? This study aims to create a novel dataset of national positions and the bargaining power of countries during negotiations of climate change mitigation treaties.

The impact

This research will provide insights into the factors that determine the commitment of countries towards mitigating the effects of climate change and help identify factors that correlate with the bargaining power of countries in the negotiations. Climate change is one of the world’s most pressing challenges: any research endeavour that contributes to its solution could, literally, help save the planet.

Varun Sharma is a PhD student in Finance, graduating class 2022 at London Business School. Varun’s research interests lie in the field of financial intermediation and political economy. Currently, Varun is focusing on understanding the role institutional, as well as individual, investors and activists can play in improving the environmental impact of firms.

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