THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
international agreement to limit the total emissions of an entire
global industry sector.
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-
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
(climateaction.unfccc.int), 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
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—www.bit.ly/TakingAccount .
Debating Carbon Taxes with Oren Cass and Bill Gates—www.bit.ly/DebatingCarbonTaxes
Climate Change Science and Global Warming