The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2017
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international agreement to limit the total emissions of an entire

global industry sector.

Additional Forums.

In addition to formal multilateral nego-

tiations, processes such as the annual G-20 and G-7 gatherings

have often addressed climate and energy topics, as have regional

groups such as the Arctic Council (the eight countries having ter-

ritory within the Arctic Circle). Specialized entities also focus on

particular topics. Examples include:

Clean Energy Ministerial.

CEM is a minister-level forum

composed primarily of large emitters (among them the United

States, China, India, Russia, Japan and Indonesia, as well as sev-

eral European and Nordic nations). CEM’s 24 member countries

account for 75 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions

and for about 90 percent of global clean energy investments.

CEM hosts an annual forum for ministers, and sponsors techni-

cal programs on key topics such as highly efficient appliances

and lighting, smart grids and low-carbon cooling, many of which

involve the private sector as well as governments.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Cli-

mate Pollutants.

Although carbon dioxide is the principal green-

house gas, other substances also contribute significantly to climate

disruption. Of these, several are more potent but less persistent

than carbon dioxide, most notably methane, black carbon (soot)

and some HFCs. CCAC—a hybrid of more than 50 countries and

more than 50 nongovernmental and intergovernmental organiza-

tions—operates seven sectoral programs and several cross-cutting

programs aimed at reducing emissions of these substances.

U.N. Environment Program Inquiry into the Design of a

Sustainable Financial System.

The UNEP Inquiry catalyzes

engagement of high-level finance policymakers in a process

aimed at revamping financial regulation to support the transition

to low-carbon sustainability. Its reports and national engage-

ment processes prompted China to set up a Green Finance Study

Group in the G-20 and fostered conversations across the World

Bank, IMF and U.N. with the private finance sector.


Non-State Actor Initiatives

As with the prior sections, the following examples are not

comprehensive. Rather, they are illustrative of the range of

climate-based activities organized by non-state actors. Many

more are listed in the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action

(, a database outlining more than 12,000

commitments by businesses, subnational governments and other

non-state actors to reduce emissions.

Private Sector Initiatives

Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Announced at the 2015

Paris climate negotiations, the coalition was formed by Bill Gates

and other wealthy investors to deploy “patient and flexible” capi-

tal for new energy technologies. The coalition launched a Break-

through Energy Ventures Fund of more than $1 billion in 2016 to

increase the speed and scale at which promising energy devel-

opments are brought from the lab to the marketplace, through

long-term investments with the potential to reduce greenhouse

gas emissions by at least half a gigaton (one billion tons).

Oil/Gas Climate Initiative.

Led by the CEOs of 10 companies

that jointly produce 20 percent of the world’s oil and gas, the

initiative organizes collaboration on action to reduce the sector’s

greenhouse gas emissions.


In April 2017, the world’s biggest retailer launched

an initiative to work with its suppliers to cut a gigaton of emis-

sions by 2030. The company has also pledged to reduce its own

direct emissions by 18 percent by 2025.

Subnational Government Initiatives

Under2 MOU.

Known formally as the Subnational Global

Climate Leadership Memorandum of Understanding, the Under2

MOU provides that signatories will reduce greenhouse gas emis-

sions by 80 to 95 percent from 1990 levels, or limit their emissions

to two tons per capita annually, by 2050. A total of 170 jurisdic-

tions from 33 countries have signed or endorsed the MOU,

representing 16 percent of the global population and 37 percent

of the global economy.

C40 Climate Leadership Group.

A network of more than 80

megacities and innovator cities, C40 emphasizes urban action to

reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Its member cities are home


For more information on global climate change issues

and initiatives, visit the following sources:

I Beg to Differ: Taking Account of National

Circumstances Under the Paris Agreement, the ICAO

Market-Based Measure and the Montreal Protocol’s

HFC Amendment— .

Debating Carbon Taxes with Oren Cass and Bill Gates—


Climate Change Science and Global Warming