Despite the Paris Agreement helping raise awareness about climate change, many countries that signed the treaty don’t actually do much. Thus, many often describe it as a failure, but would a climate club be any different?
So, what is a climate club you ask? The concept was first thought up by the Nobel Prize winner William Nordhaus and put simply, it is a club of nations that seek to reduce emissions, where members would not impose tariffs on each other that non-member nations face.
This idea fixes the primary problem of the Paris Agreement, of which there are no repercussions for members that do not reduce emissions. In the climate club scenario, members who do not lower emissions will suffer trade tariffs.
This will force nations to make changes, otherwise, they will face economic consequences.
Germany Is Trying To Get the G-7 To Become the Founding Members
For those unaware, the G-7 is a group of the seven of the most advanced economies in the world consisting of the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and additionally the EU as a whole.
Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has been vocal about putting a bigger priority on the climate. And he wants his nation to be remembered for creating a coalition of nations that will work toward reducing emissions.
If these nations were to create a climate club, it would be something that no nation in the world could ignore as it represents 46% of the global economy.
However, there are many challenges that stand in the way. For starters, both the US and Japan do not have any form of a carbon tax. This makes putting a price on carbon emissions difficult for the entire group to accept.
The EU is currently in the midst of introducing the world’s first carbon border tariff, which is already facing opposition from China.
There’s no getting around the current state of the world’s economy. Additional tariffs during a high inflation period are not something that would get much support, at least at the moment.
But taking the steps to set up the deal for the future is worth exploring.
The Climate Club Could Be the Answer
Overall, the idea of a climate club makes a lot of sense. It forces trading partners of those nations to either embrace better environmental policies or face economic consequences. And that’s a great motivation for many nations.
The club will be open to any nation (when formally introduced), but it will most likely take some time before it forms. This is assuming it can be created in the near future.
One of the biggest issues facing the Paris Agreement is that members can make their own pledges and suffer no penalty for not achieving them.
While the climate club would have penalties, they would certainly need to verify the information each nation provides. As some nations do not report accurate climate data. Thus, verification is probably the most important aspect.
The climate club has real potential to correct the shortcomings of the Paris Agreement, so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.